Why Serious games are more Effective than elearning

Serious games have broken into the world of learning, proving they can be tools which can be equally or more effective than teachers in corporate training.

Today, we bring you some thoughts by Dr. John C. Beck, president of the North Start Leadership Group and teacher, at the time, in centers of excellence such as Harvard, UCLA or the International University of Japan.

John C. Beck has already reflected several times on the advantages of interactive learning. Specifically, Dr. Beck thinks that video games and simulators are especially effective for the learning of certain skills.

In the case of children, video games are highly effective for learning basic concepts related to mathematics and grammar. For adults, game-based learning is especially useful when it comes to developing skills requested by the world of business, such as communication, negotiation, leadership, time management skills, and many more.

It might seem that John C. Beck shoots himself in the foot when he says that traditional learning systems have serious deficiencies, but what this Harvard professor actually does is nothing but a favor to educators, students and society in general. For Dr. Beck, we must stop being “part of the problem” to become “part of the solution.” “I thought there had to be a way to use new technologies for education, to acquire more knowledge in a more efficient way”

Related post: Original article in John C. Beck’s blog 

As a young doctorate student at Harvard, John C. Beck was disappointed with the methodology used in the MBA. He spent a long time looking for the way to teach using computers. Now he feels something has changed and, with the help of Steve Hodges and the Hult International Business School, which have funded the project, Beck has launched a prototype of an interactive course called ‘One Day’.

The use of serious games is spreading not only in the field of education for young people, but also in corporate training, so that employees of any company can learn through video games. The full involvement of the participant is guaranteed due to the appeal of this novel and efficient methodology.

John C. Beck and his team were able to check all that, as he explains in this article in Quartz . In order to test the “One Day” video game, they asked friends to try it out. The challenge faced by the player is to design and implement a business strategy during the course of one virtual day in an airline.

Both Beck and the developers of ‘One Day’ were taken aback by such a successful reception during the testing of the game, partly because it was a “favor” and also because the group was anything but homogeneous: among those who tested the serious game were high school students and CEOs of various companies. But the truth was that the people who tested the prototype got so engaged that some of them played several times, trying to beat their scores.

The purpose of the experiment was to see if they could learn by playing the game. When they finished, a written exam was taken by the participants. The exercise contained at least 40% of the concepts normally taught in an MBA course. The result was that “One Day” was as good a teacher as a “flesh and blood” one, as most participants did better after playing the serious game than before starting the testing of the prototype.

In short, both John C. Beck’s test with the “One Day” prototype and the experience of other experts in game-based learning such as Gamelearn show that video games are effective methods to teach people of all ages.

Related post: The Effectiveness of Video Games in Corporate Training (infographic)

This, applied to corporate training, translates into a need to do things differently, ensuring effective, actual and immediately applicable learning. Beyond the value that game-based learning offers in terms of completion and satisfaction rates and the cost reduction it represents for companies to implement a type of training which requires no classrooms or geographical shifts, it is time to make way for serious games because of their proven effectiveness with present and future generations.

Image: Mikal Marquez / Flickr

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