The ideal of interactive, highly-engaging training and education is ancient. A Chinese proverb says: "Tell me, and I'll forget. Show me, and I may remember. Involve me, and I'll understand." However, the gap continues to grow between antiquated, passive training methods and a workforce that lives an ever more interactive, multimedia, user-controlled lifestyle. With game-based learning tools to bridge that gap comes the promise of vastly more productive and engaged students and workers—ones who embrace learning.
There are two approaches to games and learning, namely, Game-Based Learning (GBL) and gamification. GBL, also referred to as 'Serious Games', which are computer or video games designed for a primary purpose (education or solving a problem) other than entertainment. This involves the use of simulations to support teaching and learning. Gaming simulation is an interactive-learning environment that makes it possible to cope with authentic situations that closely mimic reality. According to Kip Kelly (2013) “serious games can allow players to apply what they have learned in an L&D [Learning and Development] experience and apply it in a safe, simulated environment. For example, health care professionals can practice a new medical procedure using a serious simulation game before introducing it in the workplace”.
There have been several studies conducted on learning and serious games, for example, a recent study by the Office of Naval Research found that video game players performed ten to twenty percent better in perceptual and cognitive ability than non-game players, and that video games helped adults process information faster(Steinberg,2012). Another study by the Federation of American Scientists found that students remembered only 10 percent of what they read; 20 percent of what they heard; 30 percent if they used visuals related to what they heard; and 50 percent if they watched someone performing a task while explaining it, and almost 90 percent if they do the job themselves, even if only as a simulation.(IBM staff, n.d)
Gamification, on the other hand, is 'the use of gaming techniques, game thinking, and game mechanics to enhance non-game contexts (Pitts 2012). Elements of this, derived from video-game design; namely, points, leader-boards, competition, and achievements, are deployed in a variety of contexts, rather than about using individual video games. One example of this is how by using gamification (adding gaming feedback, DevHub saw a 70 percent increase in web developers finishing their websites. This was possible because gamification assumes that the player is not motivated at the beginning beginning of the game, and through accelerated feedback from all users, competition and incentives increases motivation. It should be noted that gamification techniques do not have to be rooted in technology. For example, leader boards can be visual aids posted in a department to motivate and inform workers about departmental goal...