How to Growth Hack Your Brain Using Gamification and Neurolearning


When you hear the term “growth hack,” what do you think of? Similar to growth marketing, it’s one of those buzzwords that marketing pros throw around, especially when speed and size are of the essence. But more than just a flashy hashtag, #growthhacking has real applications when it comes to helping your learners see the need for more training.

Whether they’re resistant to change or you want better executive buy-in, you can tap into learners’ (and leaders’) brains to help them see the light. By combining what we know about neurolearning and gamification, the brain might become one of the best sources of growth hacking yet.

Creating an Emotional Connection

An emotional connection can definitely engage would-be learners, but neurolearning is about more than making someone laugh or cry. It’s teaching a concept using an emotional thread to unite learner and material. For eLearning and training, creating an emotional connection isn’t just tapping into a learner’s core emotions, but instead utilizing storytelling to highlight the importance of subject matter. Here are some of the ways neurolearning and gamification principles can help increase leader buy-in:

  • Storytelling and Scenarios. If a learner doesn’t really understand the why behind training, he’s less likely to become engaged. Utilizing storytelling and scenarios puts learners in positions where they can see how new information benefits them individually. You are much more committed to making it through every level of Super Mario, because the story of saving the princess and becoming a hero plays into natural human desires that can be achieved through game play.
  • Let’s face it: Money talks. And learners are very emotionally invested in their bank accounts. Compensation makes a difference, so appeal to leaners’ connection to their money. By proving that the training could result in lower overhead or increased profits, you light up their brain with reasons why learning makes better sense.
  • Who doesn’t want to come in first place? Neurolearning experts have long deployed the power of competition to get students to try harder, work faster, and complete courses. This is also a highly effective gamification component used to motivate learners to apply what they’ve learned in order to win. Something as simple as a department-wide leaderboard could be enough to make training grow faster.

Leveraging Your Data

What do you know about your learners? By picking up on some of their major pain points to finding out learning gaps, the more contextualized training is, the faster it spreads. But how do you really dial into what learners want and need?

Using big data can be an untapped resource for neurolearning insights. Taking a look at sales reports, for example, can help you identify areas in which your sales team might be struggling so you can address problems head-on. At the same time, big data from learner surveys can help you weed out pain points that turned them off of previous learning initiatives. If modules were too long or not particularly helpful, you can adjust according to that feedback.

Your learners’ brains are chock-full of memories, opinions, thoughts, and emotions, so it can be hard to find brain share for your training. Still, if you know how the brain works and what motivates your learners, you’ll have a better shot to growth hack your training to get more students on board and increase overall buy-in. 


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