Instructional designers are constantly looking for ways to add interest to online courses to help them appeal to learners. Game-based learning is proven to be an effective and sound solution, with engagement levels spiking when games are introduced into an e-learning course. . In this post, we will explore how game-based learning can add an element of fun to three common organizational training areas: compliance training, product training, and induction training.
1. Compliance Training
Mention compliance training, and the first image that comes to learners’ minds is a boring activity or a ‘check-the-box’ exercise that they are (understandably) reluctant to do. So, how do you motivate your learners to take up compliance training? Game-based learning generates curiosity, keeping learners engaged throughout the duration of the training.
Repetition is no longer boring: One grudge learners have against compliance training is that it is a repetition of the same rules. Learners react with an “Oh! We already know this” style response, and do not pay any real attention to the content. The result? They fail to remember and apply the rules. However, place this repetition within a game, and the results are remarkable.
Games that require the players/learners to execute a series of steps (for example, a set of compliance rules) will help learners to acquire a mastery of the rules when the game is played repeatedly. It is a good idea for difficulty levels to escalate as learners progress through the game. Learners do not tire of repetition when it occurs in game format, and it is this very repetition that is necessary for learners to learn and retain the training content.
Learn in a risk-free environment: Game-based learning can help you to create real-life simulations of a hazardous situation that the learner may be exposed to in the course of his work. For instance, if employees need to be taught how to react in the case of a fire on the premises, as a part of a safety compliance course. This situation can easily be recreated in the form of a simulation.
Making this simulation part of a game will pique the learner’s interest and allow him to practice, experience, and interact in the environment of the simulation. The learner has the opportunity to make decisions without worrying about any real-life consequences of his actions. The learner can experiment until a perfect score is achieved –a fact that incidentally, will help him to learn the right steps, and to remember and follow them if the scenario plays out in real life.
Games can be presented in the form of scenarios that mimic the real world or real-world challenges. For example, a learner is playing a scenario-based game within a course on IT security. When the learner makes an incorrect response, he will be offered feedback and be aware of the consequences of his ‘action’, and will then remember not to commit the mistake again. Game-based scenario training avoids the risk of real-life situations when training complex or hazardous skills.
Exposing learners to interactive games based on simulations and scenarios helps them to retain information better. Repeatedly playing a game will help them remember the rules and to handle real life situations with confidence. The added benefit, of course, is that compliance training is transformed into an engaging learning experience.
2. Product Sales Training
Game-based learning can be leveraged for product training to help sales reps. When a new product is launched, sales reps will have to learn about its specifications, operations, and technology, all of which they must absorb before they meet with their next client. Reps will cram this information from handouts, PDFs or PowerPoint decks. But how much of it will they actually retain? Chances are, they will remember very little unless their learning is reinforced.
Games can be a better way to learn about a product and industry. Strategies such as spaced repetition or feedback loops can be linked into the design of the game. This will help sales reps to be able to recall information – even after playing the game for just a few minutes a day. When the product and technical knowledge is especially complex, your sales reps will appreciate the fact that games help them learn, remember, and retain the information more easily.
The sales field is by nature competitive, and sales reps appreciate the competitive element in their jobs. To make the most of this, train using games with leaderboards, in which they can be given points for the best grasp of product knowledge, procedures, or selling skills.
In sales training, a scenario including game-based elements provides a risk-free environment for learners, in which they can experiment with different approaches for interacting with a customer. . Negotiation skills and activities that have consequences are best taught through game-based scenarios, as learners get to experience the after effects in a risk-free environment.
3. New Hire Training
Regular induction or new hire training usually means subjecting new hires to a series of PowerPoint presentations. These are long and time-consuming, and it is doubtful as to whether the new hires absorb any knowledge, or how much more job ready’ they are than when they arrived. Experience has demonstrated that when this training is game-based, it instantly appeals to new hires of different ages. The new recruits are better able to understand the subjects, ranging from company policies to the organizational structure and functions of departments within the company.
In addition to this, games offer features such as leaderboards, rewards, and scoring systems that serve to make the training engaging, enjoyable, and effective.
For a client who wanted an engaging induction training course, we designed a game-based course with a virtual campus of the organization as the background. The aim of the course was to give new hires an overview of the company and its different departments. The new hires were introduced to the campus through different buildings. Once they click the first building, the CEO’s room appears where they get to meet the CEO who will give a welcome message (in the form of a video). Learners then progress to the next level by clicking the second building where they learn about the company’s vision, mission, goals, and business objectives.
When choosing a game-based learning solution to meet the different training needs of your organization, remember that a balance between fun and learning should be maintained, combining engaging content with strong game mechanics. This will ensure that the content is not only learned, but sticks.