With the rise of game-based training and gamification proving to be actually effective and not just a passing learning fad, a lot of learning and development departments around the world are scrambling to figure out the best possible ways to employ and successfully implement these learning techniques. Training for Soft skills are the social abilities that allow agents to communicate and learn effectively. These are quintessential skills that are required by everyone in all facets of life.
One such area is training for soft skills – if poorly executed, even the best-intentioned game-based training solution can fail.
The best way to motivate your employees whilst keeping them engaged in the activity is to have training that is primarily game-based. Training for soft skills is best done via a gamification/game based method and here are a few reasons why game-based training, especially for training for soft skills, is usually a good solution:
- Gaming uses multiple aspects and facets of interactions/intelligence for learning (logical, special, linguistics, intrapersonal, kinesthetic, music).
- Games are very immersive, engaging, interactive and motivating through new technology and interactions.
- Active learning—the learner is seeing and doing something always.
Games provide another means of performance support and can give learners a competitive edge.
- Gaming provides just-in-time learning.
As discussed above, serious games or educational games, are games designed for a primary purpose other than just pure entertainment. Training for soft skills through serious games have an explicit and carefully thought-out educational purpose and are not intended to be played primarily for amusement purposes only.
Serious games can be applied to not only learning and training but also as a way of communicating and advertising. They can also be used as a training platform for hard skills too.
In serious games, there has to be a link between the real and the virtual world, and its main purpose has to go further than just being fun. There are different kinds of serious games for different audiences and made for different technologies, uses, and platforms. (computers, game consoles, virtual worlds, and social media,…). We can define 3 categories which have different objectives:
1. Educational games or Edutainment – Games that have the sole purpose just to educate the user, there may be game-based elements that are involved that make the activity/training fun.
- Games to promote a new brand or product or Advergaming – A video game which in some way contains an advertisement for a product, service, or company purposes. Some advergames are created by a company with the sole purpose of promoting the company itself or one of its products, and the game may be distributed freely as a marketing tool for these sole purposes.
3. Simulation games – A game in which participants are provided with a simulated environment in which to play until completion. These games are particularly good for soft skills since, it is possible to create an environment where it is an exact replica of the workplace and this makes the entire training aspect more immersive and interactive thus, increasing retention rates of any given user/employee. Simulation-based games contain a mixture of skill, chance, and strategy to simulate an aspect of reality or a simulation that has a game structure imposed on the system.
In the industry for corporate training for soft skills, we can find two main modules, training for soft skills, and hard skills training. Serious games are especially interesting for training for soft skills as they make the training of the theoretical contents possible, which is essential for efficient skills learning. For professionals, soft skills are increasingly important for their development. Using classic formats for soft skills training is proving infective while serious games have become an essential tool for corporate training.
One of the core challenges faced by soft skills training is the conversational element, something especially faced by a modern sales agent. Regardless of the product, one of the most difficult tasks that new salesmen have to face is making a positive personal connection with their customer to drive the meeting forward and successfully accomplish their sales goal, while also balancing client-vendor relationships.
So where does gamification come in all of this? Gamification should really be the pièce de résistance of the final solution – the one element, that by its transparency, has the most impact.
A great gamification solution is made exceptional when integrated into a well-executed game-based training solution. Due to the social element integrated into most modern gamification solutions, things such as leaderboards can often encourage healthy competition in the sales force, along with badges resulting in real life rewards for high-performing sales personnel.