Gaming is a powerful medium that can be harnessed for personal learning, especially among the next generation employees.
Games are no longer just about fun, as organizations are now looking at them as innovative tools for training. Experts tell us how games can be both, a medium to have fun and an effective platform that can foster employee engagement and motivation.
For ages, games, for most of us have been nothing more than mere stress busting and entertaining mechanisms and most organizations would frown over the thought of their employees playing at the workplace. However, this perspective has, now, changed. Today, rather than just entertainment gaming has turned into a perfect tool for training and development.
Though this practice is still catching up with many organizations, experts say that gaming can turn out to be an innovative and man exciting tool for training employees. 70 percent of the major employers in USA are using interactive software and games to train their employees. In India too, a large number of companies have started using gaming as a tool, in an endeavor to make training more effective.
Gaming is an extension of experiential learning and can be a very powerful vehicle for learning. The idea is to use the intense involvement of the participant (gamer) and motivation to skillfully derive learning. With the passing of time training has evolved into an important function in many organizations.
Gaming is replacing all traditional tools of training as it keeps the interest level of the participants high during the program. Going forward also, it will be a major attraction for employees to attend any learning event.
Every training initiative serves its purpose, of learning and development. And just like most training initiatives gaming also serves the same purpose. Experts say that it helps in providing immediate results, reduces training cost, enhances the ability to apply consistent training across the organization and the ease of measuring employee participation and fosters better information retention. As people are accustomed to traditional tools gaming brings in freshness during the training session. It keeps the participation level on a higher side plus the employee also retains the learning for a longer period. Through gaming, the trainer can explain the linkage between the concepts and the application in a practical work situation.
Gaming is a very powerful medium that can be harnessed for personal learning, especially among the next generation employees. It can be done in a cost effective manner and hence is attractive for corporates.
Experts also say that games can teach employees to work in a team and increase the camaraderie between them. This can help better team management skills and help employees identify each other’s strengths and weakness.
Speaking of the disadvantages and the challenges, experts say that one of the biggest challenges that this tool will see is the fact that it can never be considered to be a serious medium of training.
Gaming is seen as a recreational activity and in India learning is seen as serious business. The state of mind is to experience and have fun rather than learn. The success of any experiential learning exercise depends on the skill of the facilitator in relating the behavior during the experience to the day-to-day behavior. This is important to create awareness and bring about a change in behavior. This challenge will be more acute in case of gaming.
Gaming is essentially an individual experience (even if it involves playing against/with multiple players) and hence the scope for learning is restricted to self behavior. Gaming faces a few more challenges. The faculty should be well trained in using the gaming method and should know of ways to link the concepts /theories with the games; there rate chances of wear and tear too of the gaming instruments during its use and also, it can’t be conducted for all segments of employees, particularly senior management and the blue collared employees. One needs to keep on adding new games, thus replacing old ones in order to kill monotony.
While one may think that not many organizations use gaming as a tarining tool, it is not the case. Many organizations are now using this method. They have been experimenting with gaming as a tool for training and are already using this method in their organization across locations. They have introduced the concept of gaming as a learning tool in their organization. They are using the combination of games – indoor and outdoor. In indoor, PC based, card based, toy based, pen, pencil and paper based etc. While in outdoor, water games, ground games ropes balls etc are pursued. Some of the specific games that are being used are: strategy making games, war situation games, blind square rope game, building a great business, treasure hunts, ball in the basket, tent pitching etc.
Some are experimenting with this methodology. These are experimenting with this in order to motivate people into taking part in the learning process by making it fun. This is because learner motivation is a key challenge that all organizations face especially while implementing programs that require people to learn individually.
This method can help in the long term, as it will keep the motivation level of the employee high in terms of participating in the training program; it will help the employees in retaining the learning of training for a longer period; if the learning is retained than the employee can implement the learning at the workplace also. Overall, it will optimize the efficiency of the employee which will result into increase in work.