Elearning! October-November

October-November 2013

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

Issue link: https://elmezine.epubxp.com/i/201066

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Page 29 of 52

Figure 2: The optimum level of challenge in a learning game 4) WHAT KINDS OF LEARNER FEEDBACK ARE PROVIDED? In conventional training, there is frequently a time lag between when a learner does something and when feedback is provided. One of the big advantages of a learning game is that feedback can be instantaneous and continuous. Tis makes it much easier for learners to see the connection between their performance and its result. A typical game can provide many different kinds of feedback devices. Some feedback relates only to the game play, and some relates to the skill (the latter being most important for learning). According to researcher Ton deJong, feedback should provide a constructive, diagnostic critique of the learner's performance, rather than just a simple right/wrong or pass/fail. In Merchants, many kinds of feedback are provided, both for the trading game and for the communication dialog and negotiation simulator. For feedback on learner communication, Merchants provides a "level of trust" indicator bar, as well as an "interests" bar. Te level of trust increases or decreases, depending on the communication strategy the learner chooses. Te interests bar shows how well the learner has uncovered the interests of the other party. Te negotiation simulator in Merchants provides a detailed critique at the end of each negotiation. Te critique points out what the learner did correctly and includes suggestions in areas requiring remediation. Finally, the critique tells the learner if the negotiation was successful for both parties. Te learner feedback provided by Merchants is useful and comprehensive, and would be difcult to match in a classroom or traditional e-learning setting. CONCLUSIONS A recommended "best practice" for implementing any skill-based learning game is to do so via a blended learning strategy, leveraging trainer-led pre- and post-play discussions. In these discussions, players can consider what they are learning and how to improve. Te trainer can apply what employees are learning in the game to the context of their daily work — a critical step in transferring the learning from the game to the real world. In summary, with these four questions to ask about a learning game, you are evaluating refect current research on what's most important in making a game efective in teaching a real-world skill. Games can teach a wide range of knowledge and skills, and the details of their design should refect what is being taught, who the learners are, and what the work context is. Use these questions to help guide your discussion with each potential solution provider, and to focus the discussion on the features that matter the most. Our benchmark game, Merchants, matched up quite well against our four duediligence questions. —Rob Foshay has been building, researching and evaluating e-learning for nearly 40 years, including senior research and design roles at Applied Learning, Texas Instruments and Plato Learning. He has published more than 70 books, chapters and journal articles in the feld. He consults as Te Foshay Group, and mentors doctoral students in the feld for University of North Texas and Walden University. Figure 3: 'Merchants' individualized learner feedback. Elearning! October / November 2013 29

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