Learn or Play: It’s all in the game

Online games, multi-player games, educational online games, games in your e-learning program – games are everywhere….and in the classrooms too.

There is no trainer today, who will not use a training game in a session he or she delivers, no matter how short! Maybe the trainer will build his team with a game, or he might teach a selling skill with his game! But games have become an essential part of an effective training program.

Games bring fun to learning, and take away from the monotony of having to sit in a classroom, long after you have finished schooling.

Training games are of several types, which range from simulation to simple passing the parcel game. To make the game an effective learning tool, the trainer needs to tie it in with the central theme of his training session.

“It is not enough for me to pass on the ‘Chinese whisper’; I need to know how it relates to what I came here to learn. Will this game therefore stay with me, when I talk to the customer? Will I remember what I learnt from the game, when I talk about my product?

Or will I remember the five essential rules of communication, which I saw on the slide?

More likely, I will remember the game.  Why? It’s simple really.

I played it. I participated in it. I experienced it. I did not just read about it or hear about it. I took part in that training game.”

Games are the best form of experiential learning, promoting retention and recall at all levels. A business simulation, for example, would be the better way to enhance performance in your organization, as compared to say a boring 40 slide presentation, which tells you about key performance indicators.

To sum up, some of the most successful learning games include the following pointers:

1. They have an element of competition

2. There are some limitations or rules

3. There is  a visible outcome or a goal

4. Most importantly, there is a take-away or give you something of value, be it a reward or a learning nugget.

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