Developing skills and solving problems in a simulated environment

What is it about games that make it possible to feel like we can accomplish anything and be a master at it, how can this transfer over to real life? Games are compelling and can lead to behavioral manipulation without the player even knowing it. They have a way of draw users in and engaging them. That is why gamification elements transfer over to simulation training as a perfect fit for one another, kind of like yin and yang. The art of game design has been around for ages, although it may not have first been applied to the computer. But none the less a board game or the like can also draw players into it as well (it just might not be as immersive).

“Games enrich us with intrinsic rewards. They actively engage us in satisfying work that we have the chance to be successful at. They give us a highly structured way to spend time and build bonds with people we like. And if we play a game long enough, with a big enough network of players, we feel a part of something bigger than ourselves—part of an epic story, an important project, or a global community.” -Jane McGonigal, Reality is Broken

Jane McGonigal: Gaming can make a better world TED Talk

Rather than listening to the full 20 minute speech on the above YouTube video, let me summarize a few key points that Jane McGonigal makes in her TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) speech:

  • A recent Carnegie Mellon University study showed that kids will spend 10,000 hours playing online games before age 21. If you take this number and put it into perspective that the average time spent in school from 5th grade through high school graduation (with perfect attendance of course) is 10,080 hours.
  • In the next decade, it is estimated that we will gain 1 billion more gamers throughout the world, bringing the total to 1.5 billion.
  • Jane defines 4 points of gamers:
    • Urgent optimism- Believing that something is possible.
    • Social fabric- Established trust, bonds and cooperation with other players.
    • Blissful productivity- Gamers are willing to work hard if given the opportunity and they are happier when working hard. They like a challenge!
    • Epic meaning- Gamers love to be attached to awe inspiring missions.
  • The World of Warcraft Wiki is second only to Wikipedia as a Wiki.
  • Gamers can achieve more in an online world than in the real world. If we make the real world more like a game then this generation of gamers will be more successful in their work practices.

So you may be wondering why this is important and what it actually has to do with gamification and simulations… Well, game worlds are able to easily transfer over into simulation design and play. It’s these addicted online gamers that are now in today’s workforce driving company training and education. It is for this reason (and many others) that gamification through simulation training makes perfect sense for just about any organization seeking training programs.

12 Startling Gamification Statistics (from Jane McConigal’s Reality is Broken book):

  1. In the United States alone, there are 183 million active gamers.
  2. Active computer or video gamers play 13 hours a week on average.
  3. Collectively, the planet is now spending more than 3 billion hours a week gaming.
  4. 69% of all heads of household play computer and video games.
  5. 97% of youth play computer and video games.
  6. 40% of all gamers are women.
  7. 1 out of 4 gamers is over the age of 50.
  8. The average game player is 35 years old and has been playing for 12 years.
  9. Most gamers expect to continue playing games for the rest of their lives.
  10. On average, gamers fail 80% of the time and yet they still find the gaming experience enjoyable.
  11. Nick Yee, a leading researcher of MMORPGs (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-playing Game) is the first person to receive a PhD for studying the game World of Warcraft.
  12. 61% of surveyed CEOs, CFOs and other senior executives say they take daily game breaks at work.
    • More than half of these gameful executives say they play during work in order “to feel more productive.”

So let me repeat number 12 above just to make sure it sinks in with you. “More than 61% of surveyed CEOs, CFOs and other senior executives say they take daily game breaks at work.” Ok, what? Yes, CEOs and other top execs believe in playing games (and simulations). You see gamification motivates user behavior, it provides experiential learning and perhaps most of all it makes an impact on learners. By utilizing game-design thinking and techniques through an intuitive simulation one can become proficient at job related skills. When the user is immersed in the environment then great learning outcomes are achieved. Gamification’s growing adoption will have a profound impact on the training and simulation market within the next few years.

“Game design isn’t just a technological craft. It’s a twenty-first-century way of thinking and leading.” -Jane McGonigal, Reality is Broken

Copyright Bryant Nielson. All Rights Reserved.

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Bryant Nielson is heavily involved in the Corporate Training and Leadership and Talent space. He currently is the Managing Director for CapitalWave Inc and the training division, Financial Training Solutions. He brings a diverse corporate experience of organizational development, learning and talent development, and corporate training, that also includes personal coaching of top sales individuals and companies of all sizes. For the prior 4 years, Bryant was the Managing Director and Leadership and Talent Manager for Lengthen Your Stride! LLC. In this position, Nielson was the developer of all of the courses for MortgageMae University (MMU), the Realtor Development Center (RDC), and of Lengthen Your Stride! (LYS). In that position, he developed material, refined over many years of use and active training, and condensed the coursework and training to be high impact, natural learning, and comprehensive. Bryant has over 27 years of Senior Management experience encompasses running his own Training and mortgage firm, in New York City. He strongly believes that the corporate training is not to be static but should 'engage and inspire' students to greater productivity and performance.