How Do You Use Yours?

With Easter nearly upon us and the obligatory crème egg adverts filling our TV screens and billboards everywhere, asking us how ‘do you eat yours?’ we thought this would be a great opportunity to discuss (in the context of serious games at least) How Do You Use Yours?

After writing a recent chapter relating to the use of educational games and how they have been used in classrooms across the UK, we got thinking about the many ways that games can be and are being used for training and learning.

Everyday it seems we hear about a new approach where an innovative trainer or teacher has embraced serious games and really made it there own. However, training is often divided into distinct silos, such as classroom, self study, or blended and within these areas it must be clear how a new training application will sit.

So how do serious games fit into all this? Where can they be used?

When designing serious games, one of the first requirements we try to understand is how the application will be used, how users will access the course and what kind of environment will they be learning in. Whether the application is to be used as a standalone tool (when there is no requirement for facilitation or trainer involvement) or in blended learning (when the serious game is combined with other training interventions). This is crucial information which has implications on the design chosen and product surround.

Below are a few examples of how our specific business simulations have been used.

In The Classroom
Our audit training application (developed for a ‘big 4 ‘accountancy firm in the US) was used as part of a 6 week new hires induction course. The application was combined with intensive classroom based activities and discussions. Users divided their time equally between the application and classroom discussions. Thus provided learners with the opportunity to discuss an action, try it out, and then come back together to discuss the outcomes and common mistakes.

As A Standalone Application
‘IT Security’ was developed for HP MEA-I and designed to be used in a training centre environment or home environment. As a single player solution it doesn’t require any classroom based interventions and therefore it has been integrated into MEA-I’s Knowledge City for all to enjoy. Because this was an individual activity, all feedback had to be contained within the application itself. Generally standalone applications allow the learner to explore the environment, but also catch the learner if they make a mistake. This safety net ensures that they do not learn and reinforce bad habits. Design features such as in game mentors are realistic and enable tasks to be easily understood. Scoring and progress mechanics are also implemented ensuring users do not get ‘lost in the game’.

To Raise Awareness
Serious games can also be used to raise awareness of a new campaign, or process within an organisation. PIXELearning created a web-based, rich media, high-level process simulation for a global oil company, based on their Sales to Customers, Lubricant Supply Chain and Product Lifecycle Management processes. The goal of this business solution was to reinforce internal understanding of new streamlined business processes in preparation for their global SAP rollout. Users of the application could ‘play through’ the process end to end, to understand not only their position in the supply chain but also the surrounding activities and personnel involved.

‘Viral games’ can be a great way to raise awareness. PIXELearning created several viral games aimed at improving communications with Coca Cola UK’s B2B business partners. This lead to significant additional traffic to the www.cokepubandbar.co.uk web site.

We are really interested to hear about how you are using serious games in your organisation or school, or where you would like to use them!

So the question remains…How do you use yours?

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