Author Archives: apollo

Game-Based Training

“Gamification” is one of those buzzwords that’s become ubiquitous in all kinds of educational, professional development, and marketing circles. And, frankly, it makes us twitch. It’s an unfortunately dangerous concept because it often ignores key design and learning principles and results in superficial “game-like” experiences that look more like jazzed-up quizzes, multiple-choice exercises, or checklists. We see a great deal of posts about “gamification in training,” so it was refreshing to read Julie Brink’s May 2012 TRAINING post, “Game-Based Training for the Corporate World.”

Brink touches on a variety of important ideas and the broader potentials of game-based learning that have emerged from thoughtful research over the past 15 years, including the important benefits of improving “problem-solving, creativity, risk assessment, and risk taking.” While companies strive to train employees around specific topics, products, and services, we have an opportunity and obligation to support employees in the 21st Century global economy by expanding what are often seen as “nice to have” and difficult to train intangible skills.

Brink references a statistic worth highlighting from the Electronic Software Association: “Fifty-five percent of gamers play games on their phones or handheld device.” This number has surely increased significantly over the past two years, presenting an interesting opportunity to leverage an installed base of technologies across large workforces. When thinking about game-based training, companies might consider programs that rely on “bring your own” implementation strategies. We’re seeing this trend in K-16 as administrators re-think their role in supplying technologies vs. changing policies around students using mobile phones and tablets in schools. The ubiquity and 24/7 availability of mobile technologies presents some exciting opportunities to create game-based training experiences that employees can access anywhere, anytime.