Gamification: Teaching Work Skills via Computer Games

In recent years the computer game industry has changed some what. The increasing power of computer hardware and detail of both the story and the visuals has put some titles on a level with a Hollywood film – with budgets to match.

Equally, the mobility and connectivity of smart devices has triggered the development of other types of games that focus less on impressive visuals and more on collaboration and networking.

A 2013 study by Uswitch suggested most UK children get a mobile phone by the time they are 12 years old, with One in Ten having a phone by the age of 5. Our attitudes to technology have changed hugely, and these attitudes are joining the workforce.*

So what can employers learn from computer games and how can it be harnessed to drive improvement at work?

Minecraft – Build & Create
The block building game Minecraft created such a buzz that in 2014 it was purchased by tech giant Microsoft.

The game is set in a virtual landscape using blocks to build and rebuild different structures – giving the player complete freedom and creativity.

While the concept is basic, there are inherent real world features that mean children are learning even as they play. One of the most striking in my experience as the knowledge of different trees and woods that is carried out of the game and in to the garden and streets my children walk around.

YouTube – See and Learn
The addictiveness of Minecraft is to build bigger a better structures to show your friends, but sometimes you need inspiration. Thats where children are turning to video sharing website YouTube.

Minecrafters have set up YouTube channels with the specific aim of walking people through the construction of anything from a house to a fire engine, just like the instructions in your Lego box. Other gamers have done the same, providing hours and hours of free content and learning.

PokemonGo – Explore with Augmented Reality
A more recent ‘craze’, PokemonGo has reached out to those teens with their mobile phones and created a game based on Google Maps that requires them to leave the house and explore their local area.

Perhaps the most significant cultural change this brings is the widespread adoption of a crude version of Augmented Reality (AR), where users experience a digital overlay on top of the real world they see through their mobile devices. While in its infancy, this is certain to appear in many other areas of day-to-day life.

How this is Informing Training & Awareness

With these new and innovative ways our children are learning and experiencing the world, without really knowing it, the days of death-by-powerpoint should be near an end in most companies.

The use of learning management systems (LMS) teamed with good content provides an opportunity to incorporate the mundane corporate agenda in to the immersive experiences discussed above. And with more employees entering the work place having spent their childhood and youth using this style of content, it’s essential that companies adapt their training to be engaging at all levels.

*https://www.uswitch.com/media-centre/2013/08/more-than-a-million-british-kids-get-first-mobile-phone-by-the-time-theyre-five/

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