Gamification vs Game-Based Training: When to Use Game-Based Training? [Part 2]

When should you use game-based training?


Okay, we’re getting a little ahead of ourselves here. But really, when you want to teach someone something, game-based training is hands-down the way to go.

While playing game-based training games, a player’s progress will be directly related to their knowledge and understanding of the subject matter, rather than just getting from point “A” to point “B.” If they don’t understand something, they don’t progress. Period. When that happens, the game itself will teach players what they missed so they can keep trying, and learning, until they do. Once they understand the material, they progress in the game!

The beauty of it is, as they level up in-game, they’ll level up their real-life knowledge and skills.

This makes game-based training an amazing way to improve retention rates, teach complex or serious subjects, and show employees the relevance of training so they’ll practice new skills and (gasp!) enjoy doing it!


Improve Retention Rates

Research has shown that the technique of practicing recalling information (a.k.a. “practice testing”) can improve a person’s ability to remember stuff. This is especially true when those sessions are spread out over time — good thing that’s what game-based training is all about!

Game-based training is often designed using the concept of practice testing. Employees learn about concepts in game modules and receive the right answer through feedback loops. The information is then rinsed and repeated throughout different modules or levels in the course. It’s much easier to remember stuff when you keep hearing about it! I repeat, it’s much easier to remember stuff when you keep hearing about it!

Teach Complex or Serious Subjects

Normally, this would be less exciting than watching paint dry. With game-based training, however, courses become so fun that employees will genuinely want to play, and enticing game elements will keep them coming for more! 

The modular structure of game-based training helps break up complex concepts into more manageable, understandable chunks. Since employees can move at their own pace, spending as long as they need to with certain aspects of the course, it’s a great way to ensure your employees gain a genuine and deep understanding of complicated concepts. 

As an added bonus, when you want players to thoroughly understand the really serious stuff, you can choose to prevent them from moving forward in the game (and their studies) until they prove they actually get what you’re talking about!

Show Employees the Relevance of Training

Telling employees they should know something “because they should” is redundant - they wouldn’t be learning content if it wasn’t necessary!

With game-based training, you’re not only reminding them it’s necessary knowledge, you’re giving context to the content. You can tell someone not to drink the tap water, but they’ll be more likely to listen if you tell (or show) them the water’s contaminated — context is everything! 

Game narratives help put content into perspective and reveal why these new concepts are beneficial to know. With a game-based approach, employees can appreciate why their training is important, while also improving both retention and application of course concepts post-training.

Have Employees Practice New Skills

Don’t want your employees to accidentally push the wrong buttons? Have them practice what you preach before real-world consequences are a possibility!

Scenarios and simulations can be used for all kinds of situations, like dealing with an irate client, or selling new products. Employees will engage with the virtual client and experience realistic repercussions without the risk of losing clients, business, or self-confidence. 

We already know that if someone appears confident, people are more likely to trust them.[1] By building your staff’s confidence from the get-go and giving them the tools they need, they’ll be better prepared to emerge victorious when they encounter those same situations in the real world.

The Bottom Line

You can force people to read bland text until their eyes glaze over, or you can transform  your content into game-based training modules that make their eyes sparkle in excitement. 

Game-based training makes learning fun, keeps players wanting more, and ensures that they will learn exactly what they should. Combining real-life knowledge with in-game progress will give players a very real sense of achievement when they succeed. They’ll feel good about themselves for learning enough to ace that course, and they’ll also feel good about levelling up — a double-whammy of success!

Why would anyone mess with a proven method that works? Why, indeed.


Learn when to use gamification in Part 3 of this series, or revisit Part 1 to review the differences between gamification and game-based training!