Hands-on training games are an excellent way to engage participants, make learning active, bring real group dynamics to the surface in a "safe" environment, and drive home key points. Whether you choose to use them as stand-alone learning tools, or as part of a larger training initiative, training games can generate quality results when used properly. But not all training games are created equal. Before you add a training game to your curriculum, consider these points:
Make it Relevant
Games are effective when they provide knowledge, skills, or insight. A game that addresses real-life situations or organizational issues has far greater results than a game played for its own sake, or to "liven up" a training session.
Look for Proven Research and Theories
The training solutions market is filled with a wide range of games for virtually every training situation Ã¢€â€œ from board and card games to web and video-based games. Be certain the game's marketing doesn't overshadow its credentials. As with any training tool, those designed using proven research and recognized learning theories provide the best results.
Keep it Simple
Even if the game is a perfect match for the training topic, it is only useful if participants can quickly grasp its objective and understand how it is played. Over-complicated or confusing games don't generate results because participants become wrapped up in the process rather than the experience. Clear directions and rules help the learning process continue quickly and smoothly.
Why Games Work
Training games embody experiential learning, a methodology considered to be one of the best -- if not the best -- ways for adults to learn. The learning "sticks" because individuals are immersed in the activity. For example, a team-building game that requires all players to participate, develop common strategies, and face consequences encourages memorable learning that's easily transferable. Games create a comfortable learning environment where learners become active participants in the learning process by providing the opportunity to process new information and practice new skills in the safety of the training room before they are required to apply them to real-life situations.