What are Serious Games?

Designing Digitally

04/30/2019

Serious games are games that are designed for a purpose that is not related to entertainment. They use motivators, like curiosity and competition, that when paired with the correct gaming media boost learner’s motivation tremendously. Serious games as a tool for employee training are being taken seriously by top organizations all over the world. Although, the adoption rate remains around 20%, there are several studies being conducted that support the efficacy of serious games. However, organizations look for tangible business results, which could possibly be the reason for the slow rate of adoption.

However, it is just a matter of time until organizations give more importance to serious games in their learning budget. After all, the more engaging the learning is, the better the learners will retain it; therefore, the faster they are able to transfer the skills to their job role.

Gamification Vs Serious games

When talking about serious games, you often hear the term gamification used as well. But are they the same? Although they both can be used to enhance learning, the two concepts are different from one another. Gamification blends game mechanics with eLearning content. It uses elements like points, badges, levels, leaderboards, and competition to coax the learner into participating while keeping them motivated. It is important to choose the right mechanics based on your audience analysis. Alternatively, serious games follow a standard game structure along with added training value. They are fun and interactive, yet align with the specific learning objectives that need to be achieved.  With this game-based learning approach, employees are able to enjoy the training experience while also absorbing the needed information and testing their mastery.

Here are the top five benefits of using serious games for learning.

#1: Serious games boost learner engagement.

Learners are multi-tasking people with limited attention spans. They are hard-pressed for time. Unless you provide them content that really holds their interest, you will lose them midway. Serious games have loads of interactivities that keep the learners hooked. They are penalized for the wrong moves they make so they have to stay invested in the course and learn how to improve their incorrect actions. The higher their motivation to take the course, the more they stay engaged and retain the information. The extrinsic motivators like points and badges go a long way in giving that extra nudge of motivation.

#2: Serious games are measurable.

Traditional learning can be difficult to measure, but serious games offer a wider variety of metrics on the learners. A deep dive into the analytics data can show how engaged your learners were in the game. You can use this data to optimize learning.

#3: Serious games helps to learn through mistakes.

Mistakes are valuable teachers. They help us figure out our weaknesses and strengths. Serious games pinpoint the areas that need improvement. For example, if you are unable to level up, then there must be some skill gap. With the help of game-based learning, you are able to identify the gap and work on it so that you do not fall behind in real life.

#4: Serious games provide instant feedback.

Learners receive instant feedback for all their actions in game-based learning. If they are on the right track, they are rewarded. If they make a wrong move, they lose points or a chance to level up. They immediately know where they went right and where they missed the mark. They keep this in mind and make sure that they do not make the wrong moves in their job role.

#5: Serious games encourage friendly competition.

A little bit of competition can bring out the best in your employees. Serious games pit them against each other in a friendly manner with the help of leaderboards. Your employees compete against each other to reach the top of the board. They take the learning seriously and delve deeper into it.

If you are not sure how to design and develop serious games, we can help. At Designing Digitally, Inc. we develop serious games for a platform that fits your organization’s needs. We can output them as SCORM packages or xAPI for your LMS, websites accessed in a browser, executable files for Windows, or custom applications for iOS. We have a rich repository of cutting-edge serious games that we have created for our clients in multiple industries.

To get started on a game-based learning approach for your company’s employees, contact our team today.

Related Resource: Game-Based Learning is a Game Changer in Corporate Training White Paper

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