Benefits of Game-based Learning and Profiling
Since 2013 spending on organizational leadership training in the US alone has been consistently exceeding $2 billion annually. According to a study by Training Industry, Inc., companies that significantly invest in leadership training initiatives are two to three times more likely to include experiential learning as part of a blended learning solution. The genre business game and engagement go hand in hand.
Virtual environments lead the way in being most effective for delivering continuing professional education.
Whether you’re a training professional, a business consultant, an executive coach, a corporate decision-maker in HR, or a learning development specialist, odds are you’re always shopping for the most effective learning solution that is both engaging and provides an objective assessment of skills. This is where game-based learning and profiling through leadership simulation games can provide a real added value because their leadership development program combines a highly engaging video game learning experience with psychometric online game-based assessment.
Game-based learning is highly enjoyable and as a result very engaging, and when it involves real-life simulations it is also experiential and therefore very effective. Experiential learning is considered one of the most active forms of learning and provides the highest results in terms of retention of information, according to the learning pyramid. While passive forms of learning allow us to remember up to 50 percent of what we’ve read, heard or seen, active learning that involves doing and simulates real-life allows us to retain as much as 90 percent of the information we acquired through the experience.
A well-known formula used by training professionals, the 70:20:10 model, postulated that effective learning and development takes place 70 percent on-the-job, 20 percent from others, and 10 percent from formal education. But research done by the Conference Board and DDI (Development Dimensions Int’l, Inc.) showed that most leadership development programs actually have a breakdown that is 52 percent on-the-job, 27 percent from others, and 21 percent from formal education. Organizations are struggling to provide cost-effective and impactful formal learning and key barriers are making formal learning relevant and applicable.
Traditional leadership development formats rarely create an environment conducive to experiential learning, as it is often difficult to design test-fail-and-learn opportunities in the real world. When it comes to experimenting and innovation, the big business is likely to tell us that they “do not experiment on living souls.” This is where computer simulation can be an effective tool for training professionals.
Experiential learning is the process of learning through experience, and is more specifically defined as “learning through reflection on doing”. It makes learning an experience that moves beyond the classroom and strives to bring a more involved way of learning. Experiential learning is a powerful way to help people identify changes required to their skills, attitudes and behaviors, then implement those changes for better performance.
Simulations are about learning through experience, experimenting with solutions and testing one’s skills in a simulated reality where consequences of learning can’t impact business outcomes. Simulations are the most robust forms of game-based learning available today and consistently report the highest levels of engagement.
Why is Engagement Important
Engagement is a very important marker predictive of a lasting, impactful, and joyful learning experience. High levels of engagement lead to better retention, greater focus, and a more positive learning experience. To be completely engaged is to experience a state of mind where action and awareness merge. It is no coincidence that when we become one with what we do it leads to optimal performance, cognitive and physical.
What is engagement? A simple definition of engagement might be – the ability of an organization to engage the audience and create a long-term commitment. It goes beyond job satisfaction and is not simply motivation. Engagement is something the employee has to offer: it cannot be “required” as part of the employment contract.
The mental state of true engagement was first studied in depth by a Hungarian psychologist Professor Mihály Csíkszentmihályi. He discovered, in his years of research into creativity and productivity and interviews with people who were deemed successful in a wide range of professions and many of whom were Nobel Prize winners, that the secret to their optimal performance was their ability to enter the state of true engagement, also known as flow, frequently and deliberately. They would describe feeling a sense of competence and control, a loss of self-consciousness, and such intense absorption in the task at hand that they would lose track of time. Many of the most accomplished and creative people are at their peak would experience what they described as:
…a unified flowing from one moment to the next, in which we feel in control of our actions, and in which there is little distinction between self and environment; between stimulus and response; or between past, present, and future. – Csikszentmihalyi, 1990
The benefits of being deeply engaged are many, both for individuals and organizations alike. Some of the characteristics found in many fully engaged leaders, employees and students are amplified performance, greater creativity, more access to intuition, and ever-increasing ability to engage in deep learning. Game-based learning, fun and fast-paced, is known to be most engrossing and engaging.
Engagement as a Benefit of Game-based Learning
Video games are perfectly designed for producing engagement and Flow. Games are also a very effective teaching and learning tools, and online simulation games lead the way in serious gaming with their high level of sophistication, particularly when it comes to developing leadership skills, problem-solving, and strategic thinking.
Business simulation games combine games-based learning with experiential real-life simulations and are the most effective form of learning, second only to actual teaching. They represent a condensed experience of reality where progressively complex workplace assignments teach problem-solving, very much like on-the-job learning but in less time and without consequences.
The interactive and dynamic narrative pulls players into the story and keeps them engaged. They become increasingly present the more they are able to identify with the characters they’re playing in the game. Interactive movies are the most immersive genre of serious gaming because their puzzle-like nature requires active engagement. Engagement helps players to identify fully with the tasks of the business simulation. Interactive movies often involve simulation of real-world events or processes designed for the purpose of solving a problem.
Simulation is both an approach and a tool that makes controlled experiments possible. A good simulation requires a model that reflects reality, but in a simplified way. Simulation games offer experiential learning in a safe space. Unlimited opportunities for unrestricted experimentation in a choose-your-own-adventure environment bring on a degree of engagement that is closely matched to the level of perceived control. The combination of the freedom to experiment without consequences, the sense of control over the outcomes, clear rules for the player, and the immediacy of feedback create a reality so consuming that one’s consciousness becomes inseparable from the activity.
To be continued…
Business Game and Engagement – for Part 2 click here