Thrilled about implementing the game based learning approach. But confused on how to implement it? Unlike a normal classroom training initiative, I recommend that the organization must promote the game based learning in the organisation.

If you are thinking about how to do it. Read the blog to know more. 

While we explore the ideas for promoting the game based learning approach, I thought it’s very important to know the factors that lead to an increase in demand for game-based learning. Analyst Predicts Global Game-Based Learning Industry to Hit $17 Billion by 2023. The catalyst towards the rise in demand for game-based learning is the following-
•The organizational resistance to Game-based Learning is fading fast
•The growing availability of easy-to-use development tools
•Innovation in Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR) etc
•An upsurge of new next-generation brain training games coming on the market based on  neuroscience, cognitive therapy, and biosensors
•The quick  rollouts of 4G and 5G networks and the Internet

While these are the most important catalysts for adopting game-based learning within an organisation, the way an organisation presents and promotes the game-based learning initiatives and solutions to their learners or employees will be extremely vital for their success. Especially when it is implemented for the first time or when the game based learning approach is less familiar to the learners, the role of L&D Managers becomes crucial.

Hence my first tip is –

1. Plan a big launch of game-based learning

Keep the learners thinking and waiting for the announcement of something big, Don’t reveal the surprise at the initial stages instead give them clues about what is upcoming? Send personalized mailers and invitation to the learners/employees to the implementation of the game based learning.

1.1 Explain how the game based learning approach works

Be careful at this stage and be prepared for the question- Why games for learning and what’s the role of employees in it?
If the organisation fails to convince the learners, the organisation may fail in promoting the game based learning among the target learners. Hence while you announce the launch and implementation of game based learning make sure that you clarify the advantages of game-based learning from the existing or previously used learning strategies of the organisation and explain the role of the employees in it.
The organization should answer the learner question of  
 ‘What is in it for me’. I  also recommend the organisation to ensure that learners are aware that the primary objective of game-based learning is simply learning and not fun alone

2.Induce Competition

Human brains are wired to enjoy the competition, the thrill of achieving the rewards, challenges tasks, and set milestones allow the organization to add the element of competition to promote the game based learning in an organisation. For example, including a leaderboard that is made visible to all the learners. Make sure that you link the leaderboard positions with the rewards earned or milestones achieved by the individual learners. There are many organizations who even groups the learners according to the department and functions where one entire department competes with the other.

3. Identify and encourage the  advocates for game-based learning

When the employees are totally new to the game based learning strategy, the organization can choose a group among the target learners who can act as advocates for game-based learning. Make sure that these groups are well aware of game-based learning approach and can guide the other peer learners. To achieve this the organisation is required to train these chosen group first by allowing them to experience the game based training approach.

It is natural for we humans to seek help and we find it best and easy when we have a familiar human face who can be approached for any clarifications or help about the game based learning approach. These group can be classified as the Socialisers among your learning group(According to Bartle Taxonomy of players)

4.Reward the learners

Rewards, be it small or big, it matters in game-based learning approach. The use of rewards and the thought of earning them enables the learners to repeat the process that can enable the learners to win the reward again. It is very important for the employees/learners to know that their efforts in learning is not wasted and will be rewarded
The organization can use rewards for the corrective actions of the learners when the set milestones or challenges are achieved. Also, make the learners able to share their achievement across different social media websites etc. By displaying the badges, achievements etc, the organisation is able to promote the peer learner to do the same.  If the organization is implementing game-based learning for the first time, the organisation can include extrinsic rewards like coupons, vouchers, and gifts etc.

For a leading manufacturing firm, we developed a game based learning for good environmental practices, (part of their CSR activity) where the learner has to look after his plantation and make sure that he receives a good harvest. Water the plant regularly, feed them the necessary fertilizers, which are short in availability and you need to purchase it. The learner receives the point when he answers the questions correctly and for completing the set milestones and challenges.

4.1 Surprise rewards

Apart from the regular rewards, the organization can also include the element of surprise rewards. In the above example, we included surprise elements like Super Crop that grows very quickly and gives double the harvest and the learner could find treasure from his land as another element surprise reward

5. Keep the rules simple

Finally, it is a game and necessarily it should have the rules that define and explains the gameplay. But to promote game-based learning within an organisation,  ensure that the rules are not very complex for the learners especially for the first timers to understand. I recommend developing tutorials and instructions at every stage so that the learners are guided across the game based e-learning.

6.Options to personalize learning

While implementing game-based learning within the organisation, the organisation can try and include the element of personalisation. For example, before the start of the game, the learners are able to insert their name and choose a character they prefer(from a set of the available option). Such small personalization allows the organisation to ensure a sticky learning experience and the learner starts enjoying and talking more about the e-learning game, thus promoting it within the organisation.

7. Keep the momentum alive

After implementing game-based e-learning, there are chances that the learners might lose the steam and momentum in learning. To keep the employees/ learners aligned with the organisation strategy of GBL(Game-based Learning), the organisation can send the daily, weekly and monthly summary of the learners’ journey via email. Update the learners with the achieved objectives and what remains to be achieved etc. The organization can even use forums, discussion groups or use the new social media chat apps like Whatsapp etc to encourage a constant discussion among the learners to keep the momentum alive.