Crucial Training Game Ingredients That Improve Emotional Connectivity
People don’t usually associate feelings with online training. It’s simply part of the job description and emotions don’t enter the picture. However, cultivating an emotional connection is crucial for effective knowledge retention and application. Employees must be able to immerse themselves in the situation, feel for the characters, and relate to their struggles. How do you break down the mental barriers and tap into employees’ emotions? Incorporate training games that encourage them to take risks, learn from them, and reflect on personal performance. Here are some key elements to include in your eLearning games to form an emotional connection.
7 Key Elements For Training Games To Boost Emotional Connectivity
1. Familiar Settings
Employees like to explore different environments in games intended for entertainment. However, training games are meant for experience building. Familiar settings give them the chance to venture into the workplace and tackle realistic problems without the risk. For example, acclimate to the sales floor so they know where all the products are and how to locate the POS terminals. If possible, use pictures or videos of the workspace to foster an emotional connection and sense of immersion.
2. Real-World Challenges
One of the perks of serious games is being able to take on real-world challenges without dealing with real-world consequences. Learners still get to experience the negative or positive repercussions but in a safe online training environment. Practical problems also allow them to take risks and learn from them, to live through those mistakes (even if they are virtual), and adjust their approach. Try to avoid a multitude of “what ifs” and stick with realistic obstacles that build experiential knowledge.
3. Memorable Characters
Most of us remember the quirky characters long after we’ve finished an epic adventure game. The same holds true for training gamification design. Develop personas that are true to life and packed with personality. But don’t go overboard and include their full backstory. The goal is to grab employees’ attention and make them feel for the characters, not to distract them from the desired outcomes. You should also use cut-out character images from your asset library to put a face to the name.
4. Story Arc
Game-based learning requires a strong storyline to draw trainees in. This includes a brief intro to set the scene, followed by an obstacle or struggle, then the resolution to cap things off. But the structure is just one element. How are you going to make learners feel like they’re part of the action? Will you provide a bit of context about the main character’s job duties and skill gaps? What about their stress levels and work-related challenges they’ve faced in the past? They need to know the basis of the story without irrelevant details that cause cognitive overload.
5. Relevant Multimedia
Video clips, images, sound effects, and background music are just a few key elements to incorporate into your training gamification design. All these components add to the ambiance and create an emotional connection with the audience. However, there must be a balance. Too many video clips hinder mobile accessibility and can lead to cognitive overwhelming, while background audio might become a distraction if it drowns out the dialogue or evokes the wrong emotion. Speaking of auditory stimuli, give them full control of the volume and mute functions to facilitate on-the-go training. Also, some learners might prefer to participate in silence so they can focus on the task at hand.
Where did they go wrong? Should they have chosen one path instead of another? Did the game reveal hidden strengths they can hone autonomously? There’s always room for improvement. For this reason, your game-based learning strategy must include personalized feedback. There’s no room for ambiguity in training games. Clearly outline their errors and how they relate to job performance. For example, they should’ve greeted the customer and asked for their account number right away, as this would help them process the transaction more quickly and build a rapport. Highlight soft skills they must work on and point them in the right direction. It’s their opportunity to identify pain points in a supportive setting, away from the crowded workplace where mistakes might lead to embarrassment and loss of business.
7. Tie-In Resources
Many training game designers wrap up the storyline and call it a day. Employees have learned all they need to know and identified crucial gaps. But that should be just the beginning. You can’t leave learners wondering how to address personal points or where to turn for help. Include follow-up resources to provide ongoing support on an emotional and educational level. For example, links to tutorials, podcasts, or other serious games that help them improve task performance. They’re allowed to make mistakes, but they must be able to correct them and learn how to prevent them in the future; namely, when they’re in the workplace and run the risk of losing a sale or offending a loyal customer.
What does it take to engage employees and turn them into active participants? Corporate learners need to know what’s in it for them and emotionally invest in the experience to truly benefit from online training. These tips can help you develop training games that help them relate to the characters, feel for their plight, move from theory to practice, as well as live through the negative and positive consequences of their actions so they don’t make the same mistake twice. They’re more likely to dive into the training course if it yields practical benefits and immediate results.
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