How to Successfully Design Serious Games Based On Your Business Objectives
The theory behind serious games is that they covertly convey knowledge and skills that your employees need in the real world. They have so much fun interacting with the characters and tackling the challenges that they forget they are learning. However, all of this is for nothing if your staff doesn’t achieve the desired results and improve performance behaviors. The main goal is to use training games to target your business objectives so that employees live up to company standards. So that they’re equipped to handle customer complaints, land more sales and stay in compliance. Here are some top tips to successfully design serious games that hit on the three P’s: profitability, productivity and performance management.
Top Tips To Design Serious Games To Achieve Your Objectives
1. Clarify Your Objectives (And The Training Goals Behind Them)
The aim of the serious game is to achieve your business objectives. But first, you have to define what they are and how your training goals support them. Create targeted objective statements and determine how they tie into performance behaviors or skills you need to hone. For example, the game must bridge anti-harassment policy gaps so that you can cultivate a more supportive workplace and avoid compliance penalties.
2. Find The Right Rapid Authoring Tool With Built-In Assets
A rapid authoring tool can cut costs and reduce development time. Your team doesn’t have to be pro game developers who can code every line. The authoring software features templates, characters and interactions they can use to design engaging serious games. Take a test drive to verify that the tool-of-choice has a sufficient asset library. Which also gives you the opportunity to ensure that your team can master its features (instead of dealing with a large learning curve).
3. Focus On Behavioral Change Instead Of Backstory
The mistake that many organizations make is to concentrate so much on the character development and story that behavioral change goes out the window. Remember, the purpose behind your serious games is to achieve the business objectives by bridging gaps and facilitating real-world experience. Involved character backstories or intricate plots for the sake of entertainment will only serve as a distraction. That said, you should include an underlying plot to tie everything together and create an emotional connection. Just don’t dwell on what the main character had for lunch or go into their entire professional history.
4. Transform Everyday Challenges Into Gamified Obstacles
The beauty of using serious games based on your business objectives is that you can subtly facilitate change and fill performance gaps. The secret is to transform everyday obstacles and sticking points into gamified challenges. For instance, your employees are having trouble raising those customer satisfaction scores. Thus, your game might feature an angry consumer who wants to return an item. The trainee must navigate the in-game hurdles by displaying their service skills and identifying the customer’s needs.
5. Integrate Multimedia Wisely
It’s tempting to incorporate as many dazzling effects as you can, trying to bedazzle employees into participating. However, there is a point where the multimedia becomes just another distraction. It might even cause cognitive overload. For this reason, you must be selective about which interactive elements you include. Every component needs to serve a purpose. A rich soundtrack, advanced special effects and involved interactions might create more immersion. However, they may also make things complicated for mobile learners who need a compressed gaming experience.
6. Incorporate Game Mechanics To Fuel Motivation
Another valuable addition to your serious games is rewards. Specifically, game mechanics that offer players (AKA employees) an extra incentive and fuel their motivation. Aside from the usual in-game levels, you can give them the chance to earn badges and points. Or move up a spot on the leaderboard for achieving a high score. But there’s also an interior motive. These mechanics provide employees with subtle feedback they can use to improve. For example, not earning the minimum amount of points lets them know there’s still room to grow so that they can meet company standards.
7. Develop A Rough Sketch To Gather Feedback
Feedback is a two-way street. You can also use it to improve your serious game design so that it better aligns with your business objectives. Develop a rough sketch or prototype. Then invite a group of employees to test it out and provide their input. You may discover that the game controls are too complicated. Or that it doesn’t emphasize skills that tie into the task. Even a storyboard shared with your team can clue you into behaviors, abilities, or gaps you’re missing from the game.
8.Follow-Up With Immediate Results And Recommendations
Serious online training games do facilitate mistake-driven learning. However, you should also follow-up with targeted results to point out mistakes and areas for improvement. As well as resource recommendations employees can use to rectify the issue. Such as a simulation that can help them fine-tune their communication skills. Or a video demo that walks them through the work-related task. Their serious game performance dictates which items on their resource list require attention so that they can focus on personal sticking points. Rather than providing them generic recommendations that center on common weaknesses.
Serious games are often misunderstood. Organizations have a hard time reconciling how an entertaining gaming experience can support their business objectives. But it’s all in the design. Map out your goals beforehand and which behaviors you want to encourage (and deter). Then transform those everyday problems and situations into an immersive gaming environment with a rich (but not distracting) plot. You should also be careful about how you integrate multimedia and follow-up to ensure the information sticks.
You need an authoring tool that simplifies serious game development and allows you to easily update your design. Our directory features the leading software on the market so that you can find the best platform for your budget (and objectives):