There are several different components to consider in designing and developing interactive 3D software that will ensure that your training simulation will get the results you want. These components aren’t random in design and structure. They are developed within each serious game to allow management and training coordinators to have measurable data to assess and evaluate the effectiveness of the training program. In addition, having clear objectives that translate into real world behaviors for learners is another sign of a very effective and successful training simulation. Without this element it is literally impossible to determine if the learners are actually mastering and implementing the tools and skills developed in the immersive learning simulations.
Digital game based learning, which is sometimes also called games for change or social impact games, needs to incorporate learning preferences that match the intended target group. Unlike learners of just a few years ago, there are some definite changes in the style of learning and online role play games that are much more sophisticated than just a simple training program. In general, learners want to have the following characteristics in the serious game or training simulation
- A multimedia approach to the presentation of the information including text, chat, audio communication and tips, visual clues, realistic and accurate video, music and actual sound effects based on the game environment.
- The ability to know immediately if they have made the right choice in moving forward through the game rather than playing through to the end and discovering a mistake occurred in the path they chose.
- A realistic and authentic interactive 3D environment that allows the processing of the visual images and clues before prompts and text information is provided.
- The ability to allow different learners to interact with each other throughout the game. This may be in a voice or text chat program running simultaneously with the serious game .
- Knowing what they are expected to learn in the simulation and having fun with the learning experience.
- Information that is relevant to their lives and can be used in practical ways in their environment.
In addition to learner preferences in serious games it is essential that managers and training coordinators have a way to record, track and evaluate the skills and knowledge developed through the real time 3D action of the training simulation. In general this can be measured and monitored through:
Making sure that the training simulation accurately and clearly links or connects the skills taught in the game and the content of the game to the actual performance goals of the company or business.
- Using a Learning Management System (LMS) program to connect the learning objects of the game to the specific programming in the code to highlight the objectives and goals that you want to reinforce or develop through the training.
- Collecting data, feedback, game scores and specific issues such as dwell time and patterns in the way the learners approach the serious game scenario. This can help to determine any cultural issues, external motivators or patterns of response that are negative or positive with respect to the company’s goals and objectives. It can also be used to quickly modify or adjust the game for optimum learning.
- Displaying the results of the training scenarios as they reflect actual improvement in productivity, sales, performance and satisfaction within the company or agency.
A great interactive training simulation will be highly successful providing it contains the aspects of online training that learners want, as well as what management needs.
(Reprinted with permission from 3D Serious Games and Simulations.)