Interjecting fun learning games into employee meetings or training sessions breaks up the monotony of work routines and provides reinforcement for newly learned material. It also gives trainers and supervisors a sense of participant understanding without the stress of administering a “test.” Fun learning games can also be used during office parties to help lighten the mood and give away prizes. Make your own fun learning games without the purchase of expensive software or gadgets by using simple tools and a little creativity.
Determine the learning objective(s) of the game. What points do you want to reinforce? For example, the game might be to test participants’ knowledge of company terminology or procedure, or the game might be an overall review of everything learned during the previous training session.
Think about a game format that will fit the learning objective in the time allotted. Quiz games are usually popular for learning, but can become boring and predictable. Break away from routine by thinking of popular game shows or board games currently on the market. All of these games can be adapted to fit your learning objectives.
Develop a list of questions that is relevant to your learning objective. Make sure questions can be reasonably answered in the chosen game format. For example, participants in a learning game for a furniture store play “Pictionary” to display understanding of company products. One question is the term “loveseat,” which can be drawn with a heart and a chair.
Determine the materials needed to make game components. For example, do you need score cards, dice or “buzzers”? Create game pieces accordingly using craft material or computer software.
Write the rules and instructions for the game. Be sure to include a list of materials needed and information on point systems, tiebreakers (if any) and prizes.
If possible, run through the game. Fact-check your questions for accuracy and make sure the game can be played entirely in the allotted time.
Assemble a game kit or area with all questions, instructions, and materials. This is especially important if you are using the game for several different sessions.
After the game is first played, take some time to review the effectiveness of this exercise. Did playing the game achieve the desired learning objectives? If necessary, make changes to questions or rules to make the game more successful for future sessions.
Time is an important factor in learning games. The game must be played entirely within the time allotted. Preparation time should also be noted, as this will determine how simple or fancy your game will be. If you find that too much time is needed to prepare materials, you may need to rethink the format of the game.
For “on-the-spot” games, have participants write their own questions to ask the opposing team. The process of writing the questions and answers will also enforce participant learning.
If your company can afford it, there is software that can be purchased online for training games on the market. These games are already built into popular game formats like Jeopardy or Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. All you need to do is plug in the questions and the answers, and the software does the rest.
Sometimes employees may be reluctant to participate in games for fear of looking foolish. Be sure the game fits your company’s culture and employee abilities and/or interests.
Games are just one way to reinforce learning. If you struggle with a game concept to fit your learning objective, it is probably best not to select a game at all. Choose a different training exercising instead.