Elearning! October-November

October-November 2013

Elearning! Magazine: Building Smarter Companies via Learning & Workplace Technologies.

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and ambiguity, since serious games and simulations are built around complex situations and processes and typically don't have black/white, right/wrong answers. And since game competition can arouse strong feelings, the ability to work with team dynamics is important. Because serious learning games deliberately include the opportunity for failure, some learners can get stuck along the way. When a learner is struggling, a "game coach" can work directly with the individual to suggest ways to think about the game challenges, direct learners to outside resources, and to provide tips. In addition to the use of social tools mentioned earlier, coaches can also encourage and support learners throughout the game with tip emails, phone conversations and one-on-one chats. CAPTURE AND ANALYZE As with any major learning initiative, an efective implementation should yield analytics that ofer insight into the training outcomes. Outcomes — and associated metrics — should be aligned with organizational and business goals. In advance of implementation, you'll want to collaborate with stakeholders and managers to determine the specifc outcomes desired and ways to efectively measure them. For example, if the game is designed to improve sales communication skills, to assess its impact on your sales representatives, you can examine quarterly sales data pre- and post-implementation (ideally for multiple quarters), along with win and loss data and new customer satisfaction scores. You can also correlate individual game scores to sales performance to determine if learner scores are predictive of individual sales performance. Consult with learning analytics experts to structure your evaluation to isolate the impact of the training versus non-training factors. You'll also want to work with employee managers, supervisors and participants to identify and verify behavioral change and performance improvement. This feedback can be collected through surveys and questionnaires or through solicitation of personal observations and examples of how the training has been applied. Training and talent executives must be open to considering how serious games can supplement and accelerate critical training initiatives. This information is just as important as quantifiable data. THE VENDOR PARTNER Because of their experience, vendors can be a huge help in planning and executing a successful implementation. Following are examples of support oferings to look for: >> Support for a carefully crafed pilot project, if needed. >> Assistance in developing a detailed implementation plan, including examples of communications, tip emails, and reward programs. >> Advice on selecting optimal cohorts. >> Detailed guidance for planning kick-of, check-in and debriefng sessions, including sample questions and suggestions for case scenarios and group exercises. >> Learner support during the game. >> Best practices and advice for determining measurable business and personal outcomes. CONCLUSION Serious games are game-changers for corporate training. Training and talent executives must be open to their use and consider how they can supplement — and likely accelerate — critical training initiatives. According to Clark, who brings to Game On! Learning more than 20 years of corporate training and consulting experience, the reactions and changes she's observed from serious game implementations far exceed any other type of training she's managed: "When I read the wrap-up reports, I'm continually amazed by learner and manager comments. People really do enjoy the training and admit to being challenged. But best of all, I see story afer story of how they are actually using the training every day. Now that's rewarding." —Galloway is president of insidHR Communications. Reach her at lgalloway@ insidhr.com. Elearning! October / November 2013 25

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