for Dr. Karl Kapp, author and ‘knowledge broker,’ and Bryan Austin, founder of Game On! Learning
WHY ARE LEARNING GAMES GARNERING SO MUCH ATTENTION?
Austin: Corporate trainers are actively seeking solutions to a dilemma: It’s becoming harder to get workforces to willingly consume traditional e-learning. Employees complain that the courses are uninteresting and not effective enough to be worth the time. It’s a big problem. The engagement of learning games is compelling, but just adding badges, points and leaderboards to all training isn’t the answer.Robust and well-designed learning games can “hook” the learner and motivate them to bring their “A” game to the training through meaningful competition. Games use superior learning models to create more memorable training that increases knowledge retention and improves skill proficiency. Effective learning games can dependably deliver superior outcomes.
WHAT CURRENT L&D CHALLENGES DO LEARNING GAMES HAVE THE POTENTIAL TO ADDRESS?
Kapp: A better question is, “What challenge does game-based learning not address?” It addresses (1) application of skills, instead of learning “about the skills,” placing the learning in context and (2) the biggest: lack of learner engagement. We personally experience lack of engagement when we spend time checking e-mail during webinars, play with our smartphone in training classes, and click the “next” button as fast as we can in self-paced e-learning modules. Well-designed games require full engagement while simultaneously providing
an opportunity to apply learned skills. We know from dozens of research studies that applying skills during training increases knowledge transfer, content retention and overall employee learning.
ARE LEARNING GAMES A PASSING FAD, OR THE BEGINNING OF A LONG-TERM TOOL TO MORE EFFECTIVELY IMPROVE WORKFORCE PERFORMANCE?
Kapp: Games have been around as long as humans have been on Earth. And learning games, I am convinced, have been around just as long. So it’s not a trend. Games are here to stay for learning. Kids naturally create learning games. Whenever they play “school,” they are learning how to socialize in the school environment. Humans have a natural affinity for learning through games. I think corporations and other organizations are actually behind in their use of games for learning. The military, which involves life and death, uses games all the time for training.I see the current focus on games for learning as part of a long-term trend
because, quite simply, they work.
WHY ARE LEARNING GAMES LIKELY TO PLAY A BIGGER ROLE IN FUTURE CORPORATE TALENT DEVELOPMENT?
Austin: We often have clients ask us if game-based learning is only effective for their younger employees. The Entertainment Software Association reports that the average age of “gamers” is now 37, and 25 percent of video game players are 50 years old or older. Surprised by that?In reviewing the feedback from nearly 30,000 learners who have played the soft skills learning games we provide,there is no discernible variance in receptivity by generation.I believe the reason why is this: If learners find training interesting, fun, compelling and applicable to their job, they place a high value on it. If it isn’t, they don’t.