An almost 100-year-old theory adds superpowers to your digital training.
Have you ever noticed how you can speed up your pace when approaching the end of your run?
What kicks in, is known as the goal gradient effect. A theory introduced by Clark Hull way before we knew anything about gamification and micro-learning.
In a nutshell, the goal gradient effect is the fact that people increase their efforts when they get closer to achieving a goal.
We run faster when the finish line is within sight.
Today, we use this psychological booster to ensure our digital learning is as engaging as possible. That means dividing our training material into snackable portions of low-hanging fruit.
The reward is in plain sight. Just complete these minor tasks, and it’s yours.
At Mevo, we also rely on this theory when we recommend that brands package their sales contests and trainings in shorter “campaign periods”. See how it’s done: Samsung’s sales contest twist.
The motivational boost you get to complete a micro-learning session is the same kick you get when you somehow are able to pick up your pace at the end of your morning run.
You know that feeling when you think you have nothing left to give? Then you see your house, and almost by magic, you are able to squeeze out a little extra to help you reach your goal.
What happens? What is this magic?
The goal gradient effect is a pretty awesome superpower that humans (and animals!) have: We speed up our behavior when we get closer to a reward.
This effect was first introduced by behaviorist Clark Hull back in 1932. He did the scientific research to prove how it works. But the behavior is probably as old as time, and even more relevant today.
Why? Because technology allows us to tap into this effect as a motivational booster that helps us achieve our goals faster.
Goal gradient effect in micro-learning
The goal gradient effect is also one of the reasons why micro-learning is so effective. When you consume training in small, bite-sized chunks you always have the finish line within sight.
That’s why completing a short multiple-choice quiz is a more effective way to learn than plowing through many pages of material.
Bonus trick: If you have a reward waiting at the goal (points, prizes, badges) as well, you are really supercharging your learning.
Adding gamification elements like points, levels, and progress bars will ensure boosts of dopamine when the target is reached. This powerful hormone will also make you remember better.
By tapping into very basic human behavior and psychology, you make sure your target group is motivated to learn and will keep coming back for more.
It’s all about the human mind – technology is just a booster.
Small victories along the way will make it interesting to keep up the good work.
Make sure to add plenty of rewards, levels, milestones, and other motivational triggers to drive engagement.