Are your employees looking for a bit more fun and excitement to break the online training monotony? In this article, I’ll highlight 8 unexpected ways to incorporate serious games into your online training strategy.
Serious games engage employees and make the online training experience enjoyable, which is the last thing your staff might expect from a formal online training session. These interactive online training resources also improve knowledge retention, which yields a better return on your investment. The trick is knowing how to incorporate gameplay into your eLearning course design organically so that it supports the desired outcomes. Here are 7 innovative ways to use serious games in your online training program.
New hires may feel nervous or apprehensive about their first day in the workplace. It’s only natural, given that they are about to embark on a new professional journey with unfamiliar obstacles around every corner. However, a serious game can help lighten the mood and introduce them to on-the-job situations and challenges. For example, the first level allows them to explore the sales floor and help a customer locate a particular product, while the second gives them the opportunity to troubleshoot an issue with the POS terminal or resolve a client complaint.
How will your employees handle a hazardous spill or compliance dilemma? Can they apply company policies in the real world, or is their knowledge merely theoretical? Serious games are a great way to test your employees’ compliance know-how. They also have the chance to put the information into practice so that they understand the practical applications. Not to mention, learn from their mistakes and identify knowledge or skill gaps. Use LMS reports, employee surveys, and manager evaluations to determine which compliance conundrums exist within your organization. Then use the data to create realistic situations that resonate with your employees.
How well do your employees know the products they must promote on a daily basis? Are they aware of the benefits and real-world uses? Can they upsell services or add-ons to increase your profits? A product knowledge quiz show allows you to assess their understanding of these crucial areas. Best of all, it doesn’t apply the same amount of stress or frustration as a traditional exam. Employees are able to answer questions to earn points in hopes of advancing to the final round. They can even compete against one another, in which case you should incorporate a leaderboard. The secret is to ignite friendly competition instead of waging an all-out war.
Online training simulations are ideally suited for serious games. You can easily integrate levels or game mechanics into your eLearning course design to add an extra incentive. Break more complex tasks into separate skills or steps. Then build a level around each component. For example, warehouse staff must safely store products using the proper gear. Every level tests their ability to apply company protocols and compliance knowledge. For instance, if they’re able to apply their communication skills to actively listen to the customer and appease their concerns. You can also award points or badges for each skill they master.
Team troubleshooting serious games center on problem-solving, communication, and conflict resolution skills. Corporate learners need to assess the situation and come up with the best course of action. The serious game might be about a group of co-workers who disagree about the delegation of tasks. Thus, the participant must evaluate team member concerns on an individual basis, while also evaluating their skills to allocate resources most effectively. For example, someone was assigned a task that falls out of their comfort zone. Yet another co-worker has the necessary skills and experience to complete the task with ease. Team troubleshooting also requires interpersonal skills, as the participant must examine the team dynamic and find a resolution that benefits all parties involved.
Customer service staff often serves as the face of your organization. They are the ones who deal with customer concerns and ensure the best possible customer experience. Serious games give them the opportunity to develop their skills and gain exposure to real-world challenges, such as unhappy customers who want a refund or wish to file a complaint. A branching scenario that features levels and rewards relieves some of the pressure without diminishing the benefits. Employees have fun solving problems and using their conflict resolution skills to deescalate the situation. This helps them handle workplace stress more effectively, as they’re already familiar with the worst-case scenarios they may encounter.
"Seal the deal" serious games require employees to identify what the customer needs based on certain tell-tale signs, then land the sale. For instance, the first level requires employees to pinpoint the customer’s concerns and find the right product. If they successfully complete this level, they’re able to move onto the negotiation process. The key is to create subtle indicators so that employees have to use their skills to solve the mystery. Include brief background information about the customer and personality traits. Just make sure that the customer personas don’t steal the show and distract employees. Keep in mind that the goal of the serious game is to help employees apply their skills and talents in a real-world context.
Serious games improve employee engagement and get employees excited about the online training process. However, advancing through levels and earning points is not the primary objective. As such, every gameplay experience should support the desired behaviors and outcomes to achieve the best results.