At its core, gamification in education is about motivating us to do things by tapping into our basic human drives for meaning, accomplishment, reward and excitement.
Gamification uses key elements of a game, such as attractive graphics, unpredictable pathways, scoring and ranking to engross the learner and allow them to learn and apply concepts in an entertaining, dynamic environment. It doesn’t take much explaining to understand the benefits of using games to teach. Think back to your own experiences and I’m sure you’ll find games you‘ve played where you still remember the rules, outcomes and lessons perfectly.
Today, the power of personal devices has made educational games accessible to everyone. These includes favourites of mine such as Elevate, which takes you through a range of highly engaging math, reading, writing and memory games, and ranks your performance against users around the world; or Khan Academy, an eLearning platform which awards you points and badges as it takes you through an interactive learning map. There are also discrete online games such as Go Viral, which exposes the tools used to spread disinformation online in order to inoculate users against it. The fact of the matter is that it’s never been easier to build effective and entertaining educational games for a large audience.
What Has Hindered Gamification Infiltrating the Defence Space?
Gamification should sit perfectly in the world of Defence education and training. For one, a high proportion of actual games are based on military concepts, which is not surprising, as warfare and military pursuits have long been areas of great interest for the population at large. Secondly, much of the skills and knowledge base we expect from our soldiers, sailors and airmen and women needs to be applied in the kind of dynamic and unpredictable environments that games help to replicate.
The reality is, however, that traditional Defence training has found it difficult to incorporate gamification as a learning tool. Much of the instruction is performed by Defence members, who, while experts in their trade or mustering, may need guidance on educational outcomes and structure. They also don’t have expertise in eLearning, nor can they easily access the skillsets or resources needed to build high-quality eLearning products. This is especially the case with games, which require knowledge of specific programs or coding to develop effectively. As a result, much of the training in Defence remains dry, slide-based lectures or eLearning modules with little learner engagement and interactivity (for those in Defence, think force-preservation modules on CAMPUS).
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Pathways to Implementing Gamification in Defence Training
There is almost unlimited scope for gamification within Defence. Some obvious topics include:
- Shooting/Employment of Weapon Systems
- Infantry Minor Tactics
- Fraud Awareness
- Social Media Awareness
- Vehicles/Aircraft/Ship Recognition
- Operational Graphics and Symbology
- Navigating the Military Justice System
These are just the beginning of what is possible, and without considering its use across the individual training system within specific roles and trades.
Working with eLearning Experts
This is where specialist e-learning providers such as VMP eLearning come in. As an example of what is possible, VMP eLearning built a Military Symbology game for Army’s Land Warfare Centre which tested the ability of learners to identify the correct military symbol within a condensed timeframe. This could be upgraded in the future to include all operational graphics, symbology and key concepts, and provide scoring and ranking to incentivize learners to build their knowledge, and could be used as a gate for attendance on future courses.
By employing a specialist provider, organizations within Defence can quickly generate gamified content without any requirement to train personnel or acquire expensive software solutions. If you think this is a good option for your organisation, book in a quick consult here to discuss your potential project.
While much of the future training envisaged by Defence involves high-end elements such as simulation, this shouldn’t distract from the use of other tools, such as gamification, which are simpler, cheaper to develop, and can have just as much impact in helping learners to understand and apply key concepts and skills.
To kick off the new year, why not invest in bespoke eLearning for your organisation. We will work alongside you to identify the gaps and specific needs of your business, and tailor content to achieve maximum learning outcomes. Let’s talk – contact us today or explore our website for more information.
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