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Game On: Making a Case for Game-based Learning

Game On: Making a Case for Game-based Learning

The benefits of game-based learning in corporate training cannot be disputed, every research study is in favor of it and studies suggest that it promotes engagement and long-term learning. Despite all the favorable reviews, companies tend to think twice before deciding to use it for their online training initiatives. The most common reasons for this are the cost implications of implementing game-based learning, doubts about where it can be put to use, and its suitability for adults. This blog will try to dispel these notions and provide concrete facts on the benefits of game-based learning, so that you can go ahead and make a convincing business case to your management.

Cost Implications

Many organizations tend to believe that including game-based learning in their courses will result in a substantial increase in the cost of e-learning; this is far from the truth. Technology has advanced so much that the software required to develop these games is widely available, and at a low cost. You can buy readily available game templates and customize them according to your needs. Today, authoring tools come equipped with these templates and have other additional features that make developing game-based learning solutions both easy and cost effective. 

Applicability Doubts

Another area of doubt that businesses have about game-based learning is its applicability to different training areas. Many presume that game-based learning would be suitable only for developing motor skills but not other skills. This is not the case. In fact, without expanding your budget and time, games can be created for a wide range of training purposes, including new hire training, sales training, soft skills training, and process training.

Different types of games can be created based on the training purpose. For example, character-based games work well for process, product and soft skill training, while simulation based games work well for sales training. Mini games and puzzles can be used to teach learners about important terminology, help them recall information, or test their knowledge. 

Suitability for Adult Learning

There is a common misconception that game-based learning is more suitable for children than adults, based on the idea that games are ‘just for fun’ and a ‘distraction from work’. You can rest assured that games are far more than a fun activity; they promote problem-solving abilities in adults and are highly effective in motivating them to learn.

Games can be created to cater to different adult learning styles – visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. They can also be fashioned to cater to one or more learning styles. Another advantage is that the learning experience can be customized to suit individual learning styles. Games can be designed for individual learning paths, be personal, and speak at the learner’s level while motivating him to complete the game. This will help employees complete tasks, retain information, and apply what they have learned in their work.

These benefits can convince businesses to implement game-based learning in their online training. The catch? It has to appeal to learners as well. If the games are designed to meet the expectations of your learners, they will succeed in fulfilling this objective. Here are a few ways to do this:

Provide Instant Feedback

Playing games requires taking split second decisions, as the learner must respond immediately to the challenges posed in the game. It is important that immediate feedback is given to the learner. Take care to avoid the usual ’right’ or ‘wrong’ style of feedback; instead explain why the answer is either correct or incorrect. This will not only help add interactivity to the game, but also provides the learner an opportunity for self- assessment.

Providing feedback allows the learner to be instantly aware of and correct his mistakes, reinforcing the learning experience. Feedback helps learners measure their progress and be an active part of the learning process.

Present Challenges

There is no doubt that games present a challenge to the learner, but it is important to ensure that the level of difficulty gradually increases in the course of the game. In the initial stages, the learner needs to get used to playing the game, but after this, in order to sustain his interest, he needs to be presented with challenges so that he does not lose interest.

Ability to Lose and Get a Second Chance

In game-based learning, the learner should be allowed to make mistakes so that he can learn from them. This means that a bad score in a quiz should not remove the chance for the learner to try again. A better option is to give the learner scenario-based games in which he is given the opportunity to choose from multiple options and improve on previous performances and scores. The game design should inspire the learner to rethink his understanding and not give up easily.

When making a business case for game-based learning, be sure to include the elements we have discussed to make a strong and convincing case to your management. Game-based learning has the potential to transform adult learning, and businesses are increasingly choosing this option while taking care that its design engages learners and inspires them to keep learning.

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