Training games for soft skills development

In the past 20 years, how and when we train workers has changed. Technology has created individual and shared learning spaces and the thing we're now often concerned about is the decline in teamwork and people's ability to work together and communicate appropriately with customers, team members and others.

One way of adding these 'soft skills' to training is to use games or game-based learning. Mostly the approach is to use online learning via a LMS or video-type games. Not everyone loves or can access online training or video games so where do old-style board games fit into modern-day training?

In the article here, GameLearn discusses 8 benefits of games for learning that include:

  • Stimulates the mind
  • Improves self-esteem
  • Application to the real world
  • Permanent personal development
  • Immediate feedback 
  • Interactive nature
  • Collaborative learning
  • Unique model

All of these benefits are addressed in the games from Vocational Training Materials Australia.

These are all unique games written from specific units of competency in Australian Training packages.

The games use a Monopoly-style board game format or a Jeopardy-style for the online Quiz game specifically because they draw the players together to work as teams or to facilitate conversation. Through the game-play students talk through and advocate for their position on topics, giving trainers lots of evidence of student knowledge and understanding.

The depth of application to the real world comes through in the scenario questions where students are challenged to explain how they would deal with situations in their workplace based on the topics of the unit of competency.

It can be tricky integrating the learning of soft skills into training for students. They often don't identify that need in themselves and can be offended if this is suggested. Using training games to integrate soft skills by stealth can be a way of achieving multiple outcomes at the same time... training content review and soft skills development. 

Trainers can customise the questions and update answers as needed. Every class is different and will need to be challenged in different ways. The games can be used to achieve this.

If trainers video the gameplay, the games can then also be used for assessment - either formative or summative. The advantage is that students get immediate feedback on their knowledge, study opportunity and a chance to hear other student's perspectives. 

Because the questions are mapped to the unit's performance criteria, the games are ASQA audit compliant. Of course, this will depend on customisations trainers make and any additional mapping done at that time. Remember that RTOs will need to validate these resources periodically to be ASQA compliant.

Training games...seriously!

Julie


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