Online Learning, Training and Games

Online Learning, Training and Games

No longer is there a clear delineation between online learning and online games. Instead, video games have become effective tools in teaching: everyone from kindergarteners learning numbers to employees learning new business techniques can benefit from online training delivered in game formats.

There are many reasons why a school or office might employ online learning games when teaching or reinforcing concepts. First, they’re fun and interactive, and less intimidating than lectures or textbooks, and as a result with games people are naturally more engaged. Indeed, by its very nature a game draws people in, whereas a lecture induces people to sit back and copy down notes, a much more passive activity that doesn’t allow students to practice skills or show off their knowledge. Indeed, studies in the last decade have demonstrated conclusively that when games are used within an educational program, students of all ages tend to retain more material. In fact, an entirely new subset of educational theory has sprung up on the topic: GBL, or game-based learning.

In addition, it’s easy to get a group of people started on a game because games are so familiar and intuitive. That is, mostly everyone knows how Jeopardy or Trivial Pursuit works, so you can get going with the activity right away. And educational video games are easy to find on the web, and inexpensive as well – many websites even offer free educational game templates you can modify with your own material. Better still, with team games, people often bond with classmates or officemates in ways they wouldn’t have otherwise, and so games are great for fostering team spirit.

Given all these benefits, many industries have developed video games for training employees or would-be employees. For instance, retail enterprises have created simulated environments to help salespeople hone their approaches to selling. And the aviation industry and the military now rely heavily on flight-related video games so cadets can practice their flying without putting anyone at risk.  

Of course, games should be just one tool in your educational arsenal. Relying too much on games can make them feel stale, and can trivialize your course or your training sessions. Also, you have to make sure your games are just challenging enough. If a game’s too easy, students get bored and overconfident in their skills. If it’s too hard, students tend to give up early and the educational value of that game plummets.

Online learning market place

Apr 27, 2012