How Do You Evaluate The Effectiveness Of Your Serious Game?
Serious games have emerged as a transformative tool for promoting skill acquisition and development within organizations. The unique combination of entertainment and learning manages to engage employees, increase motivation, and make training more effortless than ever. But how can we accurately assess the effectiveness of serious games, given their innovation and complexity? In this article, we explore various metrics you need to monitor, classified into 6 different categories, that will give insightful information about the success of your serious game learning strategy.
Essential Factors And Metrics For The Assessment Of Serious Games
1. Learning Outcomes
What is the most important measurement of serious game effectiveness if not the learning that they help accomplish? When gauging learning outcomes, we are interested in harvesting meaningful data regarding the impact serious games have on knowledge and skill development. There are various factors one can assess at this point, such as knowledge gained, skills that have been acquired, and immediate behavioral changes that have come as a result of serious games. You can secure this information using surveys and assessments before and after the completion of training. The subsequent comparison of these numbers will paint a clear picture of your staff’s learning progress.
2. Employee Engagement And Motivation
The success of your serious game training plan heavily depends on its ability to engage your employees and captivate their attention. The more engaged in the learning process employees are, the more time and attention they will invest in accomplishing their learning objectives. A straightforward way to gather information about employee engagement is to ask their opinion about the serious game. Qualitative data about the times they feel frustration, satisfaction, or motivation while playing can give you valuable insights into the learning experience. Other quantitative metrics would be measuring the time employees spend playing, how often they access the game, and how many levels or modules they complete in a given amount of time.
3. Retention And Transfer Of Knowledge
Knowledge acquisition is undoubtedly an important measure of serious game effectiveness. However, what you should really be looking at is if your employees are retaining and applying what they learn to improve their performance. If not, it’s a telling sign that you need to reformulate the learning material. Knowledge transfer can also be measured with follow-up assessments that compare employee performance before and after training. If you want to assess the long-term impact of learning too, make sure to repeat these assessments after a few months or years. You can also leverage the serious games themselves and construct scenario-based assessments that mimic real-world situations that require employees to implement their knowledge in a risk-free environment.
4. Assessing Game Mechanics
Another factor that ties into the effectiveness of serious games is game mechanics or, in other words, the rules, controls, and requirements of the game. It’s essential to keep a close eye on them, as they can significantly affect engagement and, subsequently, learning outcomes. Various metrics can showcase how well you have designed your serious game, such as game completion rates, heatmaps that showcase how players progress from one level to the other, number of attempts per challenge, frequency of failure, and many more. These metrics can shed light on the spots in the game where your employees get stuck and show whether they encourage learning from their mistakes or frustrate them to the point of giving up.
5. Customization And Accessibility
A serious game for corporate training must be accessible to everyone. That includes learning preferences and, most importantly, disabilities. You can easily gauge how accessible your serious game is by measuring its compliance with accessibility standards and providing tools that accommodate different types of disabilities, such as text-to-speech features, image settings, keyboard navigation, etc. By monitoring customization usage, you can also define how many of your employees customize their learning experience and even calculate the impact it has on their learning. Specifically, it’s possible that employees who leverage customization and accessibility features get a more satisfactory and efficient learning experience. This information will help you refine the serious game and make it more accessible and inclusive.
Although last on our list, assessing the cost-effectiveness of serious games is a top priority for many businesses. And who can blame them? Serious game design and development can use up many resources, and it’s only normal to expect a certain Return On Investment. This process involves tallying up all the costs of development and implementation and comparing them to the financial benefits your organization has achieved. Such benefits would include increased innovation, a boost in productivity, or an added competitive advantage. Resources you save must also be taken into account in this stage, such as improving employee retention, streamlining onboarding, and reducing on-the-job errors, among others.
Feedback Is Key
Assessing the effectiveness of serious games is a multilayered process that requires you to take multiple factors into account. To ensure its success, it’s also important that you use various tools, such as quizzes, surveys, analytics, heatmaps, and so on. But it all boils down to keeping open communication channels with your employees and maintaining a feedback loop. This way, they will feel comfortable sharing their opinions about the serious game and provide you with insightful ideas about how to improve the overall experience.