Many of us grew up playing video games, either in an arcade, or later at home. Others may have been the parents to kids who played video games. Whether you fall into the former or latter category, Games are playing new and important roles in learning. Research has shown that gaming incentivizes learning in ways that we never expected. So the next time you are planning skills training for yourself or your team,consider integrating games into the mix.
Learning through Failure
According to Will Wright, an inventor and the mind behind the Sims and other worldwide gaming phenomena,
“In games, players learn through failure, which is the best route to excellence.”
Wright has mentioned a study involving two pottery classes. In the first one, students had to spend a session designing and crafting the best possible single pot. In the second class, students were told to make as many pots as possible in the same time span. As you can imagine, the repetition and subsequent trial and error process of the second group produced the most high-quality pots, and increased skills acquisition for the learners.
The same rings true for learning with the use of games in a corporate training environment. If we simply open a program are told how to go create a file, try each feature, and make a sample project file by the end of the class, we have been able to create just one pot. By using games to teach skills in the organizational setting, attendees try each feature multiple times, and are engaged in succeeding in the game.
There is no doubt that corporations are increasing their emphasis on e-learning. Forrester, an independent research firm that helps companies assess the effect of technology change on their operations, interviewed training managers at 40 Global 2500 companies and found that all but one of them already had online initiatives in place.
Appealing to the Generational Mix
Games also appeal to the current generational mix in the workplace. Keep millennials and Generation X learners engaged in training by integrating computer games along with ancillary media (such as videos), as well as handouts and bullet points on whiteboards, which will keep communication and learning on track with staff members that are not in the most recent generations to enter the workforce.
Since each generation tends to respond to different motivators, the addition of games into a skills improvement program can become the missing component that engages all of the generations in your workplace setting.
Mark Prensky, expert in digital game-based learning, lists numerous ways the younger generations are different, including their need for speed, activity, and a desire to process a variety of information simultaneously. Prensky writes,
“So, in the end, it is all these cognitive differences, resulting from years of ‘new media socialization’ and profoundly affecting and changing the generations’ learning styles and abilities, that cry out for new approaches to learning . . .”
Remember, Generation X and the Millennials are most comfortable engaging in at least two activities at once, and require less structure to accomplish their work. Consider how you could shake up your learning environment to accommodate this way of learning and doing. You may be surprised by the amount of learning that is accomplished when typical classroom rituals of agendas, handouts and seminar formats are augmented by games, videos, and other engaging learning tools.
The Bottom Line
This article would not be complete without mentioning the cost savings that come along with the use of software and e-learning systems for corporate training programs. Our own webstore provides software and products that will shake up the way you accommodate multiple generations and increase learning outcomes through the integrated incentivization of gaming. Visit our online resource to learn more.