“Yes, but have you considered Serious Games?”

When it comes to learning, there are so many different methods. You have the standard curriculum taught by a teacher in a class of students, you have eLearning courses, you have more interactive activities (perhaps using the famous smart board) and much more. But one question that isn't asked enough is "have you considered serious games?". The reaction to this question is often something like "what is that?". Hopefully this article will tell you more about why you should make the change to learning via serious games and why Generation Z are prime targets for this creative and beneficial way to develop skills needed for the future. 

What are serious games?

It’s a good question. Not many people are familiar with the term ‘serious games’. The word ‘game’ tends to put many professionals off but they often fail to look into it further to see the benefits of introducing them to employees. However, I believe the best place to introduce serious games would be to kids. Serious Games essentially leverages the power of computer games for a new cause. They use the mechanics and design of a game but incorporate psychology and content that challengers players to learn and develop skills. They need to improve a series of soft skills not usually taught at school, and yet expected by the time you apply for work experience. Serious Games provide a platform that is cost effective, time-saving and secure. It is a risk free simulated environment where players can understand the consequences of decision making in any workplace or role. This is brilliant for school children and young people to get to grips with early on. They will be more than ready by the time they apply for a real job.

Why are children and young people such good targets for this?

Generation Z (typically aged from 8 to 22 years old) are prime targets for these games. Of course, adults can use them for career development or scenario-based training, but serious games are a great use of the technology that this young generation are used to. Totem Learning Ltd allows for engaging learning to take place which increases information retention and overall performance. It is quicker for Generation Z to get to grips with it because many of the games can be played on devices they are more than familiar with.  

Why it is better for development and career prospects in the long run?

Playing serious games means that you develop observation, you see a change in your behaviour, you can get a useful assessment on your individual skills as well as you can replay the game. Serious Games can monitor how engaged you are with the task and can evaluate your performance, telling you where your weaknesses are. This is why the opportunity to ‘replay’ is so key because each time, you will hopefully improve. Skills like communication, teamwork, time management, efficiency and leadership are skills you can develop with serious games which eliminate the tedious process of an eLearning course and replace it with something fun whilst still keeping all the important information within the game-play.

The future of the classroom

Serious Games is a growing market forecast to be worth $6.6 billion by 2020, but perhaps even more. The popularity of VR headsets means that consumers, of which Generation Z are key, are becoming far more familiar with the idea of virtual reality and augmented reality. In China, classrooms are already using VR headsets to help with teaching the curriculum and they’ve been more than useful when it comes to Geography lessons whereby a student can wear the headset and discover what life looks like underwater or in a desert. The uses of VR in the classroom can only expand from here which makes way for a very exciting future where people can understand and experience far more than before. At the National Enterprise Challenge, held in Telford not long ago, the school children we spoke to said they loved learning through VR and AR and wanted more classrooms to incorporate it within their teaching.