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How to Ignite Peer to Peer Learning with Games

08.21.2013
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Peer to peer learning is not always as easy to facilitate as one might think. But it’s worth the effort, since it is quite effective in allowing companies to teach employees new skills. Sitting in a conference room watching a power point presentation simply isn’t always the best way to give your employees new information.

Mentoring is one way to develop employees, and using games for peer to peer learning is also becoming more accepted as a teaching method. The Institute of Leadership and Management finds that informal learning is often more effective than formal learning for passing on information to employees.

Informal Learning

If your company wants to utilize peer to peer learning in your employee development program, the first step is in recognizing that your employees probably already use peer to peer learning even if no one calls it by that name. What managers will be doing is simply recognizing the communication and supporting it.

Training is a part of any workplace environment, whether the information being provided is required for compliance with the law or whether it’s skill training to enhance careers. Some companies are learning that gamification, or using games for peer to peer learning, allow them to ignite more interest in their employees.

Games and Learning

Companies are still just starting to understand the value of using games and informal peer to peer learning as a way to import information to their employees. Learning doesn’t only pertain to rewards or task completion, but also to creating a more productive work environment, according to Training Mag.

Games and Motivation

Money has always been a motivator, and it still works today. Gamification as a learning tool is unconventional, but also highly effective. It helps to improve the employees’ perception among their peers and their status within a company.

Peer to peer game learning also aids in helping employees who have a desire to develop a reputation as being successful. Completing and winning games feeds the ego of these employees.

Games used as learning tools also show the success of some employees, while showing areas in which others could improve. People who may have been falling behind in their training may see the successes of peers and be more motivated to learn.

Why Do Learning Games Work

Gaming uses subtle ways to compel employees to use the information being provided. Companies that want to accomplish training goals through games identify their objectives and closely gauge the results of their learning games.

When companies make required training entertaining instead of dull and boring, employees are less likely to feel that they are enduring the time spent learning. Adding entertainment and competitive value makes the learning more interesting for your employees.

Knowledge retention is also boosted when employers use games for peer to peer learning. The topics covered in standard training sessions are often not committed to employees’ long term memory, whereas games and outcomes will stay in their minds for a longer time period.

Employees will also learn to participate more when they are taught with games. Points or status that they earn or achieve can be used for physical rewards that they may strive to earn. Money and rewards are powerful motivators in game-based learning.

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.)