The concept of virtual reality is with us – game technology is available on many platforms in high street shops, and the game industry is now even larger than the film industry. There is no doubt that virtual gaming is an immersive environment where many skills are picked up. However, the opportunity to use the same technology for more formal inclusion in learning interventions has been under intense scrutiny and research, and the practical use of gaming technology for learning is becoming increasingly popular.
Tools are being developed that will allow economic development of learning interventions based on gaming technology to rival and beat the established eLearning market, and deliver a more effective learning experience. The game market today has moved from the single player game installed locally on your own PC to multi-player games with your opponents or partners possibly spread all over the globe. So it can be with games based learning. One of the earliest GBL markets to be developing is the area of team development and personal development using virtual environments, especially where clients have dispersed workforces, possibly on a global scale, and the opportunity for them to get together in a real world to build an effective team is quite limited, both in budget and disruption to the workplace. One solution is team building events in a virtual world where all that is needed is an average corporate PC and connection to the world wide internet.
Infiniteams is a suite of mini-games which can be played in this way. The games can be built into several different types of team building events, from short “lunch and learn” sessions to full day “adventure ” exercises. Combined with facilitation, the experience can be related back to business objectives, and action plans can be developed for the team to follow up.
My view is notwithstanding the difficult times we are in today with the credit crunch and the pressure on costs in the corporate and public sector, we believe that organisations will continue to spend, possibly more so, on their management and field customer facing employees, in developing their ability to handle situations in a tough market. However we also believe they will seek new ways of doing this, with less time out of the office, more short sessions, possibly remote collaborative sessions, and games technology -based learning could be the answer.
There is no doubt that serious learning using GBL technology is beginning to get traction in the market place and will grow faster than many of the established learning methods. We think it is now coming out of the phase of research, trials, university and grant funded experiments, and social uses, and is gaining momentum in the corporate space.
TPLD‘s own successes and discussions with companies like Cisco, IBM, RBS, LTS, First Scotrail etc also confirm the reality of the demand.
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