Sarah Oeltjenbruns, Performance Partner
When training facilitators use games in the classroom, participants explore learning and engagement in fun, competitive ways. Games in a classroom also teach principles of strategic thinking. Check out these top reasons for using games in training:
Soft Skills Learning
Soft skills are taught based on practice and storytelling. In the classroom, we recommend teaching participants to script and role-play using real-life examples. The facilitator will act as the client and participants will role-play scenarios that they experience every day on the job. This experience allows for an immediate answer and the opportunity to ‘learn on the fly’. The game must be related to the participants’ work environment. In fact, the more realistic the scenario is, the more your participants will be engaged in the training.
The game activities should be taken serious with an educational goal in mind. This is an opportunity for participants to learn a new skill, and have fun doing it. The first step is identifying what skill you want them to improve. “Knowledge Drill Cards” is a use of games in the classroom. It is as simple as putting the skill you want developed on one side of a card, (ex: product, service, question) and putting the answer on the other side. Participants quickly go through the flash cards with effort to remember the answers. Speed and repetitiveness are essential in this game.
A Safe Environment
Most training professionals have experienced a classroom setting where not everyone feels safe participating. They are afraid to raise their hand for fear of giving an incorrect answer. They may feel that they are outside of their comfort zone. Games help create a safe environment in the classroom. Participants don’t feel as though they are put on the spot when making a mistake in a game, because after all it is “just a game”. Using games in training helps engage people that are usually more reserved in a classroom setting.
The more interest a participant has, the better they will be at it. Everybody likes to have fun and play. Participants become competitive with their colleague—and want to win, therefore, they want to learn. Games in training should offer an appropriate amount of challenge to maintain motivation. Adding rewards to your training enhances the motivation even more. We recommend offering a small gift for the team/person that wins.
Using games in training is an effective technique to get participants to become more engaged and have fun while learning a new skill. If your learning and development program has not yet adapted this approach to learning, it’s time to bring innovation to your classroom experience.