Learner engagement in corporate training is among the biggest issues learning and development (L&D) professionals face today. Proper learner engagement has favorable outcomes in terms of learning, retention and participation. When training professionals use game-based learning, they use concepts from games to enhance learning outcomes.
Today’s workforce is surrounded by technology. They are no strangers to the digital world, which makes even more sense when it comes to introducing digital games to boost their learning and engagement.
The effectiveness of game-based learning is not limited to online spaces. Even in a physical setup, digital games can foster an increased learner engagement rate. The idea is to maintain a balance between curiosity and boredom. An effective way to solve the issues raised by changing learner needs and the impact of technology is to turn to digital game-based learning.
What Are the Benefits of Digital Game-based Learning for Learner Engagement?
Today’s workforce consists of many millennials and Gen Z-ers, who value training, but their learning preferences vary somewhat from generations past. They prefer self-paced learning as well as on-demand, chunked content, and they enjoy rewards and regular feedback. It’s also important that they enjoy the work they do. These preferences can be met by digital game-based learning techniques.
Digital games as tools to boost learner engagement in professional spaces have the following benefits:
- Digital game-based teaching has been proven to have a more effective retention capacity than traditional methods of instruction. Since this approach focuses on “practice by doing,” learners are likely to retain more from what they have learned, compared to other modes of teaching. Better retention translates into better performance.
- Digital game-based teaching calls for advanced logical thinking in terms of solving problems. People are more likely to stick with a problem and solve it if they are in a game setup. Furthermore, it also brings to light different perspectives that can be undertaken to solve one problem.
- Game-based learning can be used to create personalized learning plans based on job title, location, employee interests and other relevant factors that lead to higher learning outcomes since the learner gets access to very specific and relevant instruction.
- Games naturally factor in the competitive nature of human psychology, which acts as an incentive for better learning and increased engagement. Challenging learners with activities will foster a spirit of healthy competition, which ultimately adds a meaningful narrative to the learning experience.
- At times, learners can get burned out with information overload. A game-based learning environment combats this by allowing learners to go at their own pace and revisit material as needed.
How Can Game-Based Learning Be Implemented?
Game-based learning is an effective, engaging way to update L&D training methods. Training professionals must be aware of the strategies that can help this approach boost learner engagement. These strategies can be implemented in the following areas:
Due to the pandemic and the resulting dispersed workforce, eLearning has become one of the most extensively used training methods. This is particularly useful for remote employees who cannot attend in-person training. This allows learners to access content according to their personal preferences.
E-courses can adopt various elements of digital games, such as interactive quizzes and activities which will keep learners engaged and improve knowledge retention. Moreover, with mobile training apps, it gives employees the option to learn on the go. Learning management systems (LMSs) also help compute data to calculate the return on training investment.
In this way, employees can perform tasks that mimic the functions of their actual responsibilities. Simulation training lays down various scenarios which can also test the employees’ ability to perform high-risk tasks. Simulation training is an important part of compliance training across various industries.
This helps in building skills such as critical thinking under pressure and understanding the consequences of certain actions, which can minimize the margin of error. It also allows learners to learn from their shortcomings.
Microlearning and Video-based Training
Small, short lessons can be used on the go, to help learners achieve smaller goals in lesser time. Combined with the idea of spaced learning, this helps learners overcome the effects of the forgetting curve through periodic review and reinforcement of the previously learned instruction.
This learning strategy is very appealing to the newer generation of learners. When combined with video-based training, the instruction as a whole feels like it is a part of a game and not a course. This is especially suited for leadership development and sales growth training. Moreover, video-based learning leads to better retention and engagement in comparison to traditional seminars. It also gives employees the flexibility to learn as per their schedules, thus, not affecting their workplace productivity.
A Reward System
Rewards such as points and badges can instill a sense of confidence and competitiveness. This kind of training motivates learners and makes them more willing to take on repetitive tasks irrespective of the chance of failure. It can make them more willing to complete a set of goals and targets, which helps in achieving the training objectives.
Such a rewards system helps improve engagement since the learners know they will get tangible returns in exchange for good performance. For example, trainers can encourage learners to gamify productivity using the Pomodoro technique, and reward themselves with a short break after each focused work period.
The new generations of learners prefers self-directed learning, but they also crave constant feedback on their performance. They like to view their performance metrics against their respective key progress indicators (KPIs) in a personalized fashion. This can also show how well they are performing in comparison to other employees. Continuous and rapid feedback allows them to observe the gaps in their performance and gives them the incentive to rectify these gaps.
Collaborative and Peer-to-peer Learning
Learners often perform better when they are in teams since there will be a healthy exchange of ideas and opinions. Moreover, this will boost social engagement and foster better relationships among them. Neal Taparia, co-founder of the gaming platform Cribbage, says “The relationships that employees forge between each other not only lead to friendships, but can also help them achieve better results thanks to teamwork and improved communication.”
Peer-to-peer learning involves learners of the same level engaging in collaborative learning. This encourages collaboration, connectivity and increases employee engagement and productivity. Moreover, it promotes a culture of knowledge sharing within the organization.
Any new training program begs the question: how good (or bad) will the return on investment (ROI) be? Due to better learning experiences and higher retention rates (among other benefits), a game-based learning style promotes considerable gains for the organization as a whole.
Training professionals can readily incorporate game-based strategies into their lessons to improve learner engagement, performance and knowledge retention. Its implementation calls for the right approach, tools and mindset to achieve the best outcomes.