Shall We Play a Game?


Shall We Play a Game?

Tod Browndorf | Aug, 29 2012

Who among us has not heard about companies disabling Windows Solitaire (my personal favorite) or a bevy of other online games in an effort to dissuade employees from procrastinating instead of getting their work done? Well, it turns out that playing games isn’t necessarily a bad thing, especially when those games are part of online training.

While doing my usual surfing about the e-learning training blogosphere, I came across an entry that touted the benefits of incorporating gaming attributes into online courses in order to keep learners engaged. After all, we don’t normally snooze while were engaged in an enjoyable video game, we snooze when we’re bored by material we’re required to learn. So, it makes sense to combine fun with education. It’s not a new idea per se, but it is an effective one.

Game-Based Learning Encourages Engagement

While the majority of game-based learning is directed at young students, online training content creators can take a page from some educational games and incorporate them into their coursework. The more interaction an online course has, the more likely the learner is to successfully complete it. Schools have lately been incorporating gaming software into online learning tools in order to keep students focused. Plus, the familiarity of a well-loved game makes the learning process less “educational” and more fun. It’s the equivalent of pulverizing vegetables in the food processor and adding them to the spaghetti sauce!

Winning Equals Knowledge

Everyone loves to win at games. Learning is of course the ultimate goal, but when you compete and win, you not only feel the rush, you learn something as well. Kids are not the only ones who love their PlayStations, PS3s and Wii consoles. We adults love to get in on the action. I’m not suggesting that an online training course has to completely mimic a video game, but selecting certain elements has been proven to enhance the learning process.

Game-based learning can help workers acquire the skills they need to adapt to new job requirements. The old jack-of-all-trades moniker has never been more relevant than it is now, requiring employees to not only sharpen their existing skills, but to learn new ones to survive in today’s workforce. Us older folks can compete with younger learners by acquiring the ability to think more independently, and improve our communication and collaborative skills. Even when it’s you versus the computer, you can learn ways to incorporate that competitiveness into better collaboration with co-workers. If you’re skeptical, just observe your kids as they juggle their various electronic devices!

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