7 Reasons Why You Shouldn't Use Leaderboards for Workplace Learning

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Quickify AI doesn't include leaderboards because it's a self-directed learning platform. From our years of research, leaderboards can be a disincentive for learning.

What is a leaderboard?

Leaderboards rank participants based on their scores or achievements and are meant to ignite a sense of competition and drive individuals to perform better. In the corporate world, they often manifest as sales charts, performance metrics, or training completion rates.

But do they always work as intended?

Here are 7 reasons why leaderboards might be counterproductive, especially when it comes to corporate learning.

1. Focus on Competition Over Collaboration: Leaderboards can shift the focus from collaborating and learning to outscoring peers. This can lead to knowledge hoarding where individuals might not share valuable insights with colleagues because they're too focused on climbing the leaderboard.

2. Learning Becomes a Race: Users might rush through training materials or skip essential parts just to score outrank their peers. Racing to the top can compromise the quality and depth of learning.

3. Fear of Failure and Anxiety: Not everyone is motivated by competition. For some, the constant pressure to perform and the fear of lagging behind can lead to anxiety, stress, and even burnout. These negative feelings can overshadow the joy and purpose of learning.

4. Short-lived Motivation: The initial excitement of leaderboards will wane over time. Once individuals realize they might not reach the top or if they've been at the top too long without a challenge, their motivation can diminish.

5. Potential for Manipulation: There’s always a possibility of participants finding loopholes or ways to "game" the system (pun intended) without genuinely engaging in the learning process. This not only defeats the purpose, but can also lead to mistrust and disillusionment.

6. Inequity and Disparities: Not all employees start at the same level, have access to the same resources, or face the same challenges. Leaderboards can sometimes amplify these disparities, making them more about privilege than genuine effort or ability.

7. Risks of Isolation: Those consistently at the bottom might feel isolated or demotivated. Instead of seeing it as a challenge, they might perceive it as a confirmation of their "inadequacy" making them less inclined to participate or learn.


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