Ice-breaking, energizer, serious game: we all heard of these methods that make training sessions, or even seminars and events, playful. But is it really a good idea to use game-based methods for a training session? That was the topic discussed by Ingrid Sem-Le Tessier, training instructor, facilitator and consultant, during her masterclass held on Glowbl. And the answer to the question is YES!
What benefits are there to using ludo pedagogy in your training programmes? How can you include games in your pedagogical scenarios? Here are 5 ways to do so, taught during the masterclass.
Teaching with game-based methods: what are the benefits ?
Onboarding, skills acquisition, management, personal development… For any type of training, games bring many benefits to the trainees.
- Motivating the participants
Making a session playful, even game-based, helps motivate and engage the trainees thanks to the implied ideas of levels and rewards.
- Stimulating creativity
Games trigger mechanisms and thoughts that are not usually provoked during a regular session. A playful environment, often in opposition with self-censorship, enables the participants to let their imagination flow, therefore to unlock situations.
- Making learning easier
The fun and emotions felt during games (joy, excitement, frustration…) anchor the learning process. On the first hand, participants learn easily as they are having a good time. On the second hand, they memorize new information better as they associate the content with what they lived. They are learning without even knowing it.
- Studying real-life situations
Thanks to pedagogical scenarios oriented towards gameplay or serious games, the trainees evolve in life-like situations, thus allowing them to train and improve their skills. This allows the participants to immediately see the benefits in their daily life.
- Allowing the participants to make mistakes
In games as in real life, we can’t succeed on every topic. During training sessions, the participants can afford to make mistakes and learn from them in order to do better in real-life situations.
- Cooperating on various topics
Thanks to game-based training, the participants learn how to work (better) together, find their role within their team and be involved in the practice, in any role they are given.
As our facilitator said: “Games are a great tool, with super powers”! Games are also a friend to our brain as it accelerates cerebral development, memory capacity and enables to unfold transversal skills. Thus, we can talk about “neuroeducation”.
Further reading: Serious game: what are the benefits for business?
How to include games in a training session?
Ludo pedagogy is open to all. Anyone can, based on their own level, create pedagogical scenarios that involve games. However, it is essential to include some elements to benefit from the many advantages.
1. Set a pedagogical goal
Gamification has to be contextualised. In fact, it is not always simple to introduce games to the trainees. It happens that some of them do not understand the value of the game and others might think it is childish. Ahead of every session, the facilitator can explain the pedagogical goal set for the game :
- Welcoming the participants, getting to know each other, starting a training session.
Examples: Dixit game, animal-themed
- Boosting, energising the participants to mobilise the group after a break.
Examples: Contrario, Helium stick, rock-paper-scissors
- Helping the understanding of new topics, teaching
Examples: serious game, Minecraft 4 Scrum, Thiagi group games
- Testing, assessing
Examples: quizzes, flashcards
2. Start with an easy game
When you are just starting in ludo pedagogy, it is better to choose easy games for a starter. Go for games in which you know the rules and the tools needed to set it up. The participants have to assimilate them fast in order to be focused on the training topics and goal,rather than wasting time in the game’s setup. To do so, you can start by adapting famous games (Trivial Pursuit, Imagine) or TV game shows (The Wheel of Fortune, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire).
3. Adjust to your audience
In order to facilitate appropriate games and for all participants to be involved in the session, it is necessary to care for the composition of the group. Some criterias can generate divergence:
- Age: if you adapt a TV game show or use pop culture notions for example.
- Experience: all participants are not from the same line of business and have not been through the same professional or management experience.
- Culture: when you are hosting a multi-cultural session
- Hierarchy: some participants may not feel comfortable playing with their managers or directors, and vice versa
Further reading : Collaborative learning: what are its benefits for the company?
4. Master the facilitation
To reach their goals, the facilitator has to oversee the game. He is the timekeeper, and makes sure the game does not impinge on the pedagogical programme. He directs the participants towards the topic, rephrases, questions and ensures everyone can contribute in their own way.
5. Debrief the session
To measure the impact of the game, it is essential to debrief each session. The facilitator has to bring the players to wonder how the exercise can be applied in real-life. What does this tell us about the participants (individually or as a team)? How could the trainees have done better to reach the goal? The group can then evaluate the way the goal was reached as well as the collective success.
Ludo pedagogy is a learning method mobilising time for the training instructor, but which, if the group is motivated and energised, can turn out very productive and satisfying for all.