Like any new business technique, games in corporate training have raised some controversy. The idea of marrying the roles of training with recreational aspects of games can be considered a risky move for companies. Let’s take a look at what the implementation of gaming in corporate training looks like, as well as some perceived benefits of the program.
Some insights on the appeal of incorporating games within corporate training, “For generations, games have been used to teach concepts, skills, and knowledge. Think Yahtzee, Monopoly, and math; Scrabble and spelling; Mastermind, Qwirkle, and strategy; Clue and problem solving…the list goes on and on.” With our society becoming more and more techified, games surround the population daily.
Photo courtesy of ELearningIndustry
The Entertainment Software Association shares some insightful facts:
-The average gamer is 37 years old and has been playing for 12 years.
-Eighty-two percent of gamers are 18 years or older.
-Forty-two percent of all players are women and women over age 18 are one of the industry’s fastest growing demographics.
-Today, adult women represent a greater portion of the gameplaying population (37 percent) than boys age 17 or younger (13 percent).
Twenty-nine percent of game players are over the age of 50, an increase from 9 percent in 1999. This figure is sure to rise in coming years with nursing homes and senior centers across the nation now incorporating video games into their activities.
Sixty-five percent of gamers play games with other gamers in person.
Fifty-five percent of gamers play games on their phones or handheld device.
Photo courtesy of ELearningIndustry
There are several corporate appeals to elearning through games. ELearning Games shares several benefits to games within corporate training. The first benefit to the learning process they list is the fact that games are engaging, “It’s quite evident that people are more likely to gain the skills and knowledge they need to succeed when they’re interested in learning.” Secondly, facts don’t lie. As I’ve shared earlier, the evidence of gaming increasing information retention is hard to argue with. Thirdly, games provide a safe environment to fail, “Throwing someone into a job without any preparation doesn’t make sense. The person is very, very likely to make critical mistakes that will cost money, create negative customer experiences, and lead to other undesirable outcomes. Games in particular provide an excellent environment to learn through failure because they disarm in the learner.” Lastly, games tap into the affective and cognitive domains, “The cognitive domain is responsible for things like synthesis, recollection, comprehension, evaluation, and analysis. Those are functions that we typically associate with learning, and the ones that most corporate training and elearning programs emphasize.”
ELearning Industry shares some information on gaming within millennial corporate, “There is a general misconception that Millennial (those born 1977 to 1997) and Generation 2020 (those born after 1997) prefer learning by gaming and, therefore, games should be targeted to them. But everyone likes gaming; the games just may take a different form. After all, the largest consumer of games is not the teenage boy, but rather a 37yearold, 42 percent of whom are women. This demographic has seen it all, from the Atari to multiplayer online games to 3D games on handheld devices. They know how to operate games, know what they are capable of, and enjoy immersing themselves in it. This population is the first “digital native” group of people.”
What do these findings mean for corporate training? They tell us a lot about trends within information processing. The people within our companies need to learn, and like to play, so it’s no question why the marriage of the two is gaining popularity. Additional studies have revealed the information retention increases through games in training. The fun games yields positive experiences, which will keep your employees engaged.
Some facts about games within corporate training:
Gaming uses multiple intelligences for learning (logical, special, linguistics, interpersonal, kinesthetic, music). This guarantees information retention from a variety of learners.
Games are immersive, engaging, and motivating through new technology and interactions. These positive experiences keep employees engaged and enthusiastic.
Active learning—the learner is seeing and doing something. This promotes participant engagement, as it differs from a more formal course.
Storytelling, one of the most effective training design concepts, can be woven into both elearning and games. Stories are easier to recall than simply presented information, which promotes information retention.
Games provide another means of performance support and, when woven with other training, can give learners a competitive edge.
Gaming provides justintime learning
Where the purpose of games is to relax and have fun, this is not always the purpose of training courses within a company. This reality raises the question of whether gaming within corporate training is universally appropriate. Some situations where games within corporate training would be ineffective:
When there is so much information to be absorbed that it cannot be learned through game play alone. While games are engaging, the implementation of a story, plot, and other aspects native to games limits the amount of formal information presented.
When the content is inappropriate for gaming, such as sexual harassment courses, hr compliance training or other sensitive subjects. This limits the amount of corporate learning that could be taught through games.
When the “gamers” don’t understand or cannot utilize the gaming platform effectively. Effective execution is key to the success of corporate training.
About Kathy Amato:
Kathy Amato is the Director of Marketing at Coggno.com, a website that aggregates online training courses and also offers a free Learning Management System.