Game based learning or GBL is gaining ground as an interactive way of learning, across a varied audience. It used to be a popular notion that only children or teenagers gain from game-based learning. But today, this notion is definitely changed, as many of us would candidly confess being more than a little interested in computer or mobile games. True, games are really fun, but the question to ponder on is how does ‘learning’ occur amidst all fun? In other words, we asked our fellow G-Cubians, are games a true medium of learning at the corporate level, or is it just a novelty of doing something different?
Pradeep Sharma reverts to it with a firm ‘Yes’. Games can indeed be a strong and innovative medium of imparting training at the corporate level. As developers, we are always looking for ways to make training more interactive and retaining the learners’ attention for long. Even if the audience is constituted predominantly by adult learners, it is possible to design games which cater to their sensibilities.
Game based learning has a huge benefit – that of changing the notion of ‘learning’ as a serious task. Yes, the objective has to be learning and the focus cannot waver from it. What games do is to dress it up in a way that is more appealing to the audience. A simple example, he suggests, is to address a group of learners by stating that the learning objective for them for the next two days is to learn the meaning of a set of words, and then use that knowledge to better their communication skills. This approach, may well be appropriate in imparting knowledge, it does not do much to boost the confidence of the learner to be able to implement that. In contrast, if the same set of learners is invited for a session of a word game, they will learn the same. But in addition, with a healthy competition with fellow learners, practicing practical usage and heightened confidence levels, they will be able to implement the knowledge better.
Arun Rao, too, agrees that games can definitely be a medium of learning in the corporate world. Citing the example of one of the first adopters of game-based learning, the Aviation industry – has seem immense success in training pilots and other air crew through sophisticated video games, which simulate the entire experience of flying an airplane. Similarly other industries can also benefit from bringing a simulated environment to its learner, where he or she can learn by experiencing life-like situations.
The real task, he feels, still lies with developers. In addition to technological expertise, while designing a training game for a role or function, one needs to closely interact with experts who understand that role or function best – and therefore provide the best inputs on their learning needs and how to meet them.
So while the worth of game based learning is cemented, we asked next, what are types of trainings that would benefit from game based learning? One could assume that game based learning would only benefit training for roles which involve developing motor skills, but that is far from the truth – says Arun. Within the constraints of time and expenses (and sometimes imagination!) one can design game based learning for many kinds of trainings, for new recruits, managers as well as CEOs and Directors. The utility of games is vast. Simulation games can be used for skills training. Character-based games can be used in a multitude of ways and can impart a myriad of trainings – from soft skills to product/process knowledge. An interesting suggestion by Pradeep, is a game which trains on the various tenets of Client Interaction. This will work especially well, if a senior team member plays the role of a ‘client’ and the learner can be ‘vendor-organization representative’. Not only will it improve relations, the inherent knowledge within the group within the group will be successfully shared.
Gaming is a huge industry in itself and the possibility of extending the scope of games from solely entertainment to useful learning tools is good news for all. Game based learning is not just a notion anymore, its practicalities and success has been witnessed by many learning institutions as well as corporate organizations. Technology, coupled with innovative thinking, is spearheading the concept of Game-based learning and we at G-Cube too believe in this new way of teaching and learning.