Gone are the days of Power Point presentations, role plays and case studies. These days, games play an important role in the learning and development of people, leading to a rising interest in gamification and edutainment.
Gabe Zichermann, founder and chief executive at Dopamine Inc says gamification techniques increase your employees' ability to learn by 40 per cent. Therefore, learning leaders, consultants, developers and educators are looking at gamifying the learning process through a variety of new tools, techniques and technologies.
The value of games
Today, the value of games is being increasingly recognized in learning organizations. It forms the foundation of physical, mental, intellectual, social and emotional skills necessary for success in work life. Play-based learning provides a strong base to impart basic technical, behavioral, and professional knowledge in addition to inculcating creativity, communication, problem-solving, planning and organization skills. They create happiness, discipline, friendliness, confidence and concentration.
As they are played in groups, employees develop a healthy competitive spirit. They help to develop collaboration, leadership qualities and team spirit. Moreover, games instill in the players the spirit of self-reliance, justice, fair play and sporting spirit. They make people bold, adventurous, social and more conscious of their responsibilities towards their team and organization. Finally, games are essential for the all-round development of a personality.
Game plan for gamification
Gamification is the process of integrating game elements in the learning content to educate, engage and entertain the employees through online/offline method. So how do you gamify? Firstly, based on your business or functional requirement and significance, you need to decide on what is the content or subject you want to gamify, the target participants and the key takeaways. The most important thing to keep in mind is how this intervention aligns and adds value to business, organization and to the employees.
Edutainment or gamification can be applied to any subject or content across the industry to create situational, experiential and fun-oriented learning. Games can be designed to train people on any topics like to understand business, process, procedures, policies, core values, or culture, or assist them in learning any technical or behavioral skill as they play. You just need to make sure that the game or theme closely matches and meets your requirements.
For example, in order to train employees on behavioral competencies such as planning and organizing, you can design card games. First, construct the learning board with different behavioral competencies to explore for the particular role with related pictures. Then create learning cards with key actions for each competency after that distribute cards to the player or teams. Then ask the player to place the matching cards related to planning and organizing competencies; suppose the player places prioritization card on the planning and organizing competencies. He will score the points for right answer and next team takes the turn. The first player or team to fill the board with all matching competencies card wins the game. You can have multiple variations in card games like trick-taking, matching, shedding, comparing, accumulating etc. These types of games not only educate but also entertain learners as it is most easy and effective way to drive home the ideas.
Role of Edutainer
Training leaders play an important role in the gamification process especially in designing, development and deployment of learning games for the organization. First of all, they need to understand the learning requirements from the stakeholders or functional leaders and then come up with various relevant game designs, which meet desired expectations and determine the rules, tools and techniques to be used to play the games. After that, demonstrate a pilot run with selected leaders and seek feedback and lastly customize as per needs and expectations. When you later roll out to all targeted employees in the organization, have an instruction manual ready for reference and clarifications. Learning leaders must ensure that the objective of the games and key takeaways should percolate down the line to the targeted participants for targeted development.
Finally be a sport!
Be ready and willing to do something creative and challenging and take part in such exercises. Seek support from creative and sportive guys in the organization, while getting the buy-in from stakeholders and senior leaders. Conceptualize a creative game plan, change the game and the rules and change the learning style. Finally, create win-win games to strike balance between work and play in the organization and let somebody see your gamesmanship skills. That is the game of learning through playing.