“Those who make a distinction between entertainment and education may not know that education should be fun and entertainment should be educational”.
This quotation from the sociologist Marshall McLuhan fully refers to the concept of edutainment, an Anglo-Saxon word born from the fusion of “education” and “entertainment”, i.e. the idea of educational entertainment, or rather of an education that at the same time includes fun. In the past, this concept was mistakenly associated only with the education of the youngest and in relation to non-formal contexts or those linked to leisure time, but it maintains its prerogatives intact in the most varied contexts, both formal and informal, with both children and adults. It is no coincidence that, in recent years, the use of games has also been cleared through customs in adult education and in the professional sector, as already pointed out in our article “Gamification In Business As New Model of Training within Companies“. In fact, it has been amply demonstrated that people, including adults, learn better thanks to the game dynamic. So-called game-based learning (GBL) is a training methodology that is more effective than ordinary e-learning because it is more interactive. Everyone likes to play, and this preference makes learning games, or serious games, an outstanding resource for adult education.
SERIOUS GAMES AND VOCATIONAL TRAINING: FROM SOFT SKILLS TO BUSINESS SKILLS
Adults are often no longer used to studying as much as children, which is why using a gamified approach can stimulate their attention, interest and cognitive processes to a greater extent, ensuring that motivation and training are maintained over time.
This is confirmed by various studies and scientific institutes, including the Federation of American Scientists, which claim that playing games improves adult performance:
In addition, numerous advantages were found in the development of both soft skills, i.e. personal transversal competences, and hard skills, i.e. technical and vertical competences of a specific sector.
SOFT SKILLS AND SERIOUS GAMES: HOW GAMES INCREASE PERSONAL SKILLS
With regard to personal and transversal skills, serious games are able to stimulate
SERIOUS GAMES: THE DIFFERENT PROFESSIONAL SECTORS OF USE
In recent years, serious games have been applied in various professional sectors. One of the first sectors to adopt the gamified approach in professional training was the air transport sector, through the use of flight simulators adopted since 1982.
The healthcare sector has also benefited, allowing healthcare professionals to practice in virtual operating theatres, simulate emergency situations and learn special techniques related to medical equipment. The same applies to patients, through the acquisition of a healthy lifestyle, and to the rehabilitation sector, where simulation helps to recreate a spatial relationship with patients.
The military and security sectors have also benefited from gamified professional training over the years, in order to prepare professionals for emergency situations that require great concentration, organisational and management skills: policemen, firefighters and soldiers practise in realistic and at the same time safe environments, learning to cope and react in emergency and alarm circumstances.
The recruitment sector also uses games to assess psycho-aptitude components by confronting potential candidates with choices requiring certain skills, such as listening and communication skills. The recreated scenario brings out the transversal competences and character of the candidate in an experiential environment so that a more plausible and reliable assessment can be made compared to traditional recruiting methods.
THE FUTURE OF SERIOUS GAMES
In view of the numerous advantages in the professional field and the progressive digitisation in the corporate field, there is a prospect of an increasing number of educational activities in a growing number of work sectors.
The real success of serious games depends on their use in fields of real application in everyday life by users and professionals. This opens up numerous challenges for serious game developers, who will be able to investigate the needs of the training and educational market, covering the most diverse areas for a diversified user base based on the training needs of each sector.
Thanks to their effectiveness, active involvement of participants and reduced costs, serious games are increasingly conquering a good share of the adult education sector with prospects for growth and development.