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Traditional classroom training has long been outperformed by newer, technology-driven eLearning methods. Not to say that classroom learning has no merit, but most of the focus has shifted towards the online environment. Serious games are one type of eLearning that is trending today. More companies are adopting eLearning, Game-Based Learning, and other unconventional training into their business development culture. And, most employees, especially millennials, are thriving due to this shift in learning methods. There are a number of reasons why people prefer online to in-class training:
Millennials were born with mobile phones in their hands; they are very comfortable with new technologies and make the most out of these unlimited resources.
Online training allows the student to learn in their own time and from the comfort of their home; this self-paced learning style has tons of benefits and empowers the learner to make their own decisions more often.
Online training can come in a variety of formats: desktop or mobile, serious games, gamification, AR, microlearning, videos, webinars, DYIs, workshops, etc. Anything you could do in class you can now do online, better.
It's easy for the learner to do extra research if they don’t understand a concept.
Most educational platforms incorporate a social aspect, either as peer reviews, discussion forums, or even social media based groups; this allows people all over the world to connect, discuss, and share knowledge- a phenomenon particular to online learning environments.
In a corporate environment, eLearning helps create a tightly-knit learning and development culture; employees have instant access to the knowledge and skill development they are looking to upgrade. Also, they are free to share their knowledge with their peers, compare their development through leaderboards, and take the discussion off-line during meetings and lunch breaks.
Employees can instantly apply what they learn, improving their day to day problem-solving and increasing overall productivity.
Companies using any of these training methods can expect immediate feedback, thus enabling them to improve upon the content and delivery method to suit the learning goals of employees.
The question you are looking for is "Why do companies prefer serious games to traditional classroom-based training?" To answer this question we must first define what serious games are, what they do, and how they help employees' productivity and on-the-job efficiency.
We all love playing games! And, as a testament to that, games have existed since before the beginning of time. Ok, maybe not that far back, but you get the point! At the beginning of the 19th century, Friedrich Frobel created the concept of Kindergarten. This learning-through-play method is still one of the most efficient and fun today.
A well-designed serious game strikes a balance between the learning content and the fun factor. This type of employee training method is based on the learning-through-playing concept and adds many more perks.
If a game mixes entertainment with learning, then it's a serious, or applied, game. The ultimate goal of a serious game is to teach. Traditionally, this training delivery method has been used by the health industry, military, science research field, educational applications, politics, and engineering. So, at their base, serious games start off as games. The added learning component makes them a potent tool for employee and business growth.
Talking about the benefits of implementing serious games into corporate training is like talking about the benefits of inventing the microscope. What we're trying to say is that there are loads of benefits! Still, we'll try to synthesize some general benefits here:
Serious games have immediate on-the-job application
They boost engagement and help with employee learning motivation
They offer rewards and recognize accomplishment
Employees like learning through playing serious games because they:
Provide a safe environment for failing and making mistakes
Encourage employee collaboration
Bring the fun factor into their day to day work
We've established that serious games are a form of learning-through-play. Employees get all the benefits of learning and upgrading their skills and none of the risks associated with on-the-job practice. Since they can sharpen their problem-solving expertise without actually risking upsetting a customer, employees feel empowered and confident in reaching their learning objectives.
Employees are free to make mistakes and fail without fear of repercussions. They can retake a game level as many times as they need until they internalize the knowledge or have a good grip on the newly-learned skills.
A multi-player serious game will bring friendly competition into the experience. Employees can play to beat each other's scores, which leads to high motivation to succeed. If the game has a chat option, players can talk about different solutions to the same problem. Live meetings can also be conducive to discussing newly acquired knowledge and skills. This leads to more pleasurable and efficient collaboration between your staff members.
Training games keep employees engaged because they create a fun learning experience. This leads to higher knowledge retention levels and skill acquisition that will reflect in their job performance. Ultimately, a more knowledgeable and competent employee will affect your company's bottom line. The training's ROI will start to be visible in various ways:
Employee job performance will increase
Employee efficiency in solving particular work-related issues will improve
The time required to complete a certain task will decrease
Employees will grasp new concepts and skills faster and on a deeper level
Employee overall job-satisfaction will improve
Here are the reasons why adopting serious games into your corporate learning culture is a good idea.
A traditional classroom training course requires a lot of research and planning. You'll need to:
Make sure the training company you choose is the right fit for your particular business
Find the right space that will accommodate learner and trainer needs
Find the right time slot for running the training
Prepare materials (if not brought in by trainer), and so on
Thus, serious games are more cost-efficient because you only have to make an initial investment. After that, it's all about tweaking the gameplay and the content to fit employee needs. Training games can be made available over multiple platforms, like desktop, mobile, and virtual reality. This means that employees will not be time or location-bound. You can train staff from any location in the world through the use of serious games. And, learners can take a self-directed, at-their-own-pace approach to learning, which empowers and motivates them to excel.
Serious game training is more efficient because it takes less time away from employees’ day to day work tasks. By designing your game with micromodules you can deliver valuable key concepts in a fun, easy to digest style. These key concepts can be immediately applied on the job. So, instead of going to a weekly classroom course and then attempting to apply what they learned on the job the next day, employees can pause the game and try the new skill right away.
You can enrich your serious game by peppering it with short quizzes, end of level evaluations, or end of game questionnaires. Either way, training games allow you to see in real-time how employees are performing. This data equips you to make changes and adequately cater to their needs.
Learners also get to receive instant feedback on how they're advancing through the game. They might also be able to see how coworkers are performing, thus motivating them to do better.
Using a serious game for employee training means you'll have lots of data for analyzing. Analytics will show you employee engagement and where they had the most trouble with the learning content within the game. You can then use this knowledge to recalibrate the game for better results.
What your employees will most likely appreciate the most is the fact that you are paying attention to their needs. This will be obvious from the type of game you choose to implement, the changes you make to improve the gaming experience, the content you include, and the learning objectives you set up. These all need to be in line with employee learning needs and skill level as well as align with your business objectives.
There are tons of online and mobile platforms out there that companies can use to train their staff more efficiently. Or, you can create your own serious game, based on your business targets, employee learning needs, and learners’ skill level. Either way, the return on investment when using serious games is clearly higher. Implementing serious games into your company's learning culture will bring tons of benefits for both your employees and your business.
Please note this article was originally published by our team on elearningindustry.com.