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Becker businessgamesv6 Becker businessgamesv6 Document Transcript

  • Interactive Gamesfor Business TrainingRobert S. Becker, PhDBecker Multimedia, Inc.© 2011 Robert S. Becker. All rights reserved.
  • B E C K E R M U L T I M E D I AContents Foreword.....................................................................................................................1 Out of the Classroom ................................................................................................2 Serious Business ........................................................................................................3 Want to Play?..............................................................................................................4 Game On ....................................................................................................................5 Play What? .................................................................................................................6 Does Playing Work? ..................................................................................................8 How to Make It Work ...............................................................................................9 Assess the Impact.......................................................................................................10 Look Back...................................................................................................................11 Seriously, Not Serious ....................................................................12 Self-Directed Learning...................................................................12 Learning from Experience.............................................................13 Surpassing Experience...................................................................13 Equal, Better, Best - Who Cares?...................................................14 Platform Plethora ..........................................................................14 Fidelity............................................................................................15 First Person, ird Person .............................................................15 How, Not What..............................................................................15 Competition versus Cooperation...................................................16 About the Author ......................................................................................................17
  • B E C K E R M U L T I M E D I AForewordRoger Martin, Professor of Strategic Management and Dean of the Rotman School at the Univer-sity of Toronto, has promoted the disruptive concept of “qualitative intelligence” in business. Mythoughts in this paper are congruent with Dr. Martin’s thesis that a new approach to learning isneeded now. Games are a vital ingredient of that new approach, a perfect t.I have excluded footnotes. ough the paper is researched it is not so much a treatise as an exer-cise in persuasion. I believe in the virtue and strength of game mechanics for learning, and wantyou to know why. It matters less that I convince you that I am right, than that your interest ingames is aroused and you determine to nd out for yourself. Experience will convince you.e paper is based on my reading of scholarly literature about game-based learning, collegial in-teractions with expert practitioners, 25 years of experience in the design of games, simulations andother types of e-learning for business, and convictions that spring from my heart and mind. Cor-porate training should be much, much better than it is. Games may make it so.PAGE 1 — October 15, 2011 3:43 PM
  • B E C K E R M U L T I M E D I AOut of the ClassroomGames are commonplace in classroom training for business. ey are usually breakout activities incourses that consist of lecture, discussion, practice or problem-solving exercises, and assessment.Such games are additive, but rarely considered training per se. Venerable business educators suchas Jeremy Hall, Richard Teach and Sivasailam iagarajan have long championed additive gamesfacilitated by teachers or subject-matter experts, requiring the live interaction of players.By de nition, additive games illustrate and reinforce learning objectives that are attained in otherways. ey allow players to demonstrate or apply newly acquired competencies in a mode of crea-tive pretense.is is how traditional simulation works. Simulation is by far the most esteemed format of gamefor business, but students don’t play to learn. Instead they hone their skills by practicing what theyalready know.In contrast, contemporary e-learning and augmented realty games are core rather than additive,requiring no coupling with other instructional deliveries; no teacher, facilitator or subject-matterexpert either. Rather than performing a supporting role by reinforcing what was learned throughtraditional pedagogies, these web and computer-based games deliver an original, authentic learn-ing experience that completes itself — oen during actual job performance. In this way studentsdon’t play to practice, they play to learn in the rst place.▶ Performance▶ Training▶ Impact Additive CorePAGE 2 — October 15, 2011 3:43 PM
  • B E C K E R M U L T I M E D I AAs games surge beyond their niche role in the classroom and become training per se on the web,computers, mobile devices and even TV consoles, they face resistance from corporate trainingmanagers who seemingly have everything to gain by them, and nothing to lose. Why this resis-tance?Serious BusinessI rst encountered resistance to games while brainstorming a disruptive e-learning initiative for a nancial services company. My clients wanted to train tens of thousands of employees in uniquelyengaging ways. But how?I recommended game play, suggesting that “fun” was the missing ingredient in their learningstrategy — fun in the sense that Csikszentmihalyi and Koster understand the word. Employeesmust enjoy themselves for training to overcome latent resistance or indifference and go on tochange perceptions and behavior.My recommendation was met with silence, so I pressed the point: "Uh, you do think employeesshould enjoy learning, don’t you?" A manager impatiently replied that employees need not enjoythemselves. ey just need to “do what theyre paid to do.”He continued: “I have fun when I’m home. I come here to work. Same goes for employees. Lets notwaste time and money on cute stuff."I looked wide-eyed around the room, waiting for others to break out laughing and slap me on theback, shouting “Gotcha! You should see the look on your face.” Nobody did. My clients were seriousabout not having fun with learning.I went on to design an interactive scenario — a multimedia game with a social network extensionnamed Call to Service that employees learned from and liked, and which helped produce measuredbusiness results. But I never forgot that naive imprecation against having fun while learning.For many managers fun is suspect, business is serious. Hence the oxymoron that formally catego-rizes games that teach: serious games. Work Games that entertain Games that edify PlayPAGE 3 — October 15, 2011 3:43 PM
  • B E C K E R M U L T I M E D I AWant to Play?Ordinary games merely entertain, whereas serious games improve players by going “beyond enter-tainment.” Among scientists who invented the term “serious games,” this was not supposed to be adichotomy: games with a higher moral purpose did not suddenly lose their obligation to entertain,did they?Aer all, there are serious forms of entertainment across our culture and across the entertainmentindustry as well. Labeling games that teach as “serious” was supposed to make them deeper andlarger in scope rather than limit or diminish them. Players could have fun while they learned, thatwas the whole point.e reason why it rarely works that way is because the case for serious games is fueled by a soph-ism, that entertainment is incongruous with learning. Entertaining is Dionysian, teaching is Apol-lonian. ere is no basis for this dichotomy in history, science or the arts, but it seems to dominatethe semi-professional community that creates business training.Yet games must be played. Unlike other forms of training, they are not read, attended, watched,studied or memorized. Games are played. A game that isn’t played is not a game at all.Play by de nition is “to engage in activity for enjoyment and recreation rather than a serious orpractical purpose.” If games are meant to be played, it is easy to appreciate resistance to themamong managers of business training. Aer all, playing is goo ng off, fooling around, zoning out,having fun. Ergo playing cannot be training; play is oblivious, sometimes contrary to learning.Well, not quite. ere is more to the notion of play than mindless fun. It turns out that to play is tolearn, and not only among adults who require training to do their work. e earliest childhoodexperience of methodical or structured learning is a mode of play called creative pretense. Kidsimagine a situation that doesn’t actually exist, and work out a problem to emerge a winner or tryagain until it comes out right.is is precisely what adult training games do, only the situation and the problem are imagined byanalysts, instructional designers, artists and game developers rather than players. It’s still up to aplayer to make the game come out right. As that happens, swi and deep learning occurs — moreoen than not.Creative pretense helps children learn, but it doesn’t stop helping when they grow up. It also helpsadults — for example in business case studies, role plays, scenarios and simulations. All are basedon a core of creative pretense. Each is a kind of sandbox for grown ups.ese hallowed learning strategies use creative pretense, what the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridgecalled “the willing suspension of disbelief.” When airline pilots approach a runway in a ight train-ing simulator or bioinformatisists fuse virtual proteins or executives answer “what if ” questions inenterprise scenario planning, they are all “playing.” By virtue of the joy and freedom of play, theyPAGE 4 — October 15, 2011 3:43 PM
  • B E C K E R M U L T I M E D I Aare learning from experience: not what the teacher told them, not what the textbook says, but whatthey discovered and comprehended by playing a challenging game on their own or with others.Game OnTo play a serious game is to learn and become more competent. It is also to be entertained andenjoy a contest or challenge for its own sake: to solve make-believe problems in an unreal situa-tion, without a serious or practical purpose.ere is no dichotomy here, no Hegelian dialectic of opposing forces. e bipolar interplay be-tween learning and enjoyment - Apollo and Dionysius - can produce a thrilling liberation fortraining designers and managers who grasp its implications.Freed from the constraints of not being fun in order to achieve a serious purpose, designers of e-learning can be inspired, instructed and mentored by their peers in the entertainment industryand still con dently address loy or difficult learning objectives. ey must be so inspired in orderto design games that are core and not merely additive. Entertainment Purpose Difference Inquiry Learning Serious Games Escape Engage Commerce GamesPAGE 5 — October 15, 2011 3:43 PM
  • B E C K E R M U L T I M E D I APlay What?Precisely what is a business training game? A business game is an episode of play with these essen-tial ingredients:1. Exposition that de nes a pretend situation2. Sequence of goal-oriented activities3. Surprising challenges as the sequence unfolds4. Consequences at each turn5. Rewards attained through competence, intuition, persistence or luck6. Competition for rewards7. Punishment for failures8. Rules that govern play9. Limited duration of play10. A conclusion that resolves the situationere are just four pillars of game design for corporate e-learning. is basic taxonomy is my in-vention and has not been veri ed by scholarly research, but it aids the understanding of how busi-ness training games work:• Puzzle. Problem-solving play that spawns and develops competencies• Scenario. Stories in which players join and learn from others’ experience• Simulation. Exploration in which players learn from their own experience• Immersion. Play enriched with affective and conative aestheticsPuzzle and scenario games are usually behaviorist. Interactions are shallow though they may belengthy. Content and ow are prescriptive, program code is compact and repetitive. ese gamesare basic but nonetheless improve the competencies of players — especially those whose learningoccurs at the bottom or middle rungs of Bloom’s Taxonomy.In contrast, simulative or immersive games are constructivist. ey have deeper, more dynamicand complex interactions that may be powered by arti cial intelligence and computer modeling ofcontext, situation, environment, process, objects or people. Simulation and immersion supportmore estimable learning objectives that occur on the higher rungs of Bloom’s Taxonomy.PAGE 6 — October 15, 2011 3:43 PM
  • B E C K E R M U L T I M E D I ALearning is the process of gaining understanding that leads to the modi cation of attitudes and behaviorsthrough the acquisition of knowledge, skills and values, through study and experience. Learning causes achange of behavior that is persistent, measurable, and speci ed or allows an individual to formulate a newmental construct or revise a prior mental construct (conceptual knowledge such as attitudes or values). It isa process that depends on experience and leads to long-term changes in behavior potential. Behavior poten-tial describes the possible behavior of an individual (not actual behavior) in a given situation in order toachieve a goal. But potential is not enough; if individual learning is not periodically reinforced, it becomesshallower and shallower, and eventually will be lost in that individual. (Wikipedia) PAGE 7 — October 15, 2011 3:43 PM
  • B E C K E R M U L T I M E D I Ae greater time and cost of developing high- delity simulation and immersion have deterredbusinesses from deploying more sophisticated training games. Most managers don’t see the ROI ina costly sim — but not because it isn’t there. e math is simply not compatible with myopic plan-ning horizons.Barriers to simulation and immersion are coming down thanks to increasing capability, lower costof development tools and appliances, the propagation of very fast ber optic networks — and ofcourse the catastrophic failure of entrenched pedagogies with younger students and employees.Riding the coattails of the entertainment game industry, which is investing in cinematographicand 3D games, it is reasonable to expect that simulative and immersive games will pervade busi-ness training in the relatively near future. Tangible barriers of cost and technology will have van-ished in the meantime, as the vocal demand for engaging content continues to grow.Does Playing Work?ere is considerable research on the efficacy of interactive training games in general, much of itdefensive in posture. Investigators by and large report positively on the impact of games on learn-ing, and at the same time question the validity of their ndings.is dissonance was neatly re ected by Janis Cannon-Bowers: “Simulations. We have plenty of em-pirical studies about simulations over the last 25 years. We know simulations work. We know simula-tions improve performance. We know simulations improve learning. Yet, I challenge anyone to showme a literature review of empirical studies about game-based learning. ere are none. We are charg-ing head-long into game-based learning without knowing if it works or not. We need studies.”Coincident with this warning, Simon Egenfeldt-Nielsen published a review of research on theeducational use of video games, where he concluded: “It can certainly be said that video games fa-cilitate learning, but the evidence for saying any more than this is weak. Few current studies comparevideo games with other teaching styles, which is the ultimate test. […] e question is: what is it thatvideo games offer that sets them apart from existing educational practice?”Simon answered his own question through the lens of four popular learning theories, three ofwhich are compatible with the design of corporate e-learning: behaviorism, cognitivism and con-structivism. He found support for all three in game play, noting that e-learning games tend to im-prove learning across all dimensions. He did not discover any innate characteristics of game playthat impede learning, with one possible exception: the polarity between learning and entertain-ment.PAGE 8 — October 15, 2011 3:43 PM
  • B E C K E R M U L T I M E D I AHow to Make It WorkUnlike entertainment games, the design of effective game-based e-learning may be guided by in-structional systems design (ISD) though it rarely is. ISD is a generally accepted framework andmethodology for creating effective business training.ISD is theory-, strategy- and technology-independent. It is a dynamic process that guides rational,coherent decision making for the analysis, design, development, implementation and evaluation ofany and all training — including e-learning games.ough not a rule book or blueprint, ISD is a reliable tool for ensuring the efficacy of traininggames before they are designed. Although it is uniquely suited to learning applications and doesnot enhance the creation of entertainment, it doesn’t impede the design of entertainment either.e two disciplines can co-create the same game.To create training games without ISD is to invite problems — not because the training is entertain-ing, but because it may be poorly made strictly from an instructional systems perspective. Hencethe criticism that sometimes greets training games: gimmicky, super cial, not serious. is is al-most always a re ection on inferior instructional design rather than intrusive game play. Fun Serious Fun Serious Game Development Instructional Design Games that entertain Games that edifyPAGE 9 — October 15, 2011 3:43 PM
  • B E C K E R M U L T I M E D I AAssess the ImpactResearch on the efficacy of training games is not extensive or widely understood. However thestructures for incentivizing and measuring the efficacy of corporate learning — which includesgame-based training — are well established.I hate to say it because it ignores so much value, but the efficacy of training is always deemed afunction of performance, impact and results. Not whether the employee enjoyed the training, notwhat the employee learned in the broadest sense, but only what difference the employee can makein a business process — behavioral outcomes in the near term.ese three measures of efficacy — performance, impact and results — are operationalized in theclassic four levels of training evaluation (Kirkpatrick) that apply to games just as they do to otherpedagogies:• Level 1. Did players appreciate the game and feel it was relevant and helpful?• Level 2. Did players acquire new and useful competencies by playing the game?• Level 3. Did players evince their new competencies in job performance?• Level 4. Did operations improve as a result of their improved performance?Note that the three measures of training efficacy and ve levels of evaluation are extrinsic. eyassess the aer effects of games rather than intrinsic qualities of the games themselves. Results Impact Performance Reaction Learning Behavior Results TrainingPAGE 10 — October 15, 2011 3:43 PM
  • B E C K E R M U L T I M E D I Aanks to this outward-turned and longer-range perspective, the measures and levels ignore pa-rameters such as fun, technical sophistication and aesthetics. Such parameters are not measurableunless they increase the cost of training development and delivery — in which case the impact ismeasured against ROI on level 4.is is just the opposite of the way entertainment games are evaluated by consumers, who attendprimarily to intrinsic properties such as originality, realism, cleverness, complexity, style, excite-ment, technical wizardry and surprise. Consumers don’t expect to learn or pro t from entertain-ment — though they don’t object to that either. ey object to “serious” only if it interferes withfun.Do students of e-learning likewise object to entertainment? ere is no research indicating thatthey do. Symmetric with consumers, students object to fun only if it interferes with learning.Look BackMeasures of training efficacy and levels of training evaluation don’t dwell on fun. at’s probablyas it should be, because fun does not itself produce measurable behavioral results in the near term.Fun may excite attention, spur enjoyment and increase the conscious arena. It may promote en-gagement, stimulate the appetite for knowledge and bolster resilience and persistence, ultimatelyteaching players how to learn.So what? Corporate training managers by and large couldn’t care less about how employees learn.ey are accountable only for what is learned and the difference it makes aer the training itselfhas been forgotten.It is hard for researchers to establish what players can learn from games in contrast to other train-ing methods, partly because games have been examined as a unique genus of learning. us onone hand there are games, and on the other there are pedagogies that may be compared withgames.is contradistinction is nonsensical. It is smarter to view training games not as a genus, but as aspecies of e-learning with a few distinct affordances such as deep interactivity, rich multimediacontent and the requirement to be played. ough training games are rarely if ever classi ed as e-learning in research studies, that is exactly what they are. ey are very rarely “videogames” (themost persistent moniker).Am I quibbling about semantics? Does it even matter? Yes, very much. While research on the effi-cacy of business training games is embryonic, research on the efficacy of e-learning is mature andabundant. Everything that has been revealed about the impact of high-quality e-learning may beassociated with — and demonstrated by — good interactive games because most of those gamesare a species of e-learning.PAGE 11 — October 15, 2011 3:43 PM
  • B E C K E R M U L T I M E D I Ae affordances of high quality e-learning that training games may claim are:• Lower cost of training delivery and curriculum/course ownership• Faster and easier delivery of instruction and learning• Higher test scores and longer retention of attainments• More adaptive instruction• Higher- delity job task simulation• More meaningful forms of interactivity and diverse instructional strategies• Student control of learning and intelligent branching• Pinpoint skills assessment coupled with remediation• More varied styles of assessment• More consistent quality of instruction across numerous deliveriesSetting aside the false dichotomy between training games and e-learning in general, the case forgame-based business training can be made more con dently. e research has been done, the fail-ure is in our limited understanding of it. Meantime, the anecdotal and qualitative research ongames is also encouraging. Here are a few pertinent highlights.Seriously, Not SeriousEnjoyment, escape and social affiliation — but not concentration and epistemic curiosity — pre-dict an intention to play games. us training games should retain the engaging and motivatingproperties of games in general. If they are truly fun to play, they will be more effective.My purpose in this paper is to defend those intrinsic properties of games in corporate learning.While play enriches learning experience, the robust methodologies of ISD and training evaluationwill ensure that instruction produces desirable results. Game mechanics do not have to bear thatresponsibility, and in fact should not.Self-Directed LearningLike couch potatoes in front of a television, people spend huge amounts of time playing games.Even when games are moronically repetitive and crude, players don’t weary of them until the haveexhausted the challenges by solving the problem. People are more persistent in game play andmore cognitively committed and immersed in games, compared with other styles of entertain-ment.e same may be vouched for instruction. A more important point for business training is that, inview of the popularity of games and the many hours devoted to voluntary game play, employeesmay stay with training longer and get more involved in their learning experience without beingforced by assignments and evaluations.PAGE 12 — October 15, 2011 3:43 PM
  • B E C K E R M U L T I M E D I Aere are huge operational and nancial bene ts associated with this difference. It shows how tokeep the ultimate promise of all e-learning — available “on demand” where, when and how thestudent wants and needs to learn.Game play ups the ante not by teaching better or forcing students to study harder, but by increas-ing student receptivity to their own wants and needs. Every professor and trainer who has stood ata lectern, facing a forbidding wall of blank stares, appreciates the value of this difference. Studentswho play are incentivized both to stay in the game and continuously improve.Learning from ExperienceGames involving simulation are classi ed as experiential learning. Players learn through discovery,practice and feedback rather than absorbing information. ey more easily transfer competenciesthey acquire from experience to real job tasks.But not all games are simulations. at does not that mean that non simulative games are not ex-periential. All games are experiential — those that simulate and those that use other forms such aspuzzle, scenario or immersion.e reason why simulations work well is not because they simulate per se, but because they deliversome of the key affordances of e-learning - in particular user control of nonlinear instruction, high delity practice, hard challenge and intense interactivity.Games must be played and therefore they must be experienced. ey cannot be read or watched.at is the key cognitive, affective and conative procedure for all training games including thosethat simulate.Surpassing ExperienceIn a well-known study of medical game-based training, the amount of past video game experiencesuccessfully predicted better behavioral outcomes. Traditional long term indices of pro ciency —such as years of training and amount of actual job experience — were unrelated to demonstratedskill while game playing, which is of relatively short duration, was reported to be related to thatskill. Aer only three trials of six tasks each, students approached the performance of experiencedpractitioners on a virtual reality simulator.ough this insight concerns a professional rather than business training, it suggests that undersome circumstances learning from experience in a game may be a more reliable predictor of com-petence than on the job training or experience in the workplace.e insight may seem surprising at rst glance, but a similar principle is evident in training forairplane pilots, who continue to train on ight simulators for their entire careers in the air. Flightsimulators augment ying experience that pilots actually have with virtual experience that in-PAGE 13 — October 15, 2011 3:43 PM
  • B E C K E R M U L T I M E D I Acreases competencies to otherwise unattainable levels. Flight simulators also make critical trainingmissions less expensive, more convenient, and safer from the consequences of trainee errors.Recall what I said earlier about additive versus core training, and what I said later about the elusiveROI of game-based training to myopic planners. e case for the efficacy and cost efficiency ofgame-based learning has been established in some professions and industries. More will inevitablyfollow. ere are fewer and fewer reasons to oppose it.Equal, Better, Best - Who Cares?e superiority of games for instruction over other kinds of e-learning has not been establishedaccording to research I have reviewed. But the superiority of highly interactive e-learning com-pared to other styles of instruction has long been established, across several dimensions of value.Since games are among the most highly interactive styles of e-learning, it is reasonable to expectthat ndings from research on e-learning apply to games as well.Does it matter whether games are equal, better or best compared with other pedagogies? Probablynot because whatever the case, it makes good business sense to train with games — or more gen-erally, with highly interactive e-learning — compared to training with human instructors which isusually neither game-changing nor cost effective.Platform PlethoraInteractive games are played on the web, computers, mobile devices, and TV consoles. ey arealso played in blended deliveries — for example augmented reality in which virtual and real worldingredients intermingle.Each of these platform choices implies a different suite of development tools, a different array ofaudience characteristics and expectations, different economies and different levels of integrationwith corporate learning management. Yet observers typically refer to learning games as thoughthey were just one genre.Because my focus is games in business training, I chose to treat all training games as e-learning.However, at lower levels of game design, development and implementation, platform should betaken into consideration when planning and assessing the efficacy of game-based e-learning.A rose is a rose, as Gertrude Stein wrote, but e-learning is not m-learning is not social gaming isnot video gaming is not ARG.PAGE 14 — October 15, 2011 3:43 PM
  • B E C K E R M U L T I M E D I AFidelityHigh delity simulation or immersion has been shown to kindle student engagement. It has like-wise been shown to impede concentration and epistemic curiosity, as game play detaches fromand overwhelms instruction.Apart from the obvious remedy of keeping instructional design and game design in balance, I havenoticed two recent trends in game aesthetics that are worth mentioning here.One is the emergence of cinematographic videogames on TV consoles. ese games exploit ad-vanced technologies to render with hyper realism. e result is a gorgeous playing eld and a plat-form for extremely compelling storytelling.e second is the opposite: a reaction against technology and cinéma-vérité and a return to morerudimentary gaming of yesteryear. is reaction delivers two potential bene ts to training games:greater “authenticity” from being not slick, seeming not manipulative; and greater efficiency frombeing less costly to create and deliver.ere is a role for both higher and lower delity courses, depending on learning objectives and theoutcomes of a cost bene t analysis. For example, I want nuclear reactor operators and investmentbankers to train with high- delity simulation, and I am comfortable with sales associates at themall training with puzzles and scenarios. e ends and the students themselves justify the means.First Person, Third PersonMy discussion of creative pretense claimed that pretending something, as in a game, is a step to-wards learning it. A related point to keep in mind is that some research on game-based learningshows that rst-person play, in which the player is represented by an avatar in a pretend situation,is more effective than third-person play where an omniscient player manipulates other characters.Clearly, this is an important nding for instructional as well as game design. Control of learningbelongs with the student, and it is likely to increase with personal involvement in the challenges.How, Not WhatTrainees who are expert game players have faster response times than novices. Playing actiongames also improves ability to keep track of events at multiple locations. In general, more skilledvideogame players have better developed attention skills than their less skilled peers.is nding is similar to a popular perception that gamers are more responsive and have moresensitive receptors by virtue of game play. A sarcastic inference is that games train people to be-come better game players and that is all.PAGE 15 — October 15, 2011 3:43 PM
  • B E C K E R M U L T I M E D I AIn fact games equip students with keener powers of perception, recall and capacity to use informa-tion. By virtue of play itself, their ability to engage personally with content increases along withtheir powers to organize and make use of random information.Gamers learn how to learn and that may be why they become better at other games with more playexperience. is is an extremely important nding for business and industry, where metacognitionand adaptive learning are key to success in higher order jobs and careers — as explained inBloom’s Taxonomy.Competition versus CooperationI include competition in my de nition of games. Some scholars have questioned the effectivenessof competitive factors in training. Although it may facilitate the performance of some individuals,it impedes the performance of others who have negative attitudes towards competition, resultingin little overall performance improvement.I believe this concern is irrelevant to business training games, because evaluation criteria in busi-ness are by de nition competitive. Most employees can never be successful in absolute terms, onlyin relative terms. ere is always competition for the brass ring and the bar is getting ever higher.Since competitiveness is a factor in business job performance, it must be a factor in corporatetraining as well — whether or not employees are comfortable with it. Gamers are not only com-fortable, they relish it.Research also shows that players with negative or relaxed attitudes towards competition becomemore competitive as they play, and this is bene cial. By becoming more competitive in a game,players acquire a competency that may not be mentioned in a learning objective, but which has ahuge bearing on their ability to perform and have an impact and deliver results.Constructivist approaches which currently dominate educational practices emphasize collabora-tion in communities. Clearly, the balance between competition and cooperation in games is a vitalingredient of successful instructional design and game design.PAGE 16 — October 15, 2011 3:43 PM
  • B E C K E R M U L T I M E D I AAbout the AuthorI serve as a creative consultant, designer and producer to larger organizations in a wide varietyindustries. I started Becker Multimedia in 1994 as a developer of premium corporate learning andcommunications. I currently lead the Serious Games SIG of the International Game DevelopersAssociation and the Serious Games track of the Georgia Game Developers Association. I am VicePresident of Programs for the Chicago Chapter of the American Society of Learning and Devel-opment.Earlier on I read modern British literature and history at New York University (BA, MA), the Uni-versity of Reading (PhD) and the University of Pittsburgh (Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship). Myinvolvement with instructional technology began when I was a professor of English.Email: bob@beckermultimedia.comPhone: (312) 788-7719LinkedIn: Robert Becker in ChicagoTwitter: BeckermultiWeb: http://www: beckermultimedia.comPAGE 17 — October 15, 2011 3:43 PM