It's Game Time!
CORE: Closers, Openers, Revisiters and Energizers
What was the greatest cause of death while traveling to the west during the days of covered wagons? If you said small pox, drowning or death by gunfire you are correct! Name the route most frequently traveled by covered wagons to settle the western United States back in the old days? Did you correctly guess the Oregon Trail?
How is it that so many of us can easily recall the answers to these questions? Perhaps you have a phenomenal memory of your fourth-grade history textbook or perhaps, like me, you learned this through a video game in the back of your classroom called "The Oregon Trail."
So what does this have to do with training? Our companies are currently or will soon be employing over 90 million up-and-coming professionals that are a part of the gaming generation.
The gamer mentality generally brings a strategic perspective, a flexible work-style and an open approach to communication. On the other end of the spectrum, they also bring shorter attention spans and an increased appetite for risk-taking. By sheer quantity, this generation will begin to dominate our workforce; so how do we adapt, adopt and learn from their digital genius?
If you, and ultimately your company, want to see the largest return on investment (ROI) for training time, it is imperative that you begin to tweak your materials to meet the gaming generation's learning style needs.
One answer is to weave low-tech and high-tech games into your curriculum. For example, if a systems trainer is teaching a step-by-step, click-through-the-system intermixed with a bit of process information, the data will give the learners only a portion of what they intrinsically need to get the process.
So, how can you incorporate a game to make it stick? Have a kick-off session where you introduce the icons of the system in a matching card game (low-tech). For high-tech solutions, try blending in simulations (with bells and whistles), quizzes using a point system to earn status or prizes, or interactive blogging where learners can post questions and answers. These are especially useful if your learners are nationwide and your primary tool for training consists of e-learning; however, they also enhance the on-site learners' experience. This short list should help to jumpstart your thinking regarding your gaming generation participants.
If you are a baby boomer trying to manage a gamer, there will be a definite style gap. There are a few constants, one of which is Pike's First Law: adults are babies with big bodies. Games and prizes never lose their allure and are a sure-win if strategically woven into your training.
Becky Pike Pluth is Chief Learning Officer of The Bob Pike Group.