Organizations of all sizes are turning to game-based learning, serious games, and gamification to solve a range of learning and development challenges. For some, the challenge is one of engagement; learners are tired of traditional eLearning and programs are seeing diminishing returns. For others, it’s about retention; learners do not remember what they learned after completing training, therefore wasting its value.
Serious games can be a part of the solution to increasing engagement and retention. But the real issue here is finding a set of solutions that meet the unique needs of the organization. Focusing on those needs first before selecting a type of solution (such as serious games) will lead to optimum results.
Large enterprises need to…
- …fight learner fatigue from existing eLearning programs. Large organizations are more likely to have been using eLearning for a longer period of time, increasing the effect learner burnout has on the program.
- …select platforms that are scalable and modular. With large volumes of content and training going out in many different locations, a platform must be selected that can continuously grow with organizational needs.
- …help learners efficiently master a large volume of foundational knowledge. The majority of corporate learning content involves Bloom’s verbs like identify, remember, understand, etc. Solutions should make the process of acquiring this knowledge painless and even motivating.
- …allow an internal team to collaborate on the solution. Most L&D functions will have multiple “authors” developing training. An enterprise-ready solution is needed.
- …measure the success of learning solutions through meaningful analytics. Are people learning what we need them to learn?
Take a Research-Based Approach
A growing body of research has been published supporting the use of games for learning. A number of studies show how games can outperform traditional forms of instruction, while other studies demonstrate the measurable increases in engagement and retention. If you or someone else still needs some convincing, have a look at some of our favorite sources:
- eLearning Guild: Gamification, Games, and Learning- What Managers and Practicioners Need to Know. (Link)
- Learnovate Centre: (Research Report) The Use of Serious Games in the Corporate Sector. (Link)
- Karl Kapp: The Gamification of Learning Instruction (link) and The Gamification of Learning and Instruction Fieldbook (link)
- Sharon Boller: (Yes, our president!) 4 Ways Serious Games Link to Learning (link)
- Learning Solutions Magazine: Case study, The Gamification of Sales Force Training (link)
The Benefits of Serious Games
Serious games work by unifying the cognitive and affective domains. Most corporate learning is dominated by the cognitive domain, tapping into our capacity to think, plan, and ascertain. eLearning does an excellent job of exercising these cognitive skills… but they are not the sole driver of job performance. The affective domain, or emotions, of learners are usually left untapped by most learning solutions.
By giving players meaningful goals, narrative thread, and feedback, games can evoke strong emotions in players… and if the mechanics of the game are carefully linked to the cognitive processes learners must perform on the job, there is great potential for learning. Retention can increase significantly when emotions drive learners to master the game and acquire new knowledge.
Because of the many benefits, serious games are being used in a wide range of industries, as part of training for most corporate learning content areas. And while topics complex soft skills training and leadership might call for an immersive serious game, content areas such as foundational knowledge, compliance, product knowledge, etc can also benefit from a game-based solution. For knowledge that is more declarative, the mechanics of a serious game can be used to increase overall interest, engagement, motivation, and retention.
How to Get Started
Corporate learning stands to gain a great deal from serious games, specifically game elements and mechanics such as narrative, rules and feedback loops. L&D should include games (or other gamified solutions) in the mix when the goal is to improve knowledge transfer, change attitudes and behaviors, improve processes, or onboard a new hire.
And while our clients at Bottom-Line Performance often require a customized serious game to meet their needs, we’ve found that a game engine like Knowledge Guru is ideal for organizations who need to produce a large number of games on foundational topics. If you’re just beginning to pilot game-based solutions, consider requesting a demo of Knowledge Guru to see the enhanced features available in the Enterprise Edition.