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Are You Using Gaming for Learning?
On a theoretical level, more than one type of learning and gaming can support the traditional instructional design learning domains. In 1956, a committee of colleges, led by educational psychologist Benjamin Bloom, identified three domains of educational activities: cognitive — mental skills or knowledge; affective — growth in feelings or emotional areas; and attitude — psychomotor, manual or physical skills. Simple games allow learners to assess content at the knowledge level of Bloom’s cognitive domain. Complex games allow the learner to practice skills at the application level and enable learning across the learning affective domain from the lower end of receiving phenomena to a more complex experience around internalizing values. For example, a virtual lab is a kind of game where service technicians practice software set-up and server configuration from a distance via their desktop computers.On a practical level, there is no formal study to quantify the effectiveness of gaming for organizational learning. Even for youth and young adults, there is limited research, although Microsoft has created the Games for Learning Institute, a multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional gaming research alliance intended to provide scientific evidence to support games as learning tools. Xerox recently conducted a research project to test the effectiveness of gaming. For the aforementioned manager development curriculum, 60 percent of those who started the curriculum dropped out. Further, it was difficult to gauge how well learners transferred the online content learned back to application of skills on the job. In partnership with Xerox Innovation Group, managers/learners were divided into three groups: A — those who took the online course without any game elements; B — those with half of the game activities; and a C group that had game activities for every module.Preliminary results are positive. Group C had the highest completion rate of the three groups. Further, group C was twice as active in engaging their managers in their learning, contributing to discussions on webcasts and posting insights and experiences on Yammer, showing double the willingness to apply the skill on the job through completion and feedback from their quests. Besides completion and performance, the feedback scores for group C are higher than group A. Stakeholder groups for the manager course said the added gaming elements doubled the course success.
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