What Are The Benefits Of Serious Games For Employee Development?
Serious games have grown massively in popularity in the field of eLearning, replacing many traditional learning methods that employees were used to. Although not a cure-all, serious games can find many applications in a corporate training program and help employees acquire and develop a large variety of skills. But what makes them so good at that? In this article, we discuss 8 benefits of serious games that prove why they are such an effective and popular training tool.
8 Serious Games Advantages Your Corporate Training Program Needs
1. Increase Engagement
At this point, a large chunk of the workforce is made up of Generation X and millennials, while the number of Gen Z employees is steadily increasing. What the last two generations have in common is their love of games, especially in digital form. Therefore, utilizing serious games to provide them training, instead of documents and long presentations, is a dream come true for them. Although they aim more at learning rather than entertainment, serious games still manage to create immersive and interactive learning experiences that instantly capture learner attention and maintain their motivation until the end.
2. Provide Just-In-Time Support
An essential benefit of serious games is that they can offer employees instant access to information and guidance in moments of need. Serious games are designed to simulate real situations, which means that as learners navigate through the challenges of the game, they also gain valuable insights regarding problems they might encounter when interacting with a customer or colleague in real life. This on-demand support ensures that employees have the means necessary to quickly overcome challenges and solve problems. As a result, employees become more flexible and astute, which has a direct effect on their productivity and efficiency.
3. Promote Learning By Doing
In the previous point, we mentioned that the knowledge and insights employees discover in serious games can be directly applied in the real world. It’s important to highlight that what makes this knowledge transfer so natural is the fact that serious games invite employees to practice what they learn repeatedly and in a risk-free environment. And as we know, experiential learning is one of the most successful techniques to promote knowledge retention and implementation. The continuous process of trying out new ways to deal with in-game situations until you encounter the best solution develops the practical skills employees need on the job.
4. Create A Safe Learning Environment
A factor that often keeps learners from achieving their maximum potential is the fear of failing or making mistakes. However, in a game environment where making a mistake and starting over is just part of the process, employees can find a new sense of self-confidence. They can experiment, think outside the box, and try as many times as they need without being judged or rushed to get the correct answer. Additionally, learners find it easier to interact with others and speak their minds while playing, as all communications happen using avatars. Therefore, an essential benefit of serious games is that they increase confidence and boost critical thinking by offering an open and safe learning environment.
5. Increase Knowledge Retention
It’s common knowledge that training methods that only focus on knowledge acquisition and neglect retention are inefficient and wasteful. If employees need to keep receiving training on the same subjects, no innovation or progress can be achieved. Thankfully, serious games have proved very effective in helping learners retain knowledge for longer periods of time. We can attribute that to their design, which leverages immersive learning, storytelling, and gaming elements to captivate learner attention. Moreover, the fact that many serious games are simulations of real-world scenarios helps employees immediately transfer what they learn to their daily professional lives.
6. Provide Immediate Feedback
A factor that keeps employees engaged in the learning process is the ability to know their progress at all times. It lets them know how far they have come, as well as their strong and weak points. With traditional training methods, feedback comes through LMSs and discussions with the instructor or supervisor. With serious games, none of that is necessary. Employees get real-time feedback, which motivates them to keep going until they achieve the desired result. In addition, they feel in control of their learning journey and are more likely to dedicate more time to self-improvement.
7. Allow For Personalization
Another benefit we should mention is the various ways in which serious games can adapt to the needs and objectives of the learner. For one, the content available and the difficulty level can be adjusted to match the learner’s performance so that they don’t find the game too challenging or too boring. Another way is by offering customized learning paths that align with different learning goals. Each employee can follow their own learning journey and work on developing different skills compared to their team. Accommodating learning preferences is also a possibility, as serious games can leverage a variety of formats, such as visual, auditory, or kinesthetic.
8. Reduce Training-Related Costs
The unique model of acquiring knowledge and developing skills through serious games makes it a very cost-effective learning method. This may surprise you since the initial stages of serious game development require considerable resources. But before you scratch off the idea, consider the long-term benefits. Unlike traditional learning material, serious games can be reused numerous times without additional costs as long as they are well-designed in the first place. Not to mention, there are no printing, distribution, travel, or instructor-related expenses. Finally, scalability is not an issue either, as you can use the same serious games no matter how much your company grows in numbers.
Serious games have gained a significant spot in the field of corporate learning, and with good reason. Their unique ability to engage and motivate learners, promote knowledge retention and implementation, offer personalized learning, and reduce training costs makes them the perfect choice for any company that’s looking to invest in the learning and development of their workforce. Have the benefits we shared in this article convinced you that incorporating serious games into your online learning strategy is the right way to go?