Many organizations are eager to jump onto the game-based learning bandwagon but forget that a lack of knowledge on how to correctly implement the initiative can easily lead to failure. The two main reasons behind failed attempts at game-based learning are poor design and lack of alignment with business goals. However, both pitfalls can be avoided by following the right method. This blog will explore the steps to successfully execute a game-based learning solution and explore methods to plug game-based learning in employee training.
Know Your Objective
When designing an e-learning course, it is crucial to know your objective. The same is true for game-based learning. Before beginning the design process, it is essential for you to be clear on whether the objective of the game is to help your learners acquire a new skill, gain knowledge, or to bring about a change in behavior and attitude or a combination of the three. This will help determine the content and design of the game.
For instance, if you want the game to teach learners certain terminology, a crossword puzzle in which learners can learn the terms by solving the puzzle is an appropriate option. Similarly, a simulated game would be ideal for providing safety training in which learners are taught to follow certain rules and to use the correct equipment.
In addition to knowing the game objective, it is important to also bear in mind the business objective of the initiative. For example, is it to achieve your sales goals, improve customer service, or to improve the quality of your deliveries? A clear outline of your goals will help to directly align the game activity with your business objectives and get the results you want.
Make the Game Relevant
The game content and design must be relevant to both the audience and the topic. For instance, to teach terminology, a jumbled word game would be ideal, while a treasure hunt style game would not be. Learners need activities in the game that are related to their learning material and to their job. The game should highlight important points, provide nuggets of information, and give opportunities for learners to practice this newly acquired knowledge to increase retention.
Focus on Learning
It is very easy to get carried away by the design of a game; the inclusion of actions, sounds, complex scoring methods or backgrounds in your game can be exciting! However, a focus on design doesn’t mean that you miss the main objective of the game: to help learners gain and retain important information. The design should not turn the learner’s attention away from the knowledge and skills that he or she is supposed to be acquiring from the game.
Provide Learners with a Unique Experience
A game-based learning experience creates personalized learning pathways for individual learners. Within a game, learners can be asked to make decisions that will determine the course of the game. The inclusion of feedback is essential; and it should be provided at the right time to the learners so that they know what is right and the reasons for it. This will help to reinforce learning.
Make Game-based Learning Part of a Blended Curriculum
While game-based training is effective, implementing it as a standalone learning strategy for your training may not produce maximum results. Instead, aim to utilize game-based learning as a part of a blended training strategy. Games can be used to cover a specific knowledge or skill, or as a reinforcement tool. A game can also be used to provide learners with a fun introduction to a topic which will be covered later in the course, or as a method of assessment to conclude a topic.
When creating a game-based learning experience:
- Know your objective
- Make the game relevant
- Focus on learning
- Provide learners with a unique experience
- Make game-based learning a part of a blended curriculum
Now, let us look at ways games can be incorporated in an e-learning course:
Use Existing Games
Games can be created using the framework of games that already exist. The advantages of this are it takes lesser time to create since the template can be adapted to meet specific learning objectives or to address a certain topic. Another advantage is that learners are already familiar with the rules and know how to play the game. The use of something familiar will increase learner confidence, helping them quickly adapt and learn. Here is a screenshot of a quiz style game built in the format of a popular game for a course on customer service.
Create Customized Games
Customized games are tailored to meet the specific training needs of organizations and can be designed to perfectly address your learning objectives. These games can be conceptualized based on the topic, learner profile, or learning environment. They can be designed based on company specific curriculum to achieve the desired learning outcomes.
To do this, businesses can seek the assistance of in-house game design experts, or choose to outsource this service to those with the required expertise. There are even gaming platforms available that can create games from the content that you provide.
Games can be created to provide an immersive learning experience to learners by presenting them with the opportunity to seek and locate information themselves. This will work best in cases where the components of the game are similar to the real-life responsibilities of the trainee. For example, in sales training, the trainees can be given a certain goal, such as to achieve a specific target, or to convince a set number of clients. This creates direct involvement with the learning material, increasing learner engagement and motivation. Simulations are the perfect solution for providing an immersive experience where trainees can learn how to react in specific situations.
Game-based learning can be a powerful tool to achieve the desired learning objectives of an e-learning course. The inclusion of games in online training courses can provide an enriching and immersive learning experience provided they are designed and implemented well!