A couple days ago, I was thinking of my approach to interactive strategies in regards to online learning games and how I can try to simplify it for those not aware of the area.
I came up with:
- Anything that you can teach by using any method, you can teach by using training games.
- Training games should be designed rapidly and inexpensively.
- Training games engage the learners and produce effective results.
So sat down and analysed these three statements: Anything that you can teach by using any method, you can teach by using training games. Many people disagree with this statement by immediately proclaiming, “You can’t teach my subject by using a game. It’s too serious for that!” These statements are the result of confusing games with fun activities that are mindless and irrelevant. If instructional designers like me adopt a broader definition of games as structured interactions, this objection becomes invalid. Several games deal with serious topics. None of them is fun, and all of them are highly engaging. War games, for example, provide an effective strategy for exploring serious principles and procedures. Another thing people would say are “People in my group are different. They don’t like to play games.” As you all know, I have facilitated games with people from different backgrounds around the world. I have played games with children and adults, with blue-collar workers and corporate CEOs and even sheep farmers. My experience shows that as long as we approach our participants with respect and facilitate a game that is relevant to their needs, there is seldom any resistance. Obviously, we should not be violating norms and should make appropriate adjustments to our language (such as not calling the activity a game) in order to use a game effectively with different groups. One more thing I have heard a lot is, “We don’t have time to play games. We have too many topics to cover.” I believe that this reflects confusion between presenting information and achieving training objectives. I do not want to rant too much but those statements really get up my goat. There is plenty of time for games as for the too many topics to cover, thats just poor information architecture and structure.