They say all play and no work makes jack a lazy boy. But what if we are able to make work fun again?
Play has exist in our culture for ages. Dr. Stuart Brown, the founder of the National Institute of Play, has interviewed thousands of people to document their relationships with play, and found strong relationships between play and success. However, the frequency of play has greatly reduced in our lives due to everyday responsibilities. In the video, Dr. Stuart Brown describes how play facilitates learning of great values such as connection, teamwork and most important of all, provides practice.
Click here to watch Dr. Stuart’s presentation on “Play is More Than Just Fun”.
This is why here at Think Codex, we aspire to design and promote learning through the medium of play. To be specific, we design simulations based on the learning needs of corporations. We chose simulations due to (1) their ability to simplify real and complex systems, (2) their ability to demonstrate other parties’ perspectives, (3) it helps participants to develop and test their skills in a safe environment and, (4) provides a deep and vivid understanding of even the most abstract training concepts (which we termed as mindset change).
What is more important though, is that through the gamification of learning, the participants have also agreed to abide by a set of conditions in order to create an experience, which puts them through “inefficient” means to achieve the goal of the game.
For example, if someone were to ask you to put a ball in a hole, the most efficient way to do it is just to pick it up and put it into the hole. But when you are required to put a ball into the hole by colliding another ball (the cue) into it - and using a stick as the pushing force, we have a game. By now you should have guessed that the game that was referred to is snooker.
What is more interesting, is that when participants have agreed to abide to the rules of the game, they have indirectly agreed to put their heart and attention into it.
Besides, we are also able to focus on the subject matter by providing these “inefficient” means to reach the goal. And participants are still able to practice their skills freely as long as they abide by the rules of the game. Just as how a snooker player has many ways in making the cue collide with the ball, as long as only the cue touches the ball.
We believe that this achieves ownership and practice as participants are able to test and retest the subject matter with regards to their personal way of doing things.
Why is ownership and practice so important? Well, research papers have indeed shown that ownership and practice indeed do increase the effectiveness of learning while failing to do so would bring about the opposite effect. Karpicke and Roediger’s research have found that repeated retrieval of information during learning has enhanced the retention rate of the participants in the future. On the other hand, Berman, Jonides and Lewis’ research has found that information that has not been revised into the long-term memory would suffer from memory decay - due to interference from other information. This is why we emphasise deeply on practice throughout this blog.
With that said, there are also tonnes of other benefits with regards to learning simulations, and some of them being:
- The ability to make mistakes and learn before moving out into the real world.
- The outcome of the simulation comes in the form of an experience (i.e. not through reading and discussions).
- The participants are able to get consistent and immediate feedback.
- It is enjoyable.
- The ability to practice the skills hands on increases the confidence and retention of using the skills back at the workplace.
- The mindset change of the participants would help facilitate further transformation in the office space.
- Simulation can also be used to complement other trainings, such as an assessment or medium of practice.
This is why we strive to make learning exciting again. We view learning as something fun and meaningful, and can be successfully applied back at the workplace. Learning should be approached by using all of our senses such as sight, movement and sound, so that the knowledge would be better encoded into our daily lives.
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Think Codex is a company which design simulations to help translate learning needs of corporations back into the workplace. We provide off-the-shelf and also customised simulations for our clients. Visit our website for more information about our products and if you like this piece of content, please help to share it out or subscribe to our newsletter to get more. Cheers!
R. Garry Shirts, A Taxonomy of Simulation Related Activity. Learning Through Experience.
R. Garry Shirts, Ten Secrets of Successful Simulations. Learning Through Experience
Dr. Stuart Brown, Play is More Than Just Fun. TED
Bryant Nielsen, Benefits of Using Simulations. Your Training Edge
Marc G. Berman, John Jonides, and Richard L. Lewis (2009), In Search of Decay in Verbal Short-Term Memory, Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition, 35(2), doi:10.1037/a0014873
Jeffrey D. Karpicke *, Henry L. Roediger III (2007), Repeated retrieval during learning is the key to long-term retention, Journal of Memory and Language, 57.