It is a no-brainer that games and simulations will dominate training in the future. Much as online learning was 20 years ago, we have the knowledge base of their effectiveness to engage the learners and enhance learning and retention. Like e-learning 20 years ago, we do not have an established set of best practices to follow nor a cost effective way to custom design a game to meet our learning needs and audience.
So where to start?
There is still no streamlined manner to design a learning game. This is surprising because it is very doable. It is a decision tree- single or multiplayer, competition or cooperation, ect. A nice model for how this process has been simplified can be found at The Knowledge Guru.
The Knowledge Guru is part of Bottom Line Performance, a learning solutions firm owned by Sharon Boller, who has 25+ years as an instructional designer. She says she is also a passionate gamer, thus this company that designs learning games.
They have developed two customizable learning games, Legend and Quest. Legend is a narrative based multiplayer, competitive game suitable for a single training event. Quest is an immersive, multi-level challenge game best used for multi-part training.
A great place to start is the resources link. The site shares game evaluation, case studies and webinars. The blog also has great information. And by sharing an email address you can download the game evaluation sheet at the bottom of this page. This sheet is helpful in learning to recognize the elements of a game and evaluate why you think it is fun and effective. This template has a model game analysis to help you get started.
I aim to use this template for the next game I play, to start to get my mind out of the game and around the parts of a game that make it effective.
I need to hurry up and learn this game stuff!
At a recent regional conference I heard from hundreds of training professionals who said their biggest problem was learning engagement and retention. Well games are a great solution for this. 5 years from now it will not be strange to hear about companies that use learning games in their training. And 10 years from now it will be normal to download the “gaming rules for the course” when you register and choose an avatar and scenario the first class.