May 4, 2017

Using Games to Teach

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For more than a decade, the general consensus in the training industry is that games (aka “gamification”) are a valuable way to review a certain topic. But where things are still a bit muddled is how far games can go in actually delivering crucial content. I’ve outlined below some key insights that take the interactive power of a game to another level of training.

  • WHAT ARE YOU AFTER? Make a list of the key teaching points you want to cover and embed them within the game. By using the power of game-based competition - your learners will have a heightened sense of awareness and retention will increase (yes - this is fact).

  • THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX. Questions do not specifically have to cover a topic, they can be used simply as a stepping stone to what you want to teach or review. Consider even leaving the game completely to focus more deeply on the subject at hand and then come back.

  • FUN IS SECONDARY. Remember, your key objective is to teach a topic, you are using “fun” to help achieve your primary objective, which is educational.

  • SLOW IT DOWN. Your objective is different than a TV game show. Theirs is to entertain, yours is to educate. On a TV game show, in a 30 minute period, they may play 3-4 rounds. Don’t simply read questions and award points, use the excitement of competition to emphasize and explain things. It’s not about who wins and loses but who is learning.

  • KEEP IT SIMPLE. Games do not always have to be long and complicated. A short game of 4-6 questions, can be a great way to review the key points of a talk or use as a warm up for a presentation. Once you start introducing a bunch of complicated rules - you’ve lost them.

The take away in all of this is to remember that once a game is introduced in any sort of environment - there are two factors simultaneously in play... The drive to succeed coupled with real learning.