Debates rage on whether virtual learning or classroom learning is most effective. The battle continues with very little data and lots of protecting of turf. Dr. Ahmad Al-Hassan of Petra University writes in his research:
"The meta-analysis of 51 study effects, 44 of which were drawn from research with older learners, found that students who took all or part of their class online performed better, on average, than those taking the same course through traditional face-to-face instruction. Learning outcomes for students who engaged in online learning exceeded those of students receiving face-to-face instruction, favoring online conditions. Interpretations of this result, however, should take into consideration the fact that online and face-to-face conditions generally differed on multiple dimensions, including the amount of time that learners spent on task. The advantages observed for online learning conditions therefore may be the product of aspects of those treatment conditions other than the instructional delivery medium per se."
No two performance gaps, no two target learners, no two company cultures are the same; making the debate difficult to win. You certainly will have your preference, likely based on your past success. I never wanted to do webinars because I love being in a live classroom. After reluctantly jumping into webinars, I am now convinced that given the right performance problem, they can be used to create a learning community as well, and sometimes better than, a live workshop.
Back to our original question: Has performance changed? Use the best combination of delivery methods for the context, content, activity and feedback required to drive performance improvement. Evolution requires new approaches. The world is moving on, and work is too, as George Siemens's says in Connectivism:
"We derive our competence from forming connections... Chaos is a new reality for knowledge workers... Unlike constructivism, which states that learners attempt to foster understanding by meaning-making tasks, chaos states that the meaning exists... the learner's challenge is to recognize the patterns which appear to be hidden. Meaning-making and forming connections between specialized communities are important activities."
The wall has to come down and it will, whether you're under it or not.
Gamification is another delivery shiny object. It may help drive retention of knowledge and skills and it could encourage (or discourage) motivation, but it is not the purpose. It is a delivery strategy which depends on the context. Gamification as a goal could cause a developer to focus on the use of a game versus instead of the performance gap. For example, leadership is more than a list of competencies. It requires agility to combine, grow and adapt competencies to be successful. A game designed to get players to learn how to define and differentiate the competencies could work but no performance change has occurred, just memorization.
So, how does all of this break down? Start with the performance gap and strive to use the approach that best meets that need. Practice good project management and use the best methodology to drive the performance your learners need.