eLearning Inspired by Game Design

As you've trained employees on job-related skills, you've probably encountered a couple of outcomes: Some may get bored and zone out, others could appear interested and then fail to integrate their new knowledge into their performance, and a few could leave the training and excel at work. Ideally, you want most (if not all) of your employees to find the path to a solid learning experience. How do you achieve that outcome? Studies suggest a number of methods, though the one you choose comes down to your company's needs.

According to a study published in Sage journals, interaction is one of the key factors in developing good learning outcomes when using digital tools. It just so happens that video games are a very interactive platform, and they hold some clues for designing a training program that keeps your employees engaged and uses modern eLearning courseware tools.

The same strategies that make video games fun could help you teach your employees.

Covert guidance

Many video games are designed to teach players a skill set they'll use later in the story. For instance, a player might have to fight a low-level monster with certain skills. Defeating that monster teaches the player a strategy for beating that monster, even if the process doesn't feel like an education. Later in the level, the player may encounter a boss monster with similar skills. The player already knows how to defeat it thanks to the smaller obstacles he or she faced. While the boss is more challenging than the low-level monster, knowledge of the tools needed for winning are what matter.

Breaking this down, the strategy of teaching players is easy to apply to eLearning. You'll need a couple of things: example problems and real-life scenarios. Look for eLearning videos that teach a certain skill and offer examples. For instance, the video might display something like "What Susan should do if she's dealing with a tough client." The video will give employees an example of what to do, providing them with the skills they needs to handle the situation in real life (facing tough clients can be akin to fighting a boss in a game).

Achievement as motivation

When you accomplish something, your brain releases dopamine, a feel-good chemical. This is called reward, and it's a feeling your brain wants to experience again. So, your mind analyzes how to obtain the reward and yearns to go through the steps that brought it that satisfaction. Games make use of this system by adding achievements. For instance, you might get points for completing a goal.

Your eLearning program can use reward to inspire employees too. Consider giving some form of recognition for finishing training videos. The sense of reward could help motivate employees to watch more videos.

Using game mechanics to develop an integrative and engaging training program requires eLearning courseware. You can get a free trial of Thinkzoom to see what those videos could be like.

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