Game-based e-learning has reached a new level – this could be one conclusion drawn from this year’s OEB. Looked at as an ideal instrument to manage multifaceted tasks, games have spread even into emotionally and motivationally oriented fields like behavioural coaching and leadership training. Together, the presenters offered a broad perspective on gaming – highlighting well-established features as well as new trends.
This year’s OEB clearly showed that serious gaming goes much deeper than just coping with various “staged situations” or real-life simulations. Regarding the learning aspect, game developers and researchers are currently exploring how competencies, including various cognitive and psychological factors, can be developed by e-learning – developing financial capabilities, trading skills or human resources management, to name but a few.
The session “Serious Games for Competence and Expertise Building” for example, opened up with a presentation about the so-called FUGA project, which is about measuring emotions in the trading business. How do people cope with failures? What can they do to improve their emotional balance in order to be more successful? These were some of the questions raised that could help game developers better understand what psychological factors to bear in mind. Another project along the same line, xDelia, focuses on how people can become more aware of their financial activities and behavioural patterns.
E-Learning, which enhances learning on a personal and interpersonal level, was also a topic discussed in the “Gaming in Business and Management” session. Games not only have to offer a realistic setting but also a reliable theoretical background – this is what many people articulated in this session. A much-discussed example came from Brazil – a tool for leadership training that was designed to help leaders refine their leadership style.
A more classical example of e-learning in this session came from a Spanish business school, where students have the possibility to improve their management skills while organising a grand slam tournament, which also puts a strong emphasis on collaborative and interpersonal aspects.
The Behrloo game of the Dutch police academy or the CrisWare security training example, showed that game-based e-learning has the potential to become indispensable when subject-specific knowledge is addressed, e. g. in a security training setting. A strong focus on the specific training context and a high complexity make these kinds of games attractive and motivating for the users.
Finally, this year’s presenters also considered the “fun” aspect of game-based e-learning. The “Consumer Games as Learning Tools” session, for example, showed inspiring pictures from classes with pupils playing and learning enthusiastically with the help of game-based multimedia language courses. What these and other contributions showed was that games may soon become the norm in various training and educational settings. Game-based e-learning clearly has left the primary stage.