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Serious games are built to allow learners to enhance their skills and knowledge while having fun. They have a specific goal of achieving a particular learning goal that is linked to the training objectives. For the past few years, serious games have caught the fancy of corporate trainers because of its success with the learners. And why not? Learners definitely prefer the fun way of learning as compared to the traditional methods of teaching.
The purpose of serious games is not just to entertain. But the main goal is to enhance the interactivity in the corporate training experience and make it more successful. Serious games drive competition between learners and coax them to put in their best effort. Learners are not expected to sit passively and learn. Instead, it’s a two-way communication and learners are invested in the progress of the course.
Here are top five tips that will help you develop successful serious games for workplace training.
A very common mistake that you can commit with serious games is that you focus less on actual knowledge gain and more on game mechanics. The idea is not to provide entertainment to the learners. Instead, you have to link each character, plot, and challenge to the purpose of the training, for example, product knowledge. The game elements should focus on enhancing skills and knowledge of the learner.
Your employees really don’t have time to engage in long game learning. You must offer them short, bite-sized training that is digestible and effective. Serious games are more effective when they are limited to five minutes or less. Short modules can be repeated several times until the learners master the skill in that module. Each module should focus on one topic. That way, the learners can choose the topic they are weak in, instead of having to go through the entire training to get to the relevant topic.
The game should focus on a particular goal. Avoid trying to cram too much information into one game or scenario. Keep in mind that your learners have decided to take the education because they wish to enhance specific skills. So, make the learning goal-centric. Differentiate between need-to-know and good-to-know information. Cut out the floss.
Consider you are developing a game-based training for your sales team. The staff should know about the features and benefits of the product and how they can pitch it to the customers. If you want them to identify with the training, then you must simulate their work environment for them. The characters, backgrounds, situations – all should be familiar to the target audience. Only then will they empathize with the game and stay invested.
Peer competition is a powerful tool to motivate employees. It drives them to do things that they might not do normally. Use virtual leaderboards to spark competition. Your employees will automatically get invested in the course, just to see their name on top of the board. Those at the lower end of the board will strive to go up. And, those at the top will fight to retain their position.
You may not want to use serious games for all your training needs. But with the wide range of benefits they offer, you can use it for specific purposes. You need to conduct an audience analysis and gauge the learning and business objectives of your organization to understand where this format of learning fits in. You can consider using game-based learning for product knowledge training, induction training, process training, and so on. If you do not have any prior experience with game design, then it is wise to hire an external vendor with relevant expertise.
Serious games are a step beyond gamified eLearning. They are a unique approach to training that equips learners to make choices and solve problems in order to achieve a goal. Rather than simply being taught best practices, learners get to attempt different approaches to solve a problem. At Designing Digitally, Inc. we develop serious games based on your organization needs. We can output them as SCORM packages or xAPI for your LMS.
If your company is interested in learning more about implementing serious games for your training needs, contact our team today!