‘Serious games’ is one of the widely-used buzz phrases in digital learning resources, but what exactly does it mean for you and your learners? Many buzzwords and new concepts disappear almost as quickly as they arrive, but are serious games different? Virtual College believes that they are here for the long haul and, when used correctly, can have a huge impact on your learning and development strategy.
A serious game is a game designed with the primary purpose of engaging and teaching rather than for pure entertainment. Over the years, learning and development has taken many forms; from face-to-face classroom-based training, to the introduction of online resources such as video and e-learning. However, whatever format the training takes, it won’t be successful unless the learners are engaged with the materials. This does not mean that we will now see a shift in every organisation delivering training through a serious game, however, they can be used as a great blended approach when incorporated in all the previously mentioned variations of training methods.
Creates behaviour change – serious games allow learners to apply knowledge in real world scenarios/simulations whilst still being in a fail-safe environment. Failure is not something that we like to associate ourselves with; however, when it comes to behaviour change, failing is one of the best ways to learn.
Improves confidence and self-belief – a serious game allows learners to explore and approach barriers in different ways to which they would in a real-life scenarios. This in turn allows them to build their confidence and self-belief to ensure that they find alternative approaches to solving different issues or problems that may arise.
Competitive element – when playing games for entertainment, there is usually a competitive element through leader boards or direct competition with players within the same game. Serious games are no different, and applying an air of competitiveness has been proven to stimulate the mind and encourage learners to be as efficient and effective as possible in their decision-making.
Refresher purposes – through playing a game the learner is motivated to play again. This reinforces knowledge and allows the impact of learning to continue for a longer period of time.
Engagement – attention, curiosity, interest, optimism and passion are all elements associated with engagement. We all know the success of an L&D strategy is heavily reliant on learner engagement and them wanting to learn. Serious games add an exciting, different and entertaining element to your strategy, ultimately increasing learner engagement.
Serious games will not work for all training requirements and need to be applied in a relevant context, however, when used effectively they can reinvigorate your Learning and Development strategy.
Virtual College has worked with a range of clients to develop serious games as part of a learning solution, which have been implemented across a range of sectors and topics, showing fantastic results. If you would like to discuss the possibility of using serious games in your training strategy then please get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org