Hands up if you like getting a bonus?
Of course you do!
Many companies use an annual bonus scheme as one of their key techniques for keeping employees engaged. Sometimes bonuses are discretionary and decided on by the boss; sometimes they are formulaic, such as a team of employees sharing a percentage of profits (less certain costs, eg, travel and entertaining).
In the recent past an annual bonus was considered sufficient, but the workforce of today have become accustomed to an ‘always on’, ‘instant gratification’ culture relating to many aspects of their life and as such the benefit of an annual scheme is over-rated.
If the goal of the bonus is to reward and engage the employee, then why restrict the recognition to an annual only event? Rewards issued on an ‘as earned’ basis can be far more morale boosting.
Rewards come in many shapes and forms of course and whilst the bonus is an easily recognised symbol of success, how about the recognition that could (and should) be due from successfully learning something?
Children that are rewarded for good work, good behaviour etc in schools are found to perform better than those who don’t benefit from a transparent reward culture and this logical conclusion can be applied to work place, online learning as well.
Positive Intermittent Reinforcement is a term used in behavioural psychology to describe a situation in which results become associated with actions. For instance, the rewarding of a person for completing a task by issuing them with a badge online can become a positive driver for the person to continue their studies. This is particularly so if the end result (for instance, collect ten badges and earn a larger reward, such as a certificate) is transparent and achievable.
You can find examples of this approach in use on Coracle's maritime courses found at coracleonline.mycoracle.com. The courses comprise 10 Activities, or Units, each with a badge awarded once the user has marked 100% of the pages as Understood. Once all badges have been issued, the user is sent a Certificate of completion. This certificate is not intended as a replacement for a certificate earned by passing a formal exam, but as an incentive to continue learning, our data shows that those candidates who are rewarded along their learning journey perform better than those who are left to study alone.