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Game-Based Learning: When It's a Worthy Investment

by Karlea McCoy

December 14, 2016


by Karlea McCoy

December 14, 2016

“Ultimately, determining when to invest in game-based learning comes down to the anticipated return on investment. Use these four conditions to filter your training topics, then discuss the top contenders with stakeholders. Once a decision is made, ensure the team assigns the time, personnel, and budget needed to develop effective training games.”

As the acceptance and adoption of game-based learning expands, a common question is, “When should I use it?” The simple answer is, “Always!” Game-based learning facilitates a deeper understanding than traditional eLearning courses. It is not confined by the content, audience, or delivery platform. Designers can offer gamified training and serious games anywhere for any topic!  

But while it is possible to create an incredible game for every online training event, it is not always feasible. Game development takes longer, requires greater involvement of stakeholders, and costs more than slide-based eLearning. This reality forces most learning and development teams to choose which topics or learning objectives are worth the investment in game-based training.

To start the decision-making process, compile a list of all the training your organization intends to produce. Then, measure the items on your list against these four conditions.

1. Procedures requiring practice

Game-based training allows learners to practice new skills. For instance, imagine a sales associate is required to ask customers for an email address before ringing up their order on the register. This is a relatively simple task that could be easily forgotten. Therefore, practicing the procedure in context would be valuable.

You could create a game where the learner must help a long line of customers at the register. Learners race against colleagues to see who can ring up orders the fastest, and earn points for each accurate transaction. Among the many tasks involved in the scenario, the learner must remember to ask for an email address at the appropriate time.

Not all training pertains to skills that need practice, such as the company’s dress code policy. You could develop a game where the learner puts the appropriate clothing items on an avatar, attaches their name tag in the proper place, and so on. However, investing in this game may be senseless because retail employees do not need rehearsal to get dressed

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