Games can make a difference when it comes to learning or developing a skill and improving our professional lives. Millions of people are already enjoying the implementation of gamification in e-learning training because their companies have offered them the opportunity to grow and develop in a new and effective way.
Professor Byron Reeves from the University of Stanford and Doctor J. Leighton Read are the authors of “Total Engagement: Using Games and Virtual Worlds to Change the Way People Work and Businesses Compete”. In this book, they explain the role of gamification in e-learning training within the business network.
What makes the first part of this book so interesting is the critical vision it puts forward, warning the reader that not everything involving “gaming” is positive. Indeed, this new idea of using games and gamification dynamics in order to learn or improve professional skills is something attractive because it promotes productivity. But it goes beyond mere “gaming”.
Reeves and Read make a distinction between the fact of “gaming frivolously” (any manager would fire an employee who wastes time playing games at work), and the fact of “gaming for development“, a new take that presents the game as an opportunity for employees to learn different skills. Besides, it is the result of a long evolution of new ways of learning, based on practice and an even better way of measuring results.
Why are games so appealing? A lot of people are used to playing them (using many platforms: computers, consoles, smartphones, etc). Why not do it at work too? Is it possible to adapt the game to the professional world? The answer is yes.
One of the appealing aspects of e-learning through videogames is the “simulator“: users are attracted by the possibility of getting into the skin of an imaginary character, with an avatar and certain characteristics, with which they must learn to manage in a specific environment so as to acquire certain skills. The setting simulates real situations, but the risk is nonexistent, which promotes self-confidence.
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Thanks to the feeling of accomplishment and emotion that is developed when playing, users (in the case of training, “students”) will get involved so much more, thereby obtaining an unquestionable feeling of engagement, resulting in high completion and satisfaction rates. When you play, you enjoy it, and that positive feeling leads to a greater productivity and the obtaining of desirable results
The product of game-based learning, serious games, offers users ideal environments for them to explore, socialize, compete and collaborate with their peers, in order to learn, grow and develop. These challenges develop creativity and turn the study and learning into something fun. Moreover, companies can ensure, through the use of gamified techniques in e-learning, that their employees do not come to a standstill but, on the contrary, they develop their skills and acquire new ones. We must also add, according to Reeves and Read, the opportunity to find, sign and keep young employees, attracted by the development possibilities this methodology provides.
Highlighting the title of the book, “Engagement”, with “serious learning” users can maximize their involvement in the process and minimize the frustration coming from inefficient and boring training. What can you learn with serious games? Virtually anything.
For example, most jobs require workers trained to gather information, which is something usual in all types of games and also in serious games. In other words, the application of the videogame to e-learning (game-based learning) allows for the practice of activities that are directly or indirectly related to our work.
The “narrative thread” is another of the fundamental aspects of serious games. Like in any game, the stories shape the contents and allow users to get emotionally involved and thus to better retain the contents and practical learning. The use of gamified techniques such as storytelling at corporate level is still limited, but there are already serious games on the market set in the past or presenting modern mysterious adventures.
The gamification of e-learning training, according to the analysis by Reaves and Read, is also useful in developing team spirit. Players often have a sense of belonging to a virtual community, with which they communicate and exchange information. Companies can use these aspects beneficially to create and strengthen teams as well as the leadership of their members.
Serious games offer several ways of communication, interacting much faster and with less risks than in real life. This helps build up confidence and learn how to work with very different types of teams, which means a challenge for any organization.
Another good reason for companies to decide to implement game-based learning methodologies is time pressure. In most gamified trainings, an adventure must be completed within a deadline, which stimulates the user to quickly achieve immediate results.
What aspect of the gamification of e-learning training do you consider to be more positive for companies today? Share it!