Most of us hear “job training” and shudder at the thought of stuffy conference rooms, boring presentations and what might feel like an endless waste of time. Fortunately, training has come a long way in the last few decades. It is easier than ever to take advantage of those chances to learn new skills and become a better worker with eLearning, mobile apps and gamification.
If you are presented with the opportunity to learn through games that are interactive and even fun, don’t dismiss it as juvenile or a waste of time. When it comes to learning, games have been proven to work. Keep an open mind, invest energy into the material and you may be surprised what you get out of it.
Games as Tools
Since the early 2000s, games have been popping up in more serious corporate environments as a way to encourage learning and engagement. Research supports the claim that gamification gets workers more engaged in their learning and their jobs. In fact, Game-based learning is experiencing an annual growth of almost 30 percent; with U.S. sales expected to reach $7.5 Billion by 2025 (2020 Metaari report). From new-employee on-boarding to sales and product training and leadership development to cybersecurity, training games are being used to actively engage learners in a way that other forms of training are often challenged to do.
For a vast number of learners, game-based training makes a huge impact on their ability to quickly learn and retain information. The Game Agency, a Division of eLearning Brothers, recently released a study based on 2,500 training games and over 3.6 million game sessions played in The Training Arcade. As with other games, learners are highly motivated to play the games again and again to improve their score. According to this study 57% of learners played each game three or more times. Beyond repetition, on average players realized a 58% improvement in knowledge retention from the first to the third play session.
Laurie Socia, Senior Project Manager and Comcast Cable, said about using games for training at their organization, “Who thought learning could be so fun? The Training Arcade has transformed how we approach knowledge. Our employees find it fun and informative. It is the perfect platform to leverage in the virtual space and move from presenting information to confirming knowledge.”
Games undoubtedly improve learning, and they can be a valuable tool for you to gather new skills and prepare for new job roles.
Check Your Attitude
You can choose to view corporate training as a snoozefest, or as a stepping stone towards growth in your career. Thomas Edison famously said, “Most people miss Opportunity because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” A good attitude makes a big difference in how much you get out of gamified learning.
While you prepare for and participate in learning games, keep the objectives of the course in mind. Ask yourself, “What am I meant to learn from this? How will this help me succeed at work?” Focusing on the end goal will help you zero in on the information and skills you work to master. If you find yourself frustrated with the process, set smaller benchmarks for yourself, such as playing at least one game per day, completing a level or setting a high score. Achieving small goals gives you confidence and keeps you motivated for more success.
Games Can Work for Everyone
Older generations who didn’t grow up with computers or gaming consoles as part of their childhood experience may be more reluctant to embrace gamified learning.
It may interest those individuals to know that games can actually reduce stress, improve visual-spatial abilities, and boost problem-solving skills. Further, being involved in gamified learning as a group can have a positive impact on office culture and contribute to social bonding. There is nothing like a little healthy competition to get everyone talking and sharing experiences.
Improve Your Remote Working Experience
Many jobs are now either partially or exclusive off-site. This means that as a modern worker, you need to demonstrate your ability to successfully integrate with coworkers and listen to managers that you may never meet in person.
Getting involved in office games, whether for serious training or for social purposes, is a great way to show that you are a team-player. As you immerse yourself in a gaming experience, you may also inadvertently demonstrate your energy, motivation and tenacity, all skills that translate perfectly to a professional environment and career advancement.
Learn in a Low-Risk Environment
While learning by doing is often an effective technique, hands-on training is not always practical, safe or necessary. What could be a more sheltered way to learn than through playing games?
Game-based training has been effective in reducing shoplifting, helping bank employees spot fraud, allowing medical students to practice technique and more. Whatever your job function, there is a physical, emotional, legal or financial risk attached to it. Embracing games as a smart learning tool gives you a low-stakes way to make mistakes and improve without exposing yourself, your peers or your organization to harm.
Microlearning to Fit Your Schedule
One of the number one misgivings from workers about any training program is the time it takes away from already full schedules. It’s understandable––a workplace study by Deloitte found that 77% of employees have experienced burnout at their current job. It’s stressful to think about adding one more thing to your day.
That’s where microlearning–learning in small chunks instead of one long session––comes in. Most games only take a few minutes, so it’s something you can do while you wait for your next conference call to start. Try squeezing a game in between assignments or when your brain needs a break from mentally taxing tasks. Remember, playing learning games will help boost your productivity, build relationships, learn valuable skills and ultimately ease your anxiety, so the time spent will be well worth it. Of course employees should play employer sanctioned games while on company time.
Gamified learning isn’t going anywhere. If anything, it is ramping up. Understanding the benefits to you and your career will help you relax about training through games, maintain a positive attitude and work towards the next step in your career, all while having fun.