If you are agonizing over learner engagement in your e-learning courses, you need to look beyond your regular course design and add something new to make your courses more engaging. Game-based learning could be the solution to garner engagement for your training content.
While a regular e-learning course may not score much on the engagement factor, game-based learning can make your courses more interactive and enjoyable, and consequently more engaging. We will look at how game-based learning can transform training both at the organization and employee level.
Improves learner engagement
An e-learning course becomes engaging when it is game-based. Games provide an interactive learning experience that actively engage learners in the learning process.
Games require multiple intelligences for learning; they involve the linguistic, intrapersonal, kinesthetic, and logical abilities of the learner. There is active learning, the learner is constantly seeing and doing something.
Games allow learners to experiment and provide opportunities for self-expression. Learners get opportunities to interact, cause a reaction, and experience failure in a safe environment while playing these games. This leads to the emotional involvement of the learner, leading to better learning and retention.
Provides psychological pay-offs
While games engage learners, they also promote fun, self-esteem, and social interaction. Learners can explore, build, collect points, solve problems, strategize, don different roles, imagine and of course win.
When learners win the game, there is a boost in self-esteem, especially when it is a challenging one and this adds to the motivation factor.
As for social interaction, the scoreboards, messaging features, and multi-player options allow players to interact with each other and make them feel they are a part of a common experience. Cooperative games encourage peer-based learning, build a healthy competitive spirit among learners, promote teamwork and collaboration.
Aids real-world application of skills and knowledge
Game-based learning takes learners into virtual environments which mirror the actual environment. In this virtual environment, learners work toward a goal where they choose their actions and experience the consequences.
Learners can make mistakes in a risk-free setting and the opportunities for experimentation allow them to learn and practice the right way to do things. They get the opportunity to apply the acquired knowledge and get feedback in the form of consequences, but in a virtual world. This keeps them highly-engaged and they are encouraged to apply behaviors and thought processes that can be transferred from the simulated environment to real life.
This aspect of game-based learning can be effective for training in military, medicine, or business fields. It enables the acquisition of procedural and strategic knowledge crucial to succeed in these fields.
Simplifies complex subjects
Complex concepts such as critical thinking, decision making, debate, and group discussion can be taught better through games. They can be used to create a simulated environment where the learner experiences life-like situations and based on his experience can learn these complex topics.
Different types of games can be used for various types of training; simulation games can be used for skills training while character-based games work well for soft skills or to impart product and process knowledge.
Helps provide instant feedback
The feedback in games as scores, points, and reward structures has a positive influence on learners. Feedback is instant and personalized which helps learners to correct their mistakes. It helps them achieve the learning outcomes when playing the game. They can measure their own progress and be an active part of the learning process. The feedback gives managers tools to assess the progress of the training.
Increases learner adoption and retention
Learners are receptive to game-based learning and adopt it because of the motivation it provides. They can quickly spot the connection between the learning experience provided by the game and real-life work. The interactive experience game-based learning provides encourages them to actively engage in the learning process.
Traditional, passive training including a non-game-based e-learning course is designed to teach and then test learners on the content of the course. Even if the learner retains the facts and procedures in the lesson, his behavior in true-to life situation is not tested. This is possible through game-based learning where not only the facts are taught but there are opportunities to understand abstract principles that help them retain more and perform better in their jobs.
Works for a multigenerational workforce
Games appeal to learners of all ages. Using game-based learning can work for a multigenerational workforce simply because the complex problem solving tasks that are a part of it engross learners, irrespective of age. It cuts through distractions and engages the learner in ways very few teaching methods can.
Improves multiple skill sets
Games can improve the skill sets of employees at various levels. From improving basic eye-hand co-ordination skills to complex ones such as problem solving skills, strategic thinking skills and social skills. Employees experience learning by doing and experiential learning through game-based learning.
Though the general view is that game-based learning can be expensive, it is not. Technology has made rapid advances; tools and software required to develop these games are available and less expensive. Organizations can buy game templates and customize them. The cost depends on the complexity and levels of play, but the results of creating a highly-interactive and engaging training solution is worth the investment.
With so many benefits to offer, game-based learning meets the expectations of learners in providing an engaging learning experience while enhancing their problem-solving capabilities and reducing cognitive load. As for organizations, it provides a training solution that is cost-effective, appeals to multiple generations and is readily accepted by learners.