Friday, 19 November 2010

10 Tips on Getting Buy-in for Games Based Learning


I was recently involved in a Linked-in discussion, debating how "How do you position games for learning within your organization?" I thought I would share my thoughts on my new blog. So here goes...

My ten tips:

  1. What's in a name: We don't simply call them games, we use the term learning simulations or games based learning for our products. This was especially true in the early days (10 years ago), when we were scared to mention the "G" word. In recent years, though, we have started using serious games, but we still prefer learning simulations for the adult learning and games based learning for education.
  2. An obvious point, but, selling gets easy over time as you have examples to show and you can reference sell using previous (happy) clients. Also, the more you sell / deliver, the more you gain confidence, and that shows in you pitch / delivery. Until then it’s a case of fake it till you make it.
  3. Sell and do projects with the public sector. They were more innovative and had more cash. Note: this tip is somewhat useless these days :( But, it is worth noting, as it really can be thought of as, "you can only sell to someone who wants to buy".
  4. Make the games authentic (think situated learning, which could well be my next blog). We simulate partnership working, budgeting and delivering outcomes. We set these in a resource management game.
  5. Leading on from authenticity, use games appropriately. If a game is more than an ice-breaker then it should be fit for purpose. Specifically, we wouldn’t simulate wiring a plug (as it can be simply explained with a video / animation) but do simulate sustainable communities, because it can’t be explained in a linear fashion.
  6. Complexity: If like ours your products are built around a complex algorithm, then the reaction from clients and potential users is more likely to be wow that’s impressive rather than the learning looking trivial.
  7. Have a score. A key element to motivation is having a score. This works in delivery as the team wants to beat the other department / authority / company. And it works in selling as the client wants to benchmark themselves.
  8. Make the games visual: A key element to motivation is having nice graphics - a town that improves and progress represented in visual reports. Again, though, they need to be fit for purpose rather than gimmicky. The visuals also provide a quick hook in a sales demo.
  9. Sales and marketing: Get in front of people or put a demo on a website. Sell the benefits not the features. Get people to come to one of your workshops – seeing is believing. As stated, if possible, hook people in with a score, or find another hook.
  10. Don't give up.

Hope that helps. Would you add anything else?
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