When is Gaming Important for Learning?

Contributor:  Barbara Sealund
Posted:  07/15/2009  12:00:00 AM EDT
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Game-based learning experiences are always highly motivational. They engage the learner’s personal buy-in because of the competitive aspect, which also produces a bit of an adrenaline-rush effect that enhances recall and skills transfer. These benefits of e-learning games (serious games) can be particularly useful for certain types of content, several workplace situations and training initiatives.

When Content Requires Decision-Making

Gaming give an important boost to content that requires decision making. Progressing or scoring in a game can be designed to require resolving a problem or selecting the best action in a scenario. Decision making thinking can be stimulated by standard e-learning, but in a game whose players identify with their avatars and “feel” the contact with their opponents, the learning has an immediacy and more real-life impact as they think through their decisions and experience the consequences. (Click on diagram to enlarge.)



When a “Learning Break” Can Be an Oasis

Everyone feels swamped! Workplaces are undergoing rapid and stressful change in an uncertain economic environment. Employees are worried about keeping their jobs and controlling their personal finances. So they feel pressure to perform at work although they can’t help feeling distracted by personal issues. Who has the time for training?  Well, everybody has time for an “e-learning break”—something work-related but fun to do, something that takes your mind off your troubles and gives it some new and valuable information or tools. Enter the learning game. Game levels or sessions can be as short as 10 minutes, points accrue from one session to the next and employees can fit the sessions in easily during the course of a week. (Click on diagram to enlarge.)



When Employees Need a Helping Hand

Personal Financial Literacy is a topic that embodies both types of “perfect for gaming” characteristics. The principles of personal financial management may sound simple, and we can get helpful brochures and online calculators from government and financial institution Web sites. But making the decisions based on those principles is more complicated. Financial Literacy games are perfect for practicing how we apply those concepts and use the calculation tools in realistic scenarios that tell us immediately how we’re doing and help us make sound decisions for the future. (Click on diagram to enlarge.)



When Employers Are Seeking a More Productive Workforce

Employers are discovering that many of their employees are less productive because they are spending time on the phone to solve some of their financial problems (or just worrying in silence) during normal working hours. But offering personal financial literacy training to your employees, especially through the time-efficient medium of gaming, can draw them in, give them confidence in tools they can use and then let them return their full focus to work. The employer gets a more productive workforce, and a more loyal cadre of employees who appreciate this employer-provided resource.

Barbara Sealund Contributor:   Barbara Sealund




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