Agile Games for Learning

Leonor Urena

Agile Games for learning and teamwork...

One of the most natural ways of learning is through play which is why kindergartens focus almost solely on play-based activities for children to develop their understanding of the world around them. The same principles can be applied in the world of work, and traditional training is being increasingly replaced or supplemented by game-based learning, serious games, or agile games for learning. 

So, what exactly is game-based learning?        

In short, agile game-based learning is agile game play that is aligned with defined learning outcomes. Research supports the effectiveness of game-based learning in virtual environments, such as airplane simulators, but the benefits are also becoming apparent in regular computer-based learning programs. There is no getting away from the fact that computer-based gaming is still taking the world by storm. Games such as Call of Duty and World of Warcraft are incredibly popular and this is because they are engaging. Players are able to completely immerse themselves in this world where they can apply a variety of rules, strategies and systems in a completely risk-free way. Game-based learning is no different. Agile Games that are designed as training tools for businesses help players to make a connection between learning experiences and their actual work, by allowing them to choose actions and experience the consequences of those actions without it having any real-world impact. It is through this experimentation that players can learn which thought-processes, which behaviors and which strategies help them to achieve their desired outcome. One of the best things about game-based learning is that players can repeatedly play until they are confident in their skills, which can then be transferred from the simulated environment to their real-world role and tasks.

Why is game-based learning better than traditional training?

More comprehensive

Traditional training is largely a question of memory. Trainees are taught a relatively narrow selection of thought processes, techniques and procedures and are then tested on their ability to recall them. After time, we may retain this information, but even then, our knowledge is purely theoretical and limited to the scenarios that we have been prepared for. With traditional training, it simply isn’t possible to cover every possible outcome or scenario. However, with game-based learning, more emphasis is placed on understanding the underlying reasons why and how things happen, which makes trainees better equipped to react and adapt to new or unexpected situations.

More engaging

Game-based learning is also much more engaging than traditional training methods. Watching PowerPoint presentations and videos and reading manuals and case studies is dull. If your trainees are listening to a trainer, then he or she needs bags of personality to capture their attention. Ultimately, the amount of information that is retained during a training session is incredibly limited. However, game-based learning requires full participation from the get-go, meaning that trainees are using their brains and learning from the moment that they log-in.

Reinforcement of Skills

Game based learning doesn't only teach in the classroom. While most onsite training courses and virtual training ends training after the material is covered, game based learning continues to teach. Each time a learner jumps in skills are reinforced. For example, our game based learning for teamwork is designed to teach the agile mindset necessary for teams to work together no matter where they are located. Every time a team jumps in to learn these skills are reinforced by the rules of the agile game. The results of the reinforcement of these skills are visible in the teams work and overall performance. Teams are more cohesive, collaborative, accountable, coordinated, and enjoy being together.

More convenient and cost effective

Traditional training needs to be scheduled in at convenient time and location for both the trainer and trainees. To be cost effective this may mean taking large numbers of employees away from their tasks at a time, leaving your organization under-staffed. Agile games for learning and Game-based learning can be carried out anytime and anywhere in your business premises, making it far easier to get your employees the training that they need at a time that is convenient for your organization.

Tailored to suit each trainee

Traditional training sessions happen at a set pace, and trainees either keep up or they don’t. Those that don’t will find they don’t get the information they need from the session, effectively wasting the time and money of the organization. In contrast, the pace in agile game for learning or game-based learning can be tailored to suit each individual trainee. It is possible for them to re-enact the same stage of a game multiple times until they complete it successfully, so businesses can ensure that all trainees reach the same level of competency.

Corporate experience

One of the main causes of failed Agile transformations is corporate culture. Agile games for learning can be used to make a subtle change in corporate culture, to help in slowly transitioning and instilling the agile mindset necessary to succeed in today's world.

Immediate feedback

When an employee leaves a traditional training session, there is no way of knowing how much they have understood or how successful the session has been until they put the theory into practice. In cases where the traditional training has been less than successful, this could lead to an entire group of employees being unable to fulfill the tasks assigned to them. However, in many game-based learning programs it is impossible to progress through the training without reaching the desired level of competency. Therefore, there is immediate feedback in response to trainee mistakes and employers can again be certain that everyone that has completed the training is primed to work effectively and deliver great results. Many organizations are recognizing that agile games for learning or game based learning offers a comprehensive and engaging yet cost-effective and convenient solution to their training needs. Here at Agile Literacy we have developed Gelling, our very own game-based learning platform that enables organizations to bring all the qualities of Agile to life in their software development teams.

Contact us today to find out more and see how game-based learning can transform your workforce.

About our guest writer

Sustainable Games
I am an Agile coach with a passion to help teams to collaborate, strategize, cooperate and to deliver solutions that are in direct support of strategic initiatives. An agile transition is all about people and interactions and that is my concentration. I apply gamification, and proven techniques to motivate teams. Through these techniques I support teams to drive specific behaviors that contribute towards more effective, productive and harmonious working relationships regardless of the methodology or framework used.

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