Learning is the process of acquiring new – or modifying existing – knowledge, behaviour, skills, values or preferences. We all know the limitations of traditional teaching methods and attempts to assess learning that test retention of facts rather than understanding.
The repetition and reinforcement approach to learning may have worked for Pavlov’s dogs but it is far from optimal. For years trainers in the business world have tried to get away from pure lecture-style training by using exercises that enable “learning by doing” for individuals and groups. Some with more success than others… the good ones engage people, the poor ones are little better than the drills you did in class aged 8 or 9.
It’s been shown that people forget approximately 80% of what they learn in trainings if they don’t use that learning at work within a week. Given that the global spend on training is estimated to be over US$130 billion a year (and growing at a rate of around 8% year-on-year), that’s a huge waste!
Surely there’s a more efficient way of learning.
The constructionist approach to learning doesn’t view learners as passive recipients of information. It sees learning as an active social process in which people generate knowledge and meaning from interaction between their experiences and their ideas. Learning Games can be wonderful constructionist learning tools. They enable people to experiment and learn in a safe environment, they also allow people to practise what they learn as they are learning it, increasing the likelihood that the learning will stick and be of use in the workplace. As a bonus, the use of Learning Games replaces instructors with facilitators – a change that shifts the emphasis from “being taught” to “learning”, which is helpful when the learner is an experienced professional or manager.
The Business Excellence Institute is committed to helping individuals, and the organisations they work for, develop and grow to reach their full potential and Learning Games are one of the tools we use to deliver on this commitment. So when I saw – while supporting MIT as a community Teaching Assistant on some of its MITx Educational Technology courses – that Learning Games are now moving into the mainstream in schools, I suggested to our board that we encourage the growth of games as a learning tool elsewhere in the business world.
That’s why we’ve launched the International Business Learning Games Competition to identify and recognise the best learning games currently available. It will be judged by an international panel of judges that combines expertise in business, game design, and pedagogy.
If you’ve got a game you’d like to enter, visit the IBLGC website to find out more. The submission deadline is August 31 and the finals will be in November 2016.
It’s time for some new thinking…