There’s a buzz building around serious games and for good reason. They can help you engage, inspire, and motivate your people, even if they work remotely and have negative preconceptions about online training. What is a serious game and how can you apply it in your L&D program? What is the reason why they are such a powerful tool for behavioural change and positive reinforcement? Let’s explore the world of serious games.
Serious gaming experiences must meet a few requirements. First and foremost, they’re geared more toward professional development than entertainment. That said, fun is still a major factor to consider. “Enemies” are replaced by on-the-job challenges, like difficult customers, conflicts between colleagues and complex tasks.
Serious game development is ideal for performance management and support because it provides discreet feedback. Employees can identify personal areas for improvement as they progress through the game. They also have the chance to spot negative habits or limiting beliefs that are holding them back in the workplace. Such as racing through the task, only to realize that they’ve made crucial errors in the process.
One of the most convincing reasons to use successful serious games in your strategy is to encourage practical application. Employees get hands-on experience remotely. But they’re also able to test different approaches in a risk-free setting. For instance, try conflict resolution techniques to appease the unhappy customer. Serious gaming even lets them master new work equipment and software so that they can troubleshoot issues on the job.
Effective serious games are all about making mistakes and learning from them.
Employees can take calculated risks that may not pay off. But they still get something from the experience. They can evaluate their own performance and see where they went wrong and how to improve.
There’s actually a science behind online training games that makes them popular for employee development. It’s all based on our human characteristics. Most of us seize every opportunity to immerse ourselves in fantastical worlds and battle it out with other players. Games give us the chance to escape the real world for a while and test our courage. While serious gaming might be based in reality, it still triggers human traits. This makes it a powerful tool for professional development. Which game elements trigger human habits?
Serious games aren’t the answer to everything. However, serious game development is often a cost-effective strategy for remote talent development. Employees expect to see PDF manuals and long presentations when they log into the LMS. Successful serious games catch them off guard and prompt them to actively participate. They engage in online training because games are immersive, interactive and entertaining, even if they cover dull compliance topics. They are more likely to complete the activity and bridge emerging gaps because it’s an online training in disguise.
Serious training games bring hidden gaps out into the open. But they also help target common performance issues based on the employee’s role or department. For instance, your sales employees have trouble closing the deal. You trace it back to ineffective persuasion, negotiation skills and lack of product know-how. Thus, you can use serious gaming experiences to focus on these pain points autonomously.
A major home-working setback is distractions. Employees need to focus on the task and get the job done, but external forces pull them away. The same goes for their online training. Fortunately, successful serious games encourage them to let everything else fade away and concentrate on the in-game scenario. They can absorb the information more effectively because it’s a multi-sensory experience, from the tactile game controls to the immersive visuals and sounds.
Since the applications are different, you can also expect to achieve different outcomes. Successful serious games are great catalysts for change. Employees play the game and discover hidden pain points or test new approaches. But gamification is often a long-term strategy that keeps employees on the right track as well as highlights emerging performance issues they need to address to improve workplace proficiency.
Successful serious games in online training raise the bar when it comes to employee engagement and motivation. They can even help you reduce employee turnover and boost knowledge retention. But only if you include all the right ingredients and consider the psychological factors involved.