The constant endeavor of any eLearning course is to keep learners engaged. Game-based learning is one method that has proved successful in doing so. It delivers an interactive experience to the learner. It promotes user engagement at right intervals.
Games tied to the learning outcome of the course will help you think beyond just designing simple games. You can align your games to the skills you want to improve and where you want to lead your learner.
Games incorporated in the assessment part of your course will help make it interesting and appealing. Game-based assessments offer possibilities such as virtual situations or branching scenarios. Many training managers are incorporating this strategy in their eLearning courses. But, they also confuse game-based learning with gamification. To make things clear, let us look at both.
Game-based learning is taking a game and using it in the course. It is used for teaching a specific skill or achieve a learning outcome. A distinct game is used to teach a particular skill. This is aimed at improving the ability of the player to retain and apply the skill or learning outcome in the real world. This is different from gamification which turns the entire learning process into a game, where game mechanics and game play elements are applied to existing learning courses.
Why Use Game-Based Learning?
The use of games motivates learners. The idea of playing and having fun while learning appeals to them and encourages them to go through the course and learn. They are inspired to win the game and if rewards are added to the game, motivation levels go up.
Games can be used to create engaging scenarios. Games with scenes and characters learners are familiar with will make learners better engaged in the training.
Why Does Game-Based Learning Succeed?
Research suggests that games can be effective learning tools because people learn from games and they provide motivation and help learners remain engaged. Aspects that make game-based learning succeed include:
- Competition: When games are used, learners are competing against each other. The scores in the game motivate them to outdo each other. The scores or points prompt learners to explore their skills and learning abilities. The goals, challenges, and achievements promote healthy competition among learners.
- Engagement: The challenges, curiosity, control, and fantasy aspects of games get learners completely involved and they tend to finish playing. The interactivity levels in the game also contribute to learner engagement.
- Immediate Rewards: Immediate rewards such as a token of appreciation or a certificate or points excites learners to complete the game and in the process, learn.
- Immediate Reinforcement and Feedback: The specific and timely feedback provided through games in the form of scores, points and reward structures has a positive influence on learners. The feedback is instant in a game, which helps learners correct their mistakes. This guides learners so that the learning outcomes are achieved when playing the game.
How Can You Use Game-Based Learning?
Once you have decided to implement a game-based learning solution in your course, ensure that you balance the subject matter with game play so that learners retain the knowledge and apply what they learn in the real world.
There are various options to use game-based learning in your course:
- Use existing games: You can use the framework of an already existing game and modify it to suit the learning course. For instance, you can use a game of cards to help learners know about the rules in a safety training course.
- Create customized games: Create a game customized to the needs of your course. But, you will have to tread carefully here, there is a dual purpose, you are not only creating a game, but also a learning solution. So, the game has to provide fun, while not being too easy or too hard. And the learning solution has to deliver a specific learning outcome.
- Create an immersive learning experience: If using existing games or creating customized ones, the aim should be to create an immersive learning experience. Competitive games with single player or multi-player options, interactive games that allow learners to learn in an experiential way or story-based and character-led games are ways to create an immersive learning experience.
Game-based learning is based on the motivational elements of games. It aids in providing content in an interactive way to truly engage the learner.