Serious Games

How To Make Your Training Unique And Memorable

How To Make Your Training Unique And Memorable

Source: Kungfu Panda (The Movie)

Training is an integral part of employee development, but it is often frowned upon. Employees generally tend to find these sessions repetitive and boring. This negativity associated with training can be frustrating for both – the Trainer and the Trainee. So, what can be done to change this and make your employees look forward to your training sessions? Let’s find out!

1. Market Your Training

We live in an age where you need to market everything. Sadly, most trainers do not realize this. Therefore, it is necessary to build excitement around your training campaign so that people wait impatiently for the training day. Send out teaser emails using tools like Mailchimp to create hype around your session. These emails can also act as reminders for registration and RSVPs. You can go a step ahead and make this more interesting by launching a few video trailers before the training. Try Powtoon for this. It’s a wonderful tool which allows you to create marketing videos in a couple of minutes.

2. The First Impression

Start your training with a bang. Do not let your marketing efforts go waste by having a mediocre start to the session. Exploit the beginning of the session by doing something interesting to captivate your audience. It could be an inspirational video, an ice-breaker or a game. Keep trying out different things to sustain the excitement.

3. A Different Approach

Rather than going for the usual and mundane way of conducting training, use personal experiences or a storytelling approach to engage your audience. Building a story around the training topic will generate curiosity in the learner’s mind and personalize the overall experience. Know more: 4 tips to make elearning content better using a story telling approach

4. Gamify The Session

Gamification is a unique and sure-short way of making training sessions productive. It should be designed in such a way that the learning objectives are aligned with the game. Use simple techniques like Leaderboard or Rewards or Bonus points to encourage the learners. This will motivate your employees to perform better. Companies like Deloitte and Cognizant have been successfully implementing gamification for their training and development needs. Know more: 8 reasons to use serious games for training 

5. Make Your Courses Interactive

Since you will be using technology for your session, take care to use the correct interactive elements. Your learners should have fun during the session but ultimately the learning objective should be fulfilled. Integrate elements like push-buttons in assessments and voice-overs during the training. Try out tools like QuoDeck, Articulate Storyline, Powtoon, etc to make your courses interactive. Know more: Key elements of an interactive elearning course

6. Feedback and After-movie

Do not forget to take feedback post the session. Try to find out in what manner the training session helped out and if there are any recommendations for the future. You could even make an after-movie of the training session. After-movie is a trending concept used to market events, seminars, conferences, etc. It is basically a short video capturing moments from the start to the end of the training. You may add a couple of interviews from the audience in the end. It is a great way of showcasing the impact of the training and making people look forward to such sessions.

I guess that’s it! You have any more tips? Do share in the comments below!

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5 Key Benefits That Gamification Brings To Your Business

5 Key Benefits That Gamification Brings To Your Business

Gamification is no longer just a buzzword. It has found some real and interesting applications in the domains of learning, marketing, personality development, data analytics and so on. The right implementation of this concept can generate powerful results and do wonders for your business.

Here are the 5 key benefits that Gamification will bring to your business.

1. Making the mundane interesting

The game-based interactive elements add thrill and fun to the otherwise mundane processes. Whether the task is about conducting a survey or employee training, gamification makes the process more interesting as the knowledge is supplied non-intrusively, thereby yielding better results.

2. Sustainability

Using Gamification in your company is a strategy for sustainability. The games are re-playable and are built using real-life scenarios. They can be played again and again for performance improvement without incurring additional costs on the company.

3. Real-time analytics

A gamified campaign will allow you to target particular user groups of your interest and get real-time feedback. You can analyze the user behavior and draw inferences. Such feedback is a powerful contributor in designing your business’ future strategies.

4. Self-motivated work force

These games are built with features like leaderboard, award system, etc that reward the employees on their accomplishments. This keeps each employee self-motivated and self-aware about his/her performance.

5. High productivity and ROI

These games can be customized to align with your business objectives. Gamification’s unique features directly link the company’s objectives to the employee performance, thereby increasing the overall productivity. Any initial investment made to include game-based learning in your business is easily replenished along with a high ROI.

I guess that’s all! If you think of any more, please share with me!

8 Reasons To Use Serious Games For Training

Screenshot 2014-12-26 22.27.26

1. Highly Engaging
Serious games are very engaging and communicate in a fashion that is easily acceptable by the human mind. Use of elements like story, interesting characters, relevant settings, etc engage the user emotionally.

2. Safe Environment
Users learn to deal with real life-like situations in a safe and engaging environment. They can make mistakes and keep on practicing till they are well-trained, which in turn boosts their confidence.

3. Instructional Design Based
Serious games are always designed after conducting an instructional design study (the study of creating instructional experiences which make knowledge acquisition more efficient and effective). It foresees and tackles the possible roadblocks that might hinder the learning process.

4. Reusable & Cost-effective
Once designed, Serious Games can be used multiple times. You don’t need a facilitator or special sessions to use this. The cost for maintenance and updating a serious game is negligible given its extensive uses.

5. Easy to Understand
Serious games are great when it comes to delivering complicated knowledge. These games communicate complex pieces of information in a fun and engaging way.

6. Reporting & Analytics
Serious games allow you to capture the users’ data. This is one of the main advantages they have over offline or classroom training. These reports can be used later for optimising the training content.

7. Acts as a Booster
These games can boost any learning methodology i.e. These games provide a welcome break in between modules or learning schedules and engage the user by means of its gameplay.

8. Tried & Tested
Serious games ARE effective! Several Research Studies have acknowledged the fact that serious games do add on to the overall learning experience. These games have been used in different sectors like defense, retail, insurance, etc and have been found useful.

The 4 Success Mantras for Every L&D Professional

The 4 Mantras

1. An engaged learner is a battle half-won!
No one likes to learn when he is bored. In fact, people get bored when the learning content is mundane. Make sure your learning content is not dull. Use different techniques like Case Studies, Serious Games, Videos, etc to engage your learners.

2. Practice maketh a man perfect

(Really? You want an explanation for this!)

3. Keep it short and simple
A human brain is better equipped to process information when presented in small chunks. Divide your content accordingly for better consumption.

4. Tell the learners – ‘Why’
Give your learner a ‘reason’ to learn. Tell him how it will help him perform better or make his life better. It will motivate him to interact with the learning content.
If you come up with a 5th one, do let me know.
P.S.: Please feel free to use the infographic for any personal/ commercial purpose.

A Day in the Life of a Serious Game Developer

Image for article

If you are in the serious gaming industry, then probably, you would be familiar with this conversation.

(The conversation starts with me saying that I work with a serious gaming company)

The Other Guy: So, you develop games like Angry Birds? Which one have you developed?

Me (Exasperated already): No! We develop serious games. Not the fancy ones like Angry Birds or Candy Crush.

The Other Guy: Serious Games? What is it?

Me: These are games which are developed for purpose other than entertainment. These are games for training, research or marketing. In other words, these games are not just for fun, but for solving real world problems.

The Other Guy: Real world problems? Oh! Never heard about them. Seems like a new concept.

Me: Many think so, but it’s not. It’s been used since the 19th century, mostly for military or defence purpose. You know, Prussian forces used to have one called Kriegsspiel‘. But the buzz around serious games began once the digital scenario started booming. The term ‘Serious Game‘ was coined in 2001 and then it was adopted increasingly by different industries.

The Other Guy: Whoa! I had no clue. By the way, do these games work? I mean, after all these are just games!

Me: Well, you are right! These are just games. Only, they have a serious purpose. Serious games use entertainment and engagement to convey serious and strategic information or achieve communication objectives.

The Other Guy: I am not sure I understand it.

Me: Alright! So tell me, why is a game fun?

The Other Guy: Because … it is a fun activity which you play and try to win.

Me: There you go, my friend! In any game, you play to win. You make decisions or plan moves in order to win. Serious games work in a similar fashion, except, it delivers some kind of learning using the same mechanism. Amusement is secondary here, and yet it is the secret ingredient that makes serious games work. That’s the reason why we use games to teach our kids. Don’t you think? It makes boring stuff interesting!

The Other Guy: You have a point! Can you name any of these games?

Me: Yes, there are many out there! There’s this puzzle game called ‘Foldit’ which explains how protein folding happens in a human body. Even games like ‘Need for Speed’ can be termed as ‘Serious Games’ …

The Other Guy (Not letting me complete my sentence): Need for Speed? What does one learn from it? I have been playing that one for years!

Me (Now Frustrated): While playing the game, have you noticed advertisements for Porsche or any other racing cars?

The Other Guy: Yes! They’re always there!

Me: That’s the purpose. Need for Speed is an Advergame, a version of serious games, that is used for advertising brands. There are many out there! Even Movies come up with games for promotional purpose. Iron Man has done it. The Harry Potter game was a rage when it was released few years back.

The Other Guy: I remember that one!

This is how it starts and continues … But in most cases, at this point, either I am bored to continue or the other guy is!

So, have you ever had a conversation like this?

Serious Games, Now and Then …

ptotem

It’s time to go back to the future of Serious Games! Here are a few predictions, or rather guesses of mine on how serious games might redefine the e-learning scenario.

Going Mobile

Serious games are now being integrated with mobile learning platforms and this is really going to change the game! Workforces will perform better with learning on the go. And as gadgets evolve, so will learning. Another important development would be Augmented Reality (AR), which would find more avenues than ever.

Going Social

Serious games and Gamification have been the buzz words for quite some time now. They will go a step further. Apps and Software would be integrated with LMS, and game based learning will be seen across social media, mobile app stores, etc. Imagine, learning using Facebook or may be, on Facebook itself!

HTML5

HTML5 (few term it as the language of the future), much speculated over the past couple of years, has done quite well. We will now see it being embraced extensively, across the sectors. Content authoring tools (especially the cloud ones) would adopt HTML5 for better interactivity and media integration.

Increased Collaboration

Learning on the job, through social media and other informal environments is already an established practice now. But in the coming years, social media will become a tutoring space. Content which was earlier restricted within an LMS will now become easier to access. The number of platforms for elearning and serious games would increase, giving way to more and more collaborative efforts.

New and Enhanced Tools

Tools to create e-Learning platforms have been evolving fast. The advancement in technologies would encourage the development of better and efficient tools for critical tasks like designing graphics for serious games, making mobile learning effective, developing serious games, authoring on the go (cloud authoring), etc. Get ready. Lots of goodies are coming your way!

Developments in Design

Responsive design for e-learning platforms and tools was a recent breakthrough and more will be following up. Learning would become on the go bringing in ‘Just-in-time’ mode of learning as opposed to ‘Just-in-case’ mode. Also, better designing tools would pave the way for more advances in design.

Videos in Serious Games

Video lectures have been around for a while, but going ahead, interactive courses using video would be the order of the day. You will see small bits of content in video formats created and shared for easy content dissemination.

Analytics and Serious Games

E-learning would no longer be only about online learning or on the go learning. Analytics/ Reporting would emerge as a dominant aspect of any training activity. Reporting systems would be personalised based on the organisation’s requirement. Integrating the LMS with another systems like LDAP or Performance Management System will help the organization track an employee’s growth at a more structured and cohesive level.

Tin Can API

One of the major issues faced by today’s e-learning industry is how to merge offline and online learning experiences. Tin Can API (also known as Experience APIs), released last year as an e-learning software specification, allows learning content and learning systems to communicate with each other. This means that informal learning will be tracked extensively; once more and more tools, systems, platforms, vendors and institutions start supporting Tin Can. Apps will be able to make learning even more personal with Tin Can. A set of ideal practices will evolve in serious gaming so that different systems can work in together.

That’s all from my end! If you could think of any more, feel free to share with me!

7 Tips to Integrate Games into Your eLearning Course

Everyone loves to play! What if I tell you, that you can use games to teach complicated subjects like Compliance Training or processes like Account opening? Yes, these games for training or serious games, do create an engaging learning experience.

Let’s find out how you can integrate these serious games into your elearning courses.

1. Set learning objectives

Yes! Games are for fun! But everyone plays to win! Set your learning objectives beforehand to make sure your game stays in tune with the content.

2. Communicate desired outcomes

Inform the learners what they will gain from playing this game. This will motivate them to participate actively in it.

Screenshot 2014-12-11 16.29.32

3. Tell little, engage more

Do not give out all the details. Communicate what is required. Don’t reveal all the suspense. This will keep the learners engaged as well as won’t take out all the fun!

4. Create opportunity for application

eLearning allows one to learn in a safe environment. Create situations such that learned concepts can be applied. This will help in retention and create a favourable learning experience.

5. Keep it real and relevant

Keep all the descriptions and details like measurements, tools, techniques, spaces, etc., accurate. Virtual practice reduces room for real life mistakes.

6. Value content over gaming

Games make eLearning very interesting, no doubt there! And yet, if they distract your learner from the learning content, then it will fail your learning initiatives.

7. Get regular feedback

Feedback is the best way to know how well the game or module is. A quick quiz works best!

5 Simple Tricks to Engage the Learner

When it comes to e-learning, engaging the learner is the most vital component that would determine the success or failure of any learning platform. Retaining the learner’s attention is crucial and should be an incessant process because once you have lost the learner, then you have lost the learner.

While one can never run out of ideas to achieve a successful elearning platform, there are some factors which, if nothing else, would serve as a useful reference guide. Let’s find out about them.

1. Content Relevance

Keep the content focused and consistent. Not everyone intends to play scrabble with information. Content information should be tailor-made to suit the audience. Even if there is a minor disconnect, the learners would tend to dismiss or devalue the information. Generating enthusiasm amongst the learners will be achieved only if the content is seen to be directly related to the topic being covered.

2. Always Explain ‘Why’

It is extremely useful and encouraging to learners if they always understand fully why it is that they have been asked to complete a certain task. This takes one back to the relevance of the elearning content. Understanding ‘Why’ piques a learner’s interest in the material and assists him in understanding what they will achieve upon completion of the course.

3. Using the ‘Gauntlet’ approach

Everyone loves a challenge. Even as kids, we like to experiment, experience and solve. People like to find out answers themselves. They feel like they got to the answer by themselves and that they are more worthwhile.

If you provide someone with a challenge, you find a much more thoughtful and creative employee approach in the end.

4. Gamification

Game elements can complement the content information dissemination in a big way. Everyone loves to complete. People like to be seen to have participated and won. Rewards work as a great motivator. This enables them to break the inertial barriers and exert their potential even more. With a target oriented approach, one can make the learner to strive towards improvement. Gamification allows a learner to feel more informative, confident and above all, competitive.

5. Serious Gaming

Serious Gaming or games for training enables over 80% memory retention capabilities. Playing games seems and feels more like a pastime than a chore. Cleverly introducing serious gaming into the course content material could create an exponential increase in the engagement levels than static images, videos or other forms of reading content.

Serious gaming delivers a perfect combination of interaction, engagement and insights. They fit into any Instruction Design effectively. Even while playing a game, the learner is on an active learning path.

You could start with these tips, but remember – engagement is a continuous process. Keep experimenting!

P.S.: Check out our website (www.ptotem.com) for a few examples of serious games.