“Serious learning games”, may sound like a bit of an oxymoron, as you may be asking yourself, “How can something be both serious and a game at the same time?”. The content, narrative, and winning of a game can be serious, even if the very purpose of a game is to have fun.
We look at five crucial characteristics of game-based learning and explore the truth behind the science of serious learning games.
Discover how corporations can reap the benefits and enjoy higher employee engagement and performance by adding gameplay to their Learning and Development (L&D) programs. This will help improve their strategic thinking problem-solving skills.
5 Key Benefits Of Game-Based Learning
1) The Immersive Enjoyment of Gameplay
Interest is a “powerful motivational process” that, when properly utilized, has been proven to greatly increase learning. Playing a game, any game, but particularly one that the player enjoys automatically engages that player. Couple a difficult or dull educational topic with immersive gameplay and watch the students turn a corner in their learning process. Players become utterly absorbed in the game and engrossed, and solve problems inside the gameplay.
Game-based learning presents an opportunity for an entire syllabus of information. Customer service policies can pilot flight simulators and hospital wings to cybersecurity can be learned through gamification. These areas with complex layers of knowledge and skill requirement can be easily broken down into manageable chunks of consumable information. All of these can then be taught and tested within the framework of a game.
2) The Measurability Of Personalised Learning
Measuring individual performance can be a fiddly task. Annual reviews are often dismissed by many employees as ineffective forms of feedback. Nevertheless, it’s often in these brief encounters with managers that employees are given opportunities to express learning needs and review their performance.
Learning plans may be personalized, but only to a certain extent; teams with similar roles are often pushed toward achieving collectcouive goals or reaching benchmarks. There is little to no individualization and personalization in learning plans, and learning goals tend to be broad; personalized learning can be more difficult to quantify and justify.
Enter game-based learning, a solution that incorporates a dashboard for the Learning and Development team in real life, and a learning environment with personalized journeys for each employee. Employers can observe, record, and analyze each individual’s performance in a matter of clicks. The data consolidation and abstraction are performed by the Learning Management Software.
Better still, as much of this happens as the learner plays, employers can adjust the learner’s game content as needed. For areas with greater risk of difficulty or failure, employers can create additional tasks and tests. Individuals can now receive tailored support without consuming the L&D team’s time. It can also help without consuming the learning resources needed to support other employees.
3) The Normalisation Of Failure
Failure has been drummed into us since children as being unacceptable. It is a reflection of our moral code and identity, and something that leaves us feeling really bad.
We are repeatedly penalized in life for making mistakes, for example, if you forget to pay for parking, you may find yourself returning to your car to discover a fine that’s 20 times the original value of your forgotten parking ticket.
It’s no wonder that employees shudder at the thought of making mistakes and feeling humiliated amongst their peers and boss. The irony of it all is that we need vulnerability and courage to help us grow. Through mistakes and failure, employees develop a growth mindset that will ultimately lead to their success.
Game-based learning holds the answers, as serious learning games give individuals a space to make choices that are tough or to feel vulnerable or stupid, to make mistakes…and for everything to be all right. So, when a learner continually hits a 60% success rate, all is not lost.
At face value, the stats seem bad but dig deeper and there’s more concrete development taking place. These employees are developing their emotional intelligence, experiencing real-world consequences in safe, controlled, simulated environments, and growing a penchant for trying again and getting it right.
Alongside this, analytics change from being a dreaded report of stats and instead become everyone’s best friend. Lower test scores, in the beginning, are more accurate indicators and benchmarks of understanding.
Game-based learning analytics can point out exactly where these employees are failing. This allows L&D teams to easily spot areas where individuals perform the worst and can provide additional learning to encourage repeat attempts. Say goodbye to the lucky first-time passes disguised as concrete knowledge; game-based learning technology ensures everyone really knows what they’re talking about.
4) The Instant Feedback
Employees who receive more feedback, perform better. One study showed that 43% of highly engaged employees receive weekly feedback. Game-based feedback can be just as effective. If you ask anyone about the best part of taking a test, they will usually say “when it’s over” or “when I get my test results back and they’re good enough.”
Live results, instant feedback, and easily accessible information about their performance give employees the dopamine hit. This helps give them the motivation they need to continue improving their performance.
5) The Use Of Both The Cognitive And Affective Brain
It has long been thought that a smart person requires an affective cognitive brain, one which is able to receive, understand, process, store, transform, recall, and apply information from external sources. The best employees, it was thought, had the sharpest cognitive ability.
The affective side of the brain is the side that affects how we experience emotions such as depression, happiness, and anxiety. It has only recently been proven to be a valuable and necessary part of learning. We need to be able to understand and use information (cognitive brain) but to do that effectively, we need to care (effective brain).
Serious learning games create stronger interactions with learning topics through emotional engagement. This ultimately results in better performance and understanding of a task.
In Summary: Game-Based Learning Has Some Amazing Features
Game-based learning allows learners to immerse themselves in learning, without really realizing they are doing so. Simultaneously, employers can record and assess data easily on their LMS and adjust their learning strategies accordingly. This flexible, blended learning approach gives employees the freedom to learn at their own pace, in a safe environment, with clear goals.
Each benefit of game-based learning is as good as the next. This makes it a necessary element of every L&D team’s strategy. As it evolves, many new developments and elearning trends emerge for more effective performance and implementation. If you’d like more content like this, you can find it here. Or if you’re ready to dive in and start creating your own online course, you can start for free here today.