Modern Marketing

Why You Should Use Video Games to Train Your Team

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“Why are you playing that Nintendo?”

“You ought to be learning a real skill with your time.”

“Go play outside like they did in the good ole days.”

Do any of these statements sound familiar to the gamers out there? Growing up, it was preached by the older generation that video games were a waste of time and even demonized by the media to be a cause of the violence in the world. The truth is that video games have a dramatic amount of scientific data to back up their benefits in society.

In this blog, we will be exploring using video games as training simulators to increase productivity, efficiency, and efficacy of your employees.

History shows that many of the first video game simulators were created for training American soldiers in tactics, reflexes, and team building activities.  Many of you may remember a popular port to PS2 known as SOCOM that was used to help train our military men in different scenarios. In addition, varying types of flight simulators have been used by the military and airlines to help train new pilots.

Learning through simulations has proven results. In a study by John Kenworthy and Annie Wong, 100 students were tested utilizing a business simulation, a business game, and a case study. The results concluded that a business simulation or a business game was a far more effective learning tool than the other case studies.

More than Fun

The military isn’t the only cool kid on the block with brand new video game simulators. The technology sector is beginning to move into the video game simulator world. Cisco has binary, subnet, and CCNA simulator games available to play to help develop varying skills in a fun environment.

Gaming is also one of the greatest ways in which we can learn to express ourselves creatively and within a group environment. Online games with customizable characters allow individuals to not only “escape reality” for a bit, but also have experiences they cannot in their daily lives. This allows individuals to not feel overwhelmed by their work and real lives, thus improving efficiency (and happiness) across the board.

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

In addition, online gaming often requires strategic teamwork, communication, and problem-solving that can be used to strengthen the flow between your teams. Multi-player games such as Dota 2, League of Legends, and Heroes of the Storm are great for small teams of five to learn to work together in stressful environments with time constraints and constantly changing variables. Games such as World of Warcraft and Final Fantasy XIV have large raid battles of 10+ members that require hyper focus and teamwork. These games are great for small businesses and internal groups within larger organizations.

However, maybe you’re looking for something more Matrix-y, like a simulation. All types of simulation games have been popping up in the past few years. A few popular ones are the following: Kerbal Space Program, Football Manager, Train Simulator, Tractor Simulator, and Goat Simulator. Yes, that last one is a simulator, but it’s more of a joke…unless you aspire to be a goat.

Go Analog

If none of those are your cup of tea, then perhaps the nearly forgotten cousin of gaming could help you and your employees. Who and what am I talking about? Well, tabletop and card games of course! How many of you learned to save and spend your money playing Monopoly? How about your general life path in the game of Life? The first operation of your very short medical career dreams… Operation. Of course, I am being a little bit silly, but tabletop and card games have lasting lessons to teach us well into adulthood. Popular card games such as Yu-Gi-Oh, Magic the Gathering, and Pokemon TCG help teach you algorithmic ideas on looping and associations.

By building different decks with different strategies you are put into a state of mind in which you have to “program” your outcomes. Games such as Settlers of Catan or chess teach you valuable lessons on managing resources and people with varying skill sets. The type of processing is much lower than in real-world environments which allows us to more easily enter into a flow state while playing these games. After the game is concluded, the individual can take lessons learned and apply them to their real-world environment.

Moving Ahead

The point I’m trying to hammer in is that in this age of video games, social media, and technological innovation we should be using and developing tools to aid ourselves in development that extends beyond simple training videos and runbooks. Having fully interactive and fun experiences can boost productivity, happiness, and learnability by a dramatic percentage.

Have you used any video games as training before? Tell me about how you’ve used them in the comments below.