Why board games can be more effective than e-learning

An Coppens is a well-respected writer and developer on the topic of games for adult learning. See her post here. (Please note Vocational Training Materials Australia  has no connection to Gamification Nation and the post linked is all the work of An Coppens) 

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I totally agree with An about the potential for board games to be more effective in the learning environment than e-learning especially when those setting the agenda for the activity have clarity of purpose and desired outcomes.

Board games are inherently social and provide great opportunities for players to talk, learn from others, sort through topics, and work as teams when the game is set up that way. Of course, there are many ways to achieve this outcome and knowing what you want the players to get out of the experience is key to the design and making process.

This is why all of the games at Vocational Training Materials Australia are based on Australian Training Packages units of competency. Every game is mapped to the Performance Criteria and Foundation Skills of the unit. The game elements are kept as simple as possible as the desire is for the content of the questions and the ensuing conversation to be the focus of the activity. Winning points and game-play is secondary to the opportunity for participants to show what they know and really drill deeply into the knowledge and skills demanded in the unit.

When done purposefully, the game can be used by trainers and assessors for evidence of competency against the unit. A video of the activity provides solid evidence of learner competency. The Q&A booklet with the questions and answers provides the validation and consistency documentation required for ASQA compliance. These can be edited and customised to meet the needs of your class. Just keep a copy for any audits.

Learning doesn't have to be all serious and boring. Sometimes the most serious topics need a light touch. Play the games, gather the evidence, check out the depth of learning and understanding.

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