Viewing entries tagged
Game Based Learning

       Bridging the soft skills gap    97% of UK employers believe soft skills are vital for business success, with certain soft skills (communication and team work) being considered more important than academic achievements– yet more than half of UK workers admit to not listing soft skills anywhere  on their CV.  A recent report, prepared on behalf of McDonald’s UK, declares that in the next five years over half a million workers will struggle to progress due to soft skill short comings. This is estimated to amount to a loss of almost £923 million, a year, by 2020 and almost £1.08 billion by 2025.  This isn’t the only cost a skills gap is going to generate. Due to the shortage of workers with appropriate skills, there will be unfilled positions in companies. This shortage of workers will generate a loss of production, costing a further £7.44 billion, per annum, by 2020 rising to £14 billion by 2025. A huge hit to UK businesses! This outcome may not be able to be averted completely however the cost can be reduced if greater esteem is given to soft skills now.   So what are soft skills and how can we develop them?   According to the report, soft skills can be broken up into six key clusters:    Communication skills , for example: effective listening, appropriate and good use of questions, clear and concise direction     Decision Making/Problem Solving , eg. The ability to identify and analyse an issue, take effective and appropriate action, recognise effect of decisions     · Self-Management skills , eg. Self-motivated and proactive personality traits, loyalty, adaptability and the ability to work well under pressure     Teamwork skills , eg. Positive and encouraging attitude, accountability, willingness to share ideas and listen to others views, punctual     Professionalism skills , eg. Appropriate language use, trustworthy, accepting of criticism, realistic understanding of job role     Leadership skills , eg. Strategic thinking, conflict management, respect for others knowledge, recognise others strengths and weaknesses, ability to build relationships   These are the skills that need to be developed for businesses and workers to progress over the next decade. If focus is given to these skills now and our attitudes towards them change, the gap can be bridged to some extent. The huge losses in production and progress will be reduced.  One suggestion, by the report, is to make soft skills training available to employees, equipping workers with appropriate skills for the future. McDonalds showed their devotion to training, and innovative thinking, in 2006; serious games were introduced into employee training and it proved very effective. Since 2006 the serious game industry has grown and improved. They are being used in all sectors for training, growing awareness, even in the school classroom. Shouldn’t there be a game that can offer soft skills training already?  Here at Totem Learning we are happy to declare that we have a modern solution to this growing problem.  Introducing, Unlock: Employability and Unlock: Leadership!   Unlock: Leadership  is a leadership training game for corporate development. The key focus is on leadership skills; players can expect to have their strategic thinking, innovation, even conflict management skills tested, to name just a few. Players will need to recognise when to take the lead, when to follow.  Unlock: Leadership is a four player game; each player must assess their team mates and provide feedback on each individual. Skills and attitude are rated. Upon completion, a report is generated on each player, allowing a facilitator to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of their team. The key focus is leadership skill development; however, users can expect to develop other vital soft skills: communication, problem solving, decision making are all key attributes focused on alongside leadership specific traits.     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


         Unlock: Employability  is a serious game specific for the education sector. It enables soft skill development for students through immersive, challenging game play and team work.  As with Unlock: Leadership, the game must be played in teams of four. Communication is exclusively in game via an instant messaging window. This serves two purposes. The first is to train student’s communication skills, a vital soft skill for the workplace. Players will quickly learn, to succeed, they must give clear and concise direction to their team mates. The second purpose is so all communication can be captured and assessed. Teachers can use this information to guide students on any area they struggle with and also commend them for areas they excel at.  Screens at the end of each level also provide the player with feedback on their strengths and weaknesses. The feedback screens highlight how these traits are applicable in the workplace and further ways to develop them.     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     Unlock: Employability and Unlock: Leadership are just an example of how serious games can combat real issues in the workplace, healthcare, even the classroom. This article only highlights the learning benefits of these games and their applications, for further information on either serious game or developing your own contact the totem team today!   If you want to read the full report, you can find it  here .

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BRIDGING THE SOFT SKILLS GAP

97% of UK employers believe soft skills are vital for business success, with certain soft skills (communication and team work) being considered more important than academic achievements–

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       Unlock: Employability: The Game       

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     There’s been a lot of talk recently about the need to address the employability skills gap; for example the  UK government has brought in changes to education inspections  from September 2015, giving a higher profile for employability skills promotion, and an independent  report by McDonalds  clarifies the challenges and draws recommendations. At Totem we’ve got our own recommendations too! But first; here’s the background:   97% of UK employers  believe  soft skills are vital  for business success, with certain soft skills (communication and team work) being considered more important than academic achievements– yet  more than half of UK workers admit to not listing soft skills  anywhere  on their CV.  McDonalds report declares that in the  next five years over half a million workers  will struggle to progress due to soft skill short comings. This is estimated to amount to a  loss of almost £923 million, a year, by 2020 and almost £1.08 billion by 2025.   This isn’t the only cost a skills gap is going to generate. Due to the shortage of workers with appropriate skills, there will be unfilled positions in companies. This shortage of workers will generate a  loss of production, costing a further £7.44 billion, per annum, by 2020 rising to £14 billion by 2025 . A huge hit to UK businesses! This outcome may not be able to be averted completely however the cost can be reduced if greater esteem is given to soft skills now.  So what are soft skills and how can we develop them?  According to the report, soft skills can be broken up into six key clusters:   Communication skills, for example: effective listening, appropriate and good use of questions, clear and concise direction  Decision Making/Problem Solving, eg. The ability to identify and analyse an issue, take effective and appropriate action, recognise effect of decision  Self-Management skills, eg. Self-motivated and proactive personality traits, loyalty, adaptability and the ability to work well under pressure  Teamwork skills, eg. Positive and encouraging attitude, accountability, willingness to share ideas and listen to others’ views, punctual  Professionalism skills, eg. Appropriate language use, trustworthy, accepting of criticism, realistic understanding of job role    Leadership skills, eg. Strategic thinking, conflict management, respect for others knowledge, recognise others strengths and weaknesses, ability to build relationships   These are the skills that need to be developed for businesses and workers to progress over the next decade. If focus is given to these skills now and our attitudes towards them change, the gap can be bridged to some extent. The huge losses in production and progress will be reduced.  One suggestion, by the report, is to make soft skills training available to employees, equipping workers with appropriate skills for the future. McDonalds showed their devotion to training, and innovative thinking, in 2006; serious games were introduced into employee training and it proved very effective. Since 2006 the serious game industry has grown and improved. They are being used in all sectors for training, growing awareness, even in the school classroom.  Shouldn’t there be a game that can offer soft skills training? Here at Totem Learning we are happy to declare that we have a modern solution to this growing problem.  Introducing, Unlock: Employability!     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


         Unlock: Employability  is a serious game for the education sector (aka game-based learning). It enables soft skill development for students through immersive, challenging game play and team work. Set on a mysterious tropical island, learners must work together to solve puzzles and be selected for their dream job.  The game must be played in teams of four – each player at their own PC. Communication is exclusively in game via an instant messaging window. This serves three purposes. The first is to train student’s communication skills, a vital soft skill for the workplace. Players will quickly learn that to succeed, they must give clear and concise direction to their team mates. The second is because it levels the playing field, those that ‘shout the loudest’ will not have the advantage. The third purpose is so all communication can be captured and assessed. Teachers can use this information to guide students on any area they struggle with and also commend them for areas they excel at.  Screens at the end of each level also provide the player with feedback on their strengths and weaknesses. The feedback screens highlight how these traits are applicable in the workplace and further ways to develop them.  Unlock: Employability is just one example of how serious games can combat real issues in the classroom, workplace, even healthcare. For further information on serious games that you can license for use in your classroom, or commission bespoke, contact the totem team today!        </iframe>" data-provider-name="YouTube"

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UNLOCK: EMPLOYABILITY: THE GAME

There’s been a lot of talk recently about the need to address the employability skills gap –for example the UK government has brought in changes to education inspections from September 2015, giving a higher profile for employability skills promotion and an independent report by McDonalds clarifies the challenges and draws recommendations. At Totem we’ve got our own recommendations too! But first; here’s the background:

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         Remembrance Day                         97 years ago, on the 11th of November, the most horrific war the world had ever witnessed ended.  World War I had a final death toll of 17 million people and a further 20 million wounded. It was labelled the ‘Great War’, ‘the war to end all wars’. The 11th of November was made a day of remembrance and reverence, a day to pay our respects to those who actively fought for our freedom and allowed for us to live in the comfort we enjoy today.  Nowadays this tradition is upheld on the closest Sunday to the 11th of November, Remembrance Sunday. Since 1914 an estimated  191,356,238    people have lost their lives fighting in wars around the world. Once a year we take the time to remember them, appreciate them. We show our support together, as a nation, by wearing the symbolic  red poppies .   There are many ways we can grow our appreciation for those who have gave their lives for their country. Games may not immediately jump to mind. Initially, games could be considered a disrespectful or inappropriate way to show appreciation. However, there are many games that can give a taste of the true atrocity war is; this is important to appreciate so war is never thought of trivially, as a solution or first resort.  We have carefully selected a short list of games can be used to teach about war and its' realities rather than using war as an entertainment device.         

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     The first on our list is one of the highest rated war games there is to ‘play’.   Verdun    pays great attention to detail; using authentic weaponry from World War I, even the music is typical of the era. For anyone who wants to really learn how horrific the trenches were, this is a great resource.    Making History: The Great War   launched with the National World War I Museum. This game aims to teach players the complexities of war. It is a strategy game where the player can fight to change the course of history. The game has key events that follow World War I’s path. It is best used as a tool for understanding what countries were involved in World War I and the roles each of them had.    War Thunder   doesn’t proclaim to be a teaching tool, however, it focuses its attention on the vehicles and crafts used throughout World War II. Like Verdun, they pay very close attention to detail. A good resource to learn more about the aircraft, ships, tanks and the people that operated them.  Stepping into present times and modern warfare we have   Americas Army, Proving Ground  . This game has been developed by the U.S. army as a recruitment tool. It is supposed to test whether the player is suitable to become an U.S. Army soldier, through analysing how the player works as part of a team, makes decisions, etc.     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     The last on the list of games I would really like to highlight is   This War of Mine  . This game looks at war from a different point of view. The player is responsible for the lives of a small group of civilians trying to survive in a war zone. The game progression changes dependant on the player’s choices and the moral implications of those choices. In March 11bit studios released a DLC for This War of Mine, 100% of proceeds go to the charity ‘ War Child ’. Games like these, games that teach, games which draw attention to real and serious issues should be noted and appreciated. They help us learn about ourselves, test our values and educate us.  These types of games grow our appreciation for the sacrifices made. This is just a short collection of games that harness war as a teaching device rather than as an entertainment gimmick. If there are others that are worth noting, please drop us a comment.       

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
          
             
                  
             
          
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


      

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
          
             
                  
             
          
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


      

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
          
             
                  
             
          
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


      

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
          
             
                  
             
          
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


       Worth noting, the  Humble Bundle  package is supporting the  American Red Cross ,  Direct Relief  and  IGDA Foundation   this month.       

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REMEMBRANCE DAY

97 years ago, on the 11th of November, the most horrific war the world had ever witnessed ended.

World War I had a final death toll of 17 million people and a further 20 million wounded. It was labelled the ‘Great War’, ‘the war to end all wars’. The 11th of November was made a day of remembrance and reverence. . .

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       Game-based Learning and the Ugandan Charity    Totem learning has been supporting Ugandan charity  The Butterfly Project  through the donation of its  Business Game , so that young entrepreneurs can learn through play.  The Butterfly Project is a unique project in Uganda, which trains up young people from the most remote rural villages and disadvantaged urban slum districts to become social entrepreneurs.   The game has been installed in the learning centres so budding entrepreneurs can try out and hone their business skills.  We’ve had a recent update from the charity on how the game has been received and we thought we’d share it with you!  Here are some photos of members using the game as part of The Butterfly Project’s entrepreneurship training session.     


  

  


 
   
    
      

        
          
             
              
                    
              

              
                
              
                
             
          
          
        

        

        

      

        
          
             
              
                    
              

              
                
              
                
             
          
          
        

        

        

      

        
          
             
              
                    
              

              
                
              
                
             
          
          
        

        

        

      

        
          
             
              
                    
              

              
                
              
                
             
          
          
        

        

        

      

        
          
             
              
                    
              

              
                
              
                
             
          
          
        

        

        

      
    
   

  

 






     Feedback was that the kids did extremely well, with “one group having three profitable production lines, the second had two, though somewhat less profitable.  The third group took three attempts to make a profit, but eventually did so.” Ben Parkinson, The Butterfly Project  Apparently the kids have even followed up much of the week to have another try – which illustrates the beauty of games in a nutshell!

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GAME-BASED LEARNING AND THE UGANDAN CHARITY

Totem learning has been supporting Ugandan charity The Butterfly Project through the donation of its Business Game, so that young entrepreneurs can learn through play.

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       Do Serious games really work?    So do they?  Yes they do and we have metrics to demonstrate ‘ Return On Engagement ’!  Earlier this year Totem Learning designed and developed a game to educate business owners on greener IT practices. The game develops players’ understanding of IT issues within their company and supports them to implement better, greener practices.  A few months on, we can report that ‘Green IT’ has been a great success! The report has shown that learners finished the game with a full understanding of green IT practices. Not only was the level of learning very high, the game was so effective that it provoked a proactive attitude and action in many of the learners!            

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


           Here is just a cross section of facts and figures from the report:    92% of learners sought out more information on greener practices upon finishing the game    96% either have or are considering taking a course on energy saving business practices    23% are actively seeking assistance from local sources for implementation of these newly learnt practices, while 70% plan to in the near future    89% said they have, or would, recommend the ‘Green IT’ game to colleagues                  As for the design and enjoyment of the game:     71%  of learners found the scenarios and tasks within the game were directly applicable to their own companies.     59%  agreed the value of insights from the game were good or excellent.    And  79%  found it easy to use.   This is a brief look at the learning benefits achievable through using serious games but it is a brilliant outcome for this project and we are looking forward to sharing more great reports like this in the future! 

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DO SERIOUS GAMES REALLY WORK?

Yes they do and we have metrics to demonstrate ‘Return On Engagement’!

Earlier this year Totem Learning designed and developed a game to educate business owners on greener IT practices. The game develops players’ understanding of IT issues within their company and supports them to implement better, greener practices.

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       New leadership game about to launch!       

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     A ground-breaking new game for leadership training is being launched at leading L&D exhibition; World of Learning.   The 3D, online, multiplayer game is set on a tropical island, in which players must work together, communicating only by instant messaging to solve puzzles and succeed. Each level challenges players on different leadership skills such as problem solving and negotiation, and switches the lead role between players allowing each a chance to shine.     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
          
             
                  
             
          
             
          

          
           
              Communicating in Real Time  
           
          

         
      
       
    

  


     Peer and self-review are integrated into the game and whilst four players must play together simultaneously, their physical location is immaterial. There are similarities to ‘Outward Bound’ experiences, but with added benefits such as reduced cost, more targeted results and re-usability.  The game was created by, and can be purchased from Totem Learning; a serious games studio based in Coventry. It has already been taken up by Management Centre Europe, Europe’s leading management training company, for use in their courses. The two companies have signed an agreement that focuses on promoting and delivering serious games and e-learning programmes to MCE’s clients in the EMEA region. Mr Rudi Plettinx (Managing Director of MCE) says “Serious games are now a crucial element in the learning and development journey and with this new partnership, MCE are pleased to be part of these exciting developments.”     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


        Attendees at World of Learning can also catch Totem’s Head of Design and Development, Helen Routledge delivering a presentation on using serious games for leadership training, ahead of the release of her forthcoming book, “Why Serious Games are Good For Business”, to be published by Palgrave Macmillan in November this year.  For more information about MCE please go to  www.mce-ama.com . To try out the game visit stand C110, World Of Learning, Birmingham, 29th and 30th September. Register free at  www.learnevents.com/   For more information about Totem Learning call Richard Smith on 02476 555 904. To hear Helen Routledge speak at World of Learning, please go to Theatre 2, from 14.45 – 15.15 on 29th September.

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NEW LEADERSHIP GAME ABOUT TO LAUNCH!

A ground-breaking new game for leadership training is being launched at leading L&D exhibition; World of Learning.

The 3D, online, multiplayer game is set on a tropical island, in which players must work together, communicating only by instant messaging to solve puzzles and succeed. Each level challenges players on different leadership skills such as problem solving and negotiation, and switches the lead role between players allowing each a chance to shine. 

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