The primary goal of video games is to help us relax and unwind after a long and stressful day. Millions of people across the world play millions of different video games on their computers and mobile devices to catch a break and blow off some steam. There are countless game categories in the industry, and all of them serve the purpose of entertainment.
However, that’s not necessarily what video games are all about. They can also be a lot more than just entertainment.
Definition of Serious Games and Game-Based Learning
Serious games are special video games designed to offer more than just pure fun. They’re about changing the behaviors or attitudes of the player, teaching them and expanding their understanding and knowledge on a wide range of subjects. While regular games are played for reducing stress and boredom and the rewarding gameplay, the point of serious games is to understand the message of the game.
These serious games are often used by schools, universities, businesses, and corporations for game-based learning, or the process of gaining knowledge through playing games.
Benefits of Game-Based Learning
It is obvious that learning through a video game as opposed to learning from a textbook or by watching a training video is infinitely more dynamic and enjoyable. Serious games and game-based learning have a huge impact on modern life and dramatically increase the player’s motivation and engagement with the material.
Here are some of the most important benefits of digital game-based learning:
- Improved cognitive functions
- Increased digital literacy
- Enhanced decision-making
- Improved problem-solving skills, including critical thinking
- Improved collaboration and communication skills
- Increase in self-esteem and independency
- Learning through experience
- High sense of achievement of the player/student
- Feedback-driven learning
Given all of that, it is no wonder that companies all over the world are looking into introducing serious games to their training programs.
Specific Skill Training through Game-Based Learning
There are two types of skills a serious game may help develop: soft skills and hard skills.
Hard skills include technical or administrative procedures that are valuable to the way the company operates. They are relatively easy to learn because these skills tend to be new to the player/learner (depending on their experience) and are difficult to unlearn. Hard skills are easy to measure and quantify and easy to test. A person either knows how to do something, or they don’t.
Soft skills are the tricky part. They include skills that can be used in any number of jobs and disciplines, such as emotional intelligence, creativity, collaboration skills, negotiation skills, and more. They’re not so easy to observe or test and are a lot more difficult to train.
This is where serious games excel.
While corporate businesses have more than enough reliable methods of training their employees in hard skills, game-based learning is one of the few truly effective techniques in improving someone’s soft skills.
Implementing Serious Games in Corporate Training
If you are curious about bringing game-based learning into your company, know that it can be a lengthy process. There are things to consider when deciding on what type of serious games to include and how to make the most out of them.
Here are four key aspects your games should have to deliver the right results:
Balance between gameplay and learning
The game can’t cause the learner to lose focus or somehow distract them. It also can’t skim over the learning material. There should be a nice balance between fun and education to keep the learner motivated and engaged.
The feedback the learner receives in the game is important for their progress. With a wide range of hints, instructions, badges, and encouragement, the game can easily guide the learner through what they need to accomplish (and ultimately learn).
Without risking it getting too out of hand, some friendly competition between employees is known to provide more fun and better results in a training session. Consider including leaderboards in your serious games.
New game challenges
Finally, don’t let the game get too boring. The whole point here is to learn through entertainment. Once your employees complete their first levels, offer them more challenges that will make them work harder and learn faster through it all.