From our own experiences we all know that learning is more productive when we have fun and when we are properly engaged in the situation. This is why using games can be a really effective training aid. It can break down barriers, tensions and encourage people to be more open and receptive, not only to learning in a traditional way, but also learning from their colleagues.
Here are 3 ways to create effective learning using games.
- Make the games relevant. This is true of any learning and is no less relevant when using games. Games should be geared towards your audience and the industry within which they work. Try using real life scenarios as a basis for game-playing. One of the best learning experiences I have encountered was when I was working within the public sector with senior staff, from Chief Executives of local government to Chief Constables within the police. The facilitator set a scenario of a local city and outlined its issues and the budget available. Everyone attending had to assume a role within a different organisation and work together to solve the problems. It really encouraged people to think outside of their own remit and made them realise the problems which faced their peers in different organisations. It broke down political and organisational barriers and resulted in people working more closely together.
- Make sure you have games tailored to different personality types. Everyone learns in different ways – you might think that games which encourage everyone to be outspoken and be the centre of attention will help to break down inhibitions but this only works for certain people. Consider having smaller groups working together and in this way, encourage more introverted people within the group to have a voice in a way that feels comfortable for them.
- Don’t be afraid to make games competitive. This can be an excellent way to keep your learners engaged. In some sense, all games involve competition of some sort and in a learning environment, competition between teams can help to really focus people and embed the learning. Creating laughter and fun takes people away from their day-to-day environment and can not only help learning but also forging closer and more productive relationships with colleagues.
Using games within learning is something which is not only catching on within business learning but has also been a focus within education. There is a reason for this. It works! Learning doesn’t have to be difficult or dry and boring – it can be fun.
We all know what it’s like to sit in a training room for a day being lectured. After a few hours, it’s very easy to switch off. The same is true of online learning – staring at a computer and just reading or answering multiple choice isn’t exactly inspiring for anyone. Games can really help to keep our attention and ensure that the message truly gets through.