Enhancing IT Compliance Training through Basic Gamification Techniques: Insights from Experimental and Field Studies

In an era where robust internal controls are paramount for safeguarding information systems, companies are increasingly turning to innovative approaches to enhance IT security and data privacy training. However, traditional compliance training often falls short in engaging employees and effectively conveying critical concepts. In response to these challenges, Ryan J. Baxter, D. Kip Holderness, Jr., and David A. Wood present a pioneering study titled „Applying Basic Gamification Techniques to IT Compliance Training: Evidence from the Lab and Field“ in the Journal of Information Systems.

The study investigates the efficacy of integrating basic gamification elements into IT compliance training modules to improve trainee satisfaction and knowledge acquisition. Utilizing a design that combines a laboratory experiment and a field study involving employees of a large bank, the researchers compare the effectiveness of gamified training with traditional, non-gamified approaches.

Their findings reveal that basic gamification significantly enhances trainee satisfaction, making the training experience more enjoyable, fun, and informative compared to non-gamified training. Moreover, both gamified and non-gamified approaches demonstrate improvements in learning outcomes compared to no training, emphasizing the importance of training in bolstering internal controls.

Interestingly, while the gamified approach garners higher satisfaction levels, the study uncovers only marginal improvements in learning outcomes compared to non-gamified training. Furthermore, individuals with prior gaming experience („gamers“) exhibit greater knowledge acquisition from gamified training, albeit with slightly lower satisfaction levels compared to non-gamers.

The study’s implications extend beyond the realm of IT compliance training, offering valuable insights for organizations seeking to optimize training effectiveness. By leveraging gamification principles, companies can enhance employee engagement and knowledge retention, ultimately strengthening internal controls and mitigating information security risks.

This research contributes to the burgeoning field of gamification within organizational training contexts, shedding light on the nuanced effects of gamified approaches on satisfaction and learning outcomes. Moving forward, the study calls for continued exploration of gamification’s longitudinal impacts and its implications for diverse organizational settings.