In my previous blog, I have shared a few tips to create a serious game in corporate e-learning. In continuation of the post, I am sharing 5 advantages of using serious games in corporate e-learning.

What are serious games?

A serious game or applied game
is a game designed for a primary purpose other than pure entertainment.

Here are the 5 advantages of using serious games in corporate training.

1.Motivates and engages the learner

‘Sometimes I wish that motivation was sold in a bottle”. I remember these words of a senior L&D manager of a manufacturing company who said that training the workforce was an uphill task as the motivation among the employees to attend the classroom training was declining alarmingly.
If you are from L&D, I am sure that you can relate to it better. Lack of motivation among the learners remains as one of the biggest challenges for an organisation in training their workforce.

But things are changing, thanks to the arrival of new learning technologies or strategies like serious games where the learners are motivated to learn by playing.
The serious game when included as a part of your learning strategy can do real wonders. For example, the challenges in your e-learning serious games, the thought of earning the rewards i.e knowing their right actions and efforts will be rewarded etc can motivate the learner.

If you have played the popular game of Angry Birds, the game included several rounds or levels of continuous challenges. Hit the target right, the game awarded the learners with point and other virtual collectibles. Failing the attempt never made you to leave the game. Instead, you came again with a different strategy to try and win this time. These principles, when included in a serious game, is sure to motivate the learners.

With the increasing cyber attacks, we had developed an e-learning serious game to create awareness among the learners about the importance of maintaining Cybersecurity hygiene.  The serious game developed for a leading corporate investment bank throws the challenge of ensuring the cybersecurity hygiene at his/her virtual personal desk.
The learner can choose a favorite character whose day starts with the employee logging into the e-learning serious game. There are plenty of scenarios where the learner needs to ensure that he is not falling into the trap of a cyber breach. For example, the first level of the game shows a malicious email. The learner(the employee) need to defend his virtual self from the cyber breach by identifying the mail as spam or malicious and then flagging it. The game was an instant hit as it had an increasing level of challenges, rewards and the virtual self-character used in the serious game further motivated the learner to attend the course.

2. Hooks your learners emotionally

When implementing the e-learning serious games, I recommend that the game is able to establish an emotional connect with the learners. In the above example of a serious game developed on cybersecurity hygiene, the game became an instant hit as it could successfully connect emotionally with the learners. The “virtual self-character” could connect with the learners well and hence the learner took caution for the character to not to make any mistakes or cyber breach.  Further, the serious game also allowed personalizing the character by entering the name and issuing the ID card with the same name. Such small tweaks helped the serious game to connect emotional well with the learners.

3. Promotes knowledge sharing among the learners

How do you feel in seeing your employee discussing the newly launched serious game? Informal discussions between the peer learners/players, forming strategies and discussing how to pass the levels etc and achieve the objectives. Such discussions are welcome in a corporate learning strategy as it promotes the sharing of knowledge among the learners.
The learner engages in talking to other learners and shares his/ her knowledge and thought. The organization can promote this further by including forums and discussion groups where the employees can interact freely. The socializers among your target audience will take the lead of such initiatives and contributes to a successful learning environment.

4. Builds problem-solving skills in learners

The use of serious game can help the learners to build the problem-solving skill in them. The serious game can help the learners to visualize and engage throughout the gameplay. Inspired by the theme of FarmVille, we developed a serious e-learning game to reduce the wastage of resources in the factory. The game shows a production floor where the learner has to allocate the resources in the right manner to the various production centers. Wastage in the resource reduces the points and lowers the rank of the learner on the leader board. The game puts the learner to situations where the learner has to decide on the order quantity, plan the budgets, decide the priorities etc.
This serious game developed on the theme of FarmVille helps the learners to build problem-solving skills among them. Also as the learner learns through the virtual environment, it removes the fear of “What if I am wrong”  and helps in learning without the fear of making mistakes.

5. Improves employee performance

Serious games allow learners to improve their performance behavior and are critical to the long term learning curve of the organization.

A year before for a leading retail firm, we developed a serious game on the topic ‘warehouse management’. The game was used as a part of an assessment. During the gameplay, the learner is required to lift the goods and place them properly on the shelves of the warehouse. (The learner operates a forklift machine).The goods are coded with a particular series of number and the learner has to use his knowledge and understanding of the codes and place the goods accordingly on the right shelf. Under one minute, the learner must identify the code and arrange the goods. The serious game becomes challenging as the learner should understand the warehouse layout to reach the shelf before time. Failing in achieving the tasks allowed me to explore and identify what went wrong and rectify it in the next try or attempt. Thus the repeated attempts allowed me to understand my mistakes and finally master the learning process

These are 5 popular handpicked advantages of using serious games in e-learning. Feel free to share your comments and suggestions using the comment box below.