One of the greatest challenges companies face when designing an online training plan is capturing their student’s attention. In general, people have a fairly limited attention span, and this is reduced even further when it comes to training processes. To solve this problem, businesses need to design innovative and interactive learning experiences, which deliberately focus on capturing student attention.
One such experience is game-based learning (GBL), a strategy that uses elements borrowed from games to promote knowledge retention, and encourage students to apply learning practically in day-to-day tasks.
When it comes to accessible e-learning courses, this method is still highly effective, but it does require some specific guidelines to be followed in order to ensure accessibility. Keep reading to discover the benefits of this approach, and learn about some accessible games!
The benefits of game-based learning: how can it empower my team?
Game-based learning allows your workers to acquire knowledge in a practical and effective way, but its benefits go so much further than this:
Boosts motivation and commitment
Adding dynamics, such as scoring points for successfully carrying out activities, or using a timer to add an element of excitement, will make training stimulating and entertaining for students.
Improves knowledge retention
In most cases, gamification features multimedia elements such as images or videos that can help improve knowledge retention by up to 70%, according to Cody Blair’s learning pyramid.
Game-based learning puts students back in control of their learning. The structure of a game allows students to gain immediate feedback on their training performance, providing them with guidance on what they’ve learned successfully, as well aso what they should improve.
Promotes the development of soft skills
As students acquire more knowledge, they naturally develop other soft skills, such as critical thinking or problem solving. Game-based learning forces players to analyze each decision and each situation in front of them, before making the all-important next move.
Allows you to set (and meet!) goals
This approach sets clear and specific training goals, encouraging students to focus on the skills and knowledge they really need to develop.
Builds emotional connections
Game-based learning helps students to overcome obstacles and absorb new information in a more playful, enjoyable way. This has a positive impact, as students who perceive their training as a good experience are more likely to establish an emotional connection with the company.
In addition, this method helps reduce stress, promotes a more relaxed and harmonious environment, and improves employees’ self-esteem.
Including games in your accessible e-learning courses: what you need to know
Just as with other interactive elements, you must follow the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) when integrating accessible games into your e-learning courses.
On a general level, following these guidelines means that accessible games must be: perceptible, offering alternative text for any images; and operable, allowing full keyboard navigation, limiting the use of animations, offering alternative input methods and providing sufficient time to read and use any content.
At the same time, it’s crucial that any student can fully understand and make use of a game’s mechanics. Navigating and operating it must therefore be logical and intuitive.
These guidelines also affect the use of color, since it is typically used as a means of giving feedback on success to users – think green for ‘right’ and red for ‘wrong’. For visually impaired students, this method may not function correctly.
Following these instructions may seem like a complex task if you lack the necessary technical requirements, but this is where having the right authoring tool comes in enormously helpful.
5 examples of accessible games to motivate your entire team
This game consists of guessing a word by trying out different letters in 6 attempts. When a letter is correct, it will appear green – if correct, but not in the right place, it will appear yellow.
In the accessible version, it is necessary to add an additional feedback method beyond color-coding the result. It’s also vital to include messages that explain how to follow the game mechanics at all times. All of this can be quite a complex task in itself, so if you want to provide the right user experience in this type of game, it’s best to look for an authoring tool that automatically handles accessibility.
This game involves guessing words related to a specific subject, with the only clue being one letter of each word as well as a brief description or image. At the beginning of the game, these letters form a circle of letters in alphabetical order. When the clock starts, users must guess each of the words. The aim is to get as many words right in the shortest possible time, until the donut is complete.
In addition to all of this, the accessible version of the game must ensure that students are always aware of the state of completion of the donut. Another challenge is to provide easy interaction through the keyboard. It’s also crucial to remember that in accessible content, students must be able to enlarge text-size. This feature alone can cause games like this to ‘collapse’ if implemented incorrectly.
A game in which cards are revealed in turn to discover matching pairs or sets. In e-learning it helps students to connect key concepts, in addition to exercising their attention span, visual memory and thinking agility.
In the accessible version, the game must abandon the element of visual memory, focusing only on pairing up concepts so that any student can participate.
An adaptation of the popular board game, which involves answering questions organized into categories. As with the rest of the games on this list, the accessible version must include clear instructions and messages that allow the mechanics of the game to be easily followed. In a similar vein, feedback should also be based on something other than just color, and the completion status of the game should be constantly visible to players. This means ensuring the screen reader can correctly interpret the status of each trivia category.
This is a game based on classifying cards into two different categories. To play, the student simply needs to drag each card into the correct category.
For the accessible version of this game, it’s necessary to remove the option to drag cards; and instead limit players to clicking on the selected option.
As you can see, by taking advantage of game-based learning you can create far more fluid and enjoyable learning experiences. However, it’s crucial that course creators choose the game settings best adapted to the specific objectives and training needs of their students. This is especially true when it comes to accessibility.
An intuitive authoring tool like isEazy Author can greatly simplify this potentially tricky process, offering a great range of fully accessible pre-configured games, ready to implement in your training.