True or false? Playing computer games at work will get you fired.
Answer: It depends.
You probably don’t want to play Grand Theft Auto V on your office computer, but serious games—those designed for learning—are encouraged. They can even help you get you promoted. Think about how many hours people spend playing video games for pleasure.
They do it because it’s fun, and they’re motivated to win. Serious games tap into this same level of engagement using realistic animation and simulations to help you learn new skills and concepts. For leadership development, they provide a safe way to try out new behaviors in simulations that emulate realistic work situations.
Serious games can help players assess and practice many of the skills they’re likely to need as leaders, like building a collaborative team, or helping employees improve their decision-making skills.
You can also play a game that helps with one of the more challenging situations leaders face: coaching a problem employee. After participating in a simulated face-to-face meeting, you get immediate feedback on your performance. Don’t like the way you handled it? You can go back and do it again until you’re satisfied.
Like other computer games, serious games turn the simulation into a contest where leaders try to improve their score. The game is still fun—making the learning more likely to “stick”—but the ultimate goal is to learn how to be a better leader. As players start to move outside of their comfort zone in the game, they find it easier to apply these new behaviors in real life.
Serious games are getting more attention because they fill a gap between what leaders learn in a formal development program, and what they need for success on the job.
Leaders from every business sector point to a need for better problem-solving and more critical thinking in their leadership ranks. Today’s leaders also need to excel at building relationships and seeking out different perspectives.
This fall, CCL will introduce our own serious game, Far-Plane: Beyond Boundaries. It’s designed to teach the concepts of our research-based leadership model, Boundary Spanning Leadership.
We partnered with Triad Interactive Media to develop the game, which takes individual players to an alien world that’s starved for resources.To win, the player must navigate politics, bring together diverse groups of people, and build strategic alliances.
Points and other incentives help the player stay motivated, and like other serious games, feedback is provided in real time. When the game is over, leaders receive a debriefing from facilitators and work with their peers to apply what they’ve learned on the job.
We know people learn best by doing, even when the learning takes place in a simulation. We can expect more companies and organizations to add serious games to their leadership development programs in the future.
Read our white paper Revolutionizing Learning Using Games as the Next Frontier to learn more about Far-Plane and see screenshots of the game.