How a Serious Game is made

In the world of e-Learning, a growing trend, well-known by online training experts, predominates. This involves “serious games,” the cornerstone of “gamification” and the engine of many training programs for companies and businesses.

Most serious games are RPGs (Role Play Games), which means that there are users who adopt the roles of “invisible actors” who take actions based on the decisions of the person playing the game. The basic tool kit of these serious games contains four elements: learning (content and teaching), a story (with characters, scenes and a narrative), a game and a user experience.

[The tool kit of serious games contains four elements: learning, a story, a game and a user experience]

e-Learning programs based on the “learn by doing” are a dream come true for business people frustrated by lackluster performance on the part of their employees. How can they be made to involve themselves in online training? Very simple: through the characters in a serious game. Experts say that telling a story is a way of activating certain parts of the brain so that listeners get engaged in the experience, and grasp ideas and concepts. Why are these forms of learning effective? Let’s just think about the narrative form of our daily conversations or how we tell something to a friend. It is calculated that 65% of our conversations are stories.

In the learning environment, a plot captures the student’s attention and helps the person retain the concepts being learned better and for longer. The story is the creative and entertaining component of gamified training, and the student feels like a hero who has solved a problem through the characters, roles, challenges and dilemmas presented.

[The goal is to balance the fun part with the training functions]

Besides the story, serious games also have their educational content, of course, that the student is willing to assimilate to improve his or her professional and personal abilities. The goal is to balance the fun part with the training functions; this learning is simply “encapsulated” in an entertainment format. Beyond the artistic aspect, what “serious games” like Merchants or Triskelion do in reality is to build a story around a real problem—and this is where science comes in. In the case of Merchants, the first video game released by Gamelearn on negotiation, the student adopts the character of Carlo Vecchio, a trader in fifteenth century Venice.

The user must use his or her intelligence and creativity to reach win-win agreements. In Triskelion, the time-management course, the student becomes Robert Wise, a History professor who searches for clues to find a treasure while managing his agenda, organizing tasks, attending meetings, etc.

The users of these simulators practice and test their knowledge through settings and characters as if they were having a first-hand experience. In addition, the best “serious games” on the market offer specific and descriptive feedback that helps students reinforce this learning and leads them to personal and professional success.

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