DOPAMINE AND LEADERSHIP LEARNING: Are they really apples and oranges?
Dopamine is a chemical compound, a hormone, and a neurotransmitter. In normal circumstances, it is not associated with corporate and leadership training. Or a learning and development company in Singapore such as Kaleidoskope, for that matter.
Dopamine is somewhat of a versatile hormone that plays various important roles in our brain and our bodies. It functions as a neurotransmitter—sending signals to other nerve cells, and is responsible for the motivational component of reward-motivated behavior.
It is the main chemical of pleasure—eliciting arousal, movement, and mood that makes people want to execute activities with haste, vigor, and motivation. No wonder there are drugs that were created to elevate dopamine levels in the brain—to produce euphoric levels of wellbeing, heightened arousal, and increased focus.
However, what few people know is that dopamine is also a “teaching signal”—much like a sports coach who says to his players, “Great job!” or “You can do better!” to encourage them to pursue a reward in the future. Scientists and researchers alike have described dopamine fluctuations almost as a “continuous cheer to motivate, with brief moments of criticism.”
But in more recent research, it’s been discovered that dopamine creates more than just excitement about learning: it actually controls learning retention. In one study, the group of mice injected with dopamine learnt a task with flying colors, but the control group (dopamine-deficient) showed a different result.
To summarise what the wealth of research and studies say, scientists have drawn two (2) key conclusions:
- when dopamine is NOT present during the learning process, a person’s learning will suffer due to the lack of motivation. This is engagement during a workshop, or a webinar.
- because dopamine is linked to memory, it triggers the brain to remember the action/ materials. This is retention.
Dopamine = Engagement + Retention
All this information really suggests is that engagement isn’t merely a “nice-to-have” when it comes to learning. It is an absolute necessity to optimise your return of investment in all your learning initiatives.
So, the big question is: how can we find ways to release dopamine on your online learning (short of “doping” on illegal substances)? The answer is: learning through fun, engagement, and enjoyment.
Learning = Fun + Engagement + Enjoyment
To this end, Kaleidoskope is pleased to partner with Knolskape, the leader in gamified learning solutions as together we explore a wide variety of topics and help learners learn while playing games through business simulation. Our virtual and online business simulations imitate a real-world process or system over time incorporated in a 45-90-minute game time.
The courses are structured in ways that let learners make mistakes, explore their own motivations, reflect, gain and share knowledge, all the time while having loads of fun. And most critically, releasing and unpacking tons of dopamine, which we have all learnt by now is crucial to engagement and retention of knowledge!
Now more than ever, it is important that our employees have the opportunity to learn new skills; pick up new knowledge in an environment that allows them to let their hair down a little; and have some fun and simply engage with and enjoy the virtual company of fellow colleagues.
For starters, we have the [email protected] simulation—a game that is based on Professor Raj Raghunathan’s BAMBA© Model of Happiness, bridging the gap between theory and application.
It’s a 45-minute virtual game that, when completed, equips, develops, and creates leaders who can lead happy, productive, and successful teams. It teaches leaders practical tools to foster a culture of a happy and healthy workforce.
And if you are looking to enhance your employees’ Leadership Skills, teach Agility, Change Management, or foster a Coaching culture, or simply work on Building Trust, do consider injecting your learning initiatives with a shot of dopamine!
Want to know how a high-performance learning journey can benefit your team or company, especially as we navigate the business and organisational landscape of the new normal? Feel free to call +65 6549-7535 or message us on WhatsApp, or simply fill up the form below.
KNOLSKAPE’s Agile simulation
KNOLSKAPE’s [email protected] simulation
KNOLSKAPE’s Leading Teams Effectively
KNOLSKAPE’s Trust Simulation
KNOLSKAPE’s Coaching Simulation
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