Whenever I talk about game-thinking or gamification or even interactive learning someone always asks the question: “What if people don’t like games?” or they ask “What do we do when people say ‘I just want the information, just tell me what I need to learn–I’ll get it myself.”
I shake me head and feel sad…and frustrated…and ready to give up…
First of all, what I talk about with game-thinking and gamification is not really the use of games, it is the use of elements from games. Like challenge, action, continual feedback, story. So you could easily wrap all those items into an eLearning or instructor-led course and not call it a game (don’t even mention the word “game”). It’s simply interactive and engaging learning.
But there’s more.
I have bad news for lots of trainers, facilitators and eLearning designers…people don’t like lectures, discussions or role-plays. So we have a dilemma. In fact I’ve heard trainers tell tales of trainees (doctors even) reading newspapers during mandatory training sessions…of course now they can just check their Smartphones for an entire class. Oh, no they are listening…multi-tasking. (yeah, research says “no”)
And what really bothers me is sometimes Learning & Development “professionals” cave.
OK, read your newspaper and I’ll lecture. I don’t want to offend the rude learner. Or when a L&D professional says..oh, right some learners don’t like games or interactivity so…we just won’t do that–it’s easier that way.
But we KNOW from research that engagement leads to learning and lecturing is a huge waste of time in terms of recall, higher level thinking and actual application. Yet we tell, we lecture, we provide bulleted lists.
That’s a problem.
What if a client said to an architect…”I don’t like having load-bearing walls, let’s eliminate them.” Few architects would say..”well OK, I don’t think its the best but since you don’t like them, yeah we won’t have any.” Or a doctor say, “you’re right daily insulin shots are painful, just don’t do them. ” Or a client saying to a lawyer…”you know I don’t like that particular law, can we just ignore it (of course some criminals do that).” And the lawyer saying, “of course, I know you’ll be law abiding otherwise so it’s safe to ignore this one small law.”
Sometimes professionals are hard on us. They require us to do things we really don’t want to do. Because in the end either they know it will save our lives, provide a safer environment for ourselves or others or keep us from harm. In fact, most things worth doing are difficult, hard work and require effort.
So, if you design interactive instruction that is challenging, requires the learner to interact and forces them to think, you are doing a good thing and should NOT back off if you know you’ve developed instruction based on a sound instructional methodology. As a professional you have to require the learner to take the medicine. They might not like it but they won’t learn any other way in spite of what they tell you. Be a professional stand by your instruction and your methodology!!
Yes, learners want shortcuts but shortcuts don’t always exist. Learning is hard work, difficult and TAKES TIME. The research is in your corner, there is no “plugging into the Matrix” to instantly learn behaviors, habits or skills.There really is no app for that.
I know, I know…the alternative is so easy. A bulleted list of what to do and not to do. Easy, simple, safe. “Look I’ve done my job. The learners are not complaining too much and everyone is happy”…until the accident, the lost sale, the non-compliance, the cheating employee or the subpoena of emails and texts or the learner spending his or her free time “refreshing” the knowledge they should have learned in the class.
Oh, those things aren’t training related…it’s all a series of odd coincidences.
The bottom line?
No one every got fired for elearning or classroom instruction that consisted of bullet point slides followed by multiple choice questions…simple, non-confrontational, visible, easy to design…no one has to think, interact or get frustrated. The added bonus…of course they’ll remember and apply the bulleted knowledge–they said so themselves–they even promised.
I shake my head…sad…frustrated…but NO, not ready to give up.