As you know, for several years, employers have tried to develop “relevant” and creative ways to successfully train new employees and that is partly my job as an Instructional Designer. After all, people are more likely to pay attention to training videos and seminars if they can actually relate to the content or possibly have fun at the same time. I still remember the 1989 Wendy’s training (music) video designed to instruct new hires how to properly pour coffee—some of the methods do work.
From my latest research, Johnson & Johnson and Volvo use game-based training (GBT) now. While GBT can be certainly innovative, it does come with some challenges. For starters, it’s hard to determine whether employees will actually internalize the lessons, or if they will just have “fun” while playing. Thus, the game has to be carefully tailored to help employees actually learn valuable lessons at the end. It’s also undetermined whether videogame-based training downplays the seriousness of the company culture, which may worry some larger (and more serious) corporations. Beyond that, however, GBT can be a cost effective way to train people and encourage their continuing education.
Companies can save money by not sending employees to expensive conferences or off-site courses. Information can be learned at the office or at home with the help of a PlayStation, Xbox, or Wii. GBT is also extremely eco-friendly as it omits the need for hard copy materials (paper and ink) and reduces the release of gas emissions as a result of car and plane travel for all those environmentalists.