Today’s workforce expects learning to be engaging and fun. Yet despite there being easy-to-use tools and techniques now available to make learning more exciting, too many employees are still forced to wade through ‘click-next’ e-learning, dished up in an endless fashion like Dickensian cold gruel!
Games are a great way to spice up learning and enhance the user experience through greater interaction. And given that most people now play games in their everyday life thanks to Candy Crush, Angry Birds and the rise of mobile devices, they also satisfy the growing appetite amongst learners of all ages for a more consumer-grade learning experience in the workplace.
While games can be used as a standalone learning solution, often they are more effective when they form part of a blended learning programme, with clearly defined objectives and outcomes.
A good example is the Golden Ticket game, an interactive 3D monopoly-style game, which Kallidus developed as part of an ambitious immersive customer services training initiative to support TfL as it embarked on Europe’s largest business transformation programme. The game was used to embed learning and motivate learners to refresh knowledge acquired through classroom training and e-learning. Not only has it boosted engagement, competence and compliance levels, the Golden Ticket game has helped win the hearts’ and minds’ of TfL’s workforce, instilling lasting behavioral change.
A lot of future training is set to be done with games. According to Ambient Insight, worldwide revenues for game-based learning products reached $2.6 billion in 2016 and revenues are forecast to surge to $7.3 billion by 2021.
So what is it that makes games so powerful in learning? Academic research proves that making learning fun through game play doesn’t just engage employees, it also results in longer-term retention and cultural change. As a result, companies are increasingly turning to games for developing soft skills as well as more common applications like compliance training, health and safety and induction.
If you’re considering using games to help your employees develop new skills or to enhance a broader learning initiative, here are four elements that you can turn to your advantage:
- Games can be addictive – this makes them a good tool for engaging employees in learning what could be perceived as dull subject matter and for motivating learners to practice and master new skills.
- Games can be competitive – you can use ranking to spur on employees to compete against their peers. Games can also be used to encourage people to work together in a team to achieve a goal or outperform another team.
- Games encourage curiosity – it’s human nature to constantly seek out more. Games provide a safe environment to experiment in and learn from mistakes, particularly when simulating situations where the risks and consequences are great.
- Games appeal to everybody – games allow people from different disciplines, backgrounds and generations to be challenged, get immediate feedback and be rewarded at a level relevant to their personal abilities.
Games have great potential in the corporate learning marketplace to make training more enjoyable and to produce better results. If you can recognise their power, and know when best to use them, you’ll be well on your way to developing a prize winning solution for today’s learners. And before you know it, learners will be coming back to you saying: “Please Sir, I want some more!”
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Author: Joshua Roberts, Senior Instructional Designer