Abbott Nutrition Resident Learning Center Takes On Gamification

Abbott Nutrition recently revamped the Resident Learning Center (, incorporating Gamification as the central redesign element.

Gamification which is the use of gaming dynamics and mechanics for non-game application has historically been used in consumer-oriented web and mobile sites to encourage people to adopt the applications. The technique can encourage people to perform chores that they may consider tedious, such as completing surveys, shopping, reading web sites or in this case, studying.

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So how did Abbott Nutrition leverage this approach in the Resident Learning Center? It appears that Gamification was used to motivate residents on a personal level to increase engagement of their interactive learning modules, promote continued use and provide a clear educational benefit not available elsewhere. 

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Given the complexity of developing a dynamic Gamification experience, it appears they may utilized a basic approach to gamifing the experience by opting for private visualization of data. It is a rational perspective given the three approaches to visual displaying of activity:

1. Private visual display (Date Visualization) of current progress, level of performance and motivational information which is one of the cornerstones of Gamification. The  delivery of dynamic content quadrants contributes to deeper engagement.

2. Public viewing allows for positive reinforcement from all participants in the form of commenting.

3. Advanced public interaction enables participants to be motivated by competition; challenging other members and displaying results publicly.

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To create more demand and interest, they incentivized the experience by providing valuable practice based offers to complement the motivational communication model to help reinforce behavioral change and strengthen the probability that additional modules will be completed.

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To Gamify or Not?

There are many Pharma bloggers that believe Gamification is not a viable option to change behavior.  There is no shortage of perspectives on this concept as a variety of blogger have written about this topic: John MackJohn Pugh and James Ellis to name a few. I agree and disagree in the same vein.  I would argue that a one size fits all strategy is not appropriate for all target audiences. Further more the psychological barriers that some segments face is much greater and more difficult to overcome, requiring further intervention and engagement to achieve the behavioral objectives. Gamification in some instances, is not enough to facilitate the behavioral outcome.

Some Pharma marketers subscribe to the idea that  if you have a hammer everything looks like nail. Some may consider it brash that I insist that there is not only seven general categories of hammers, but hundreds of variations.

Leveraging the appropriate approach for the appropriate audience will usually result in the desired outcome. Trying to apply the latest, sexy approach to every situation is a recipe for disaster. None the less, in my humble opinion, I believe that Abbott Nutrition used the right hammer for the right nail.  The big question now is are they using online media and other approaches to create awareness and usage of the new offering?

If you are interested in experiencing this dynamic first hand, go to and register as “Other”.  While they require institution affiliation, currently they are not validating HCP credentials.