Social Business Zone is brought to you in partnership with:

Shany has posted 55 posts at DZone. View Full User Profile

Facilitating Informal Learning with Games

08.09.2013
| 1272 views |
  • submit to reddit

Employees in the workforce today need to be well-trained and flexible, so that they can be assets to the companies for which they work. It’s important that employers and trainers understand the need to facilitate the usage of games and other informal ways of learning to better equip their employees to handle their duties.

Learning Is a Part of Work

More than ever, employees need to be open to learning as a way to better perform their jobs. In an economy that revolves around knowledge, employers can be the best resources for their workers.

Employees are often required to learn on the job. This happens not just when they are initially trained, but as the job changes and evolves. It is easier to learn most job-related specific information through on the job training as opposed to in a classroom.

About 20% of learning in the workplace takes place in the forms of mentoring, coaching, cooperative work and feedback, according to Games Based Learning. Games can be played for fun, but they still have value for employees, from the bottom up. Managers need to be involved in the process of using games as a form of informal learning.

Informal Learning and Games

When used effectively, games can introduce informal learning in a workplace environment. We learn 24/7, or at least the hours in which we are awake. Games allow employees to become more involved in the learning process. Informal learning is actually what most self-motivated employees already do.

While formal learning may seem sterile, informal learning is less “by the book”. Still, managers who wish to use games for informal learning need to understand how the plans will work, says Bottom Line Performance.

Companies and trainers need to plan ahead and not use too many Internet blogs or websites for their games. The goal is learning, and employees can only utilize the information they have time to reasonably access.

Analyzing the Effectiveness of Games-Based Learning

In webinar sessions, games-based training experts like Bryan Austin and Dr. Karl Kapp brings to light the research that supports learning through games. They explain why corporations are willing to invest money in facilitating informal learning through games.

In these types of sessions, trainers can learn about the ways to select and develop games for informal learning, states Chief Learning Officer. Managers will evaluate how effective using games can be, in training employees. Trainers should evaluate their informal training techniques, and develop tools that allow them to analyze the outcomes of their games-based teaching.

Thinking outside the box is an important way to capture informal learning. This is helpful in developing employees who perform at higher levels. Employee productivity and growth are important facets of informal learning using games. Learning and technology have been fused with this approach, making it easier for trainers to work with their game plan.

Learning through participation in games has been done for years in schools, but not with quite the same goals as those involved in employee training. Interactive design and technology help in the promotion of learning in an informal way. The skills and motivation of employees who have participated in games for learning should be ample proof of whether or not the gaming approach is working in a specific corporation or setting.

Published at DZone with permission of its author, Shany Dembak.

(Note: Opinions expressed in this article and its replies are the opinions of their respective authors and not those of DZone, Inc.)