If the top colleges and universities worldwide are using video games to boost learning and skills development, what does it mean for the future of business games? It means that games are viable methods to teach skills, ideas, theories, and concepts. Forget about the old whiteboard and projector. In the realm of the academe, video games are already making a name for themselves. Though the adoption is a bit slow in business, companies like YouTube are already serious in their investment in games.
Business games are major tools to teach students or the workforce how to start a business, manage the inventory and supply chain, and boost profits and revenues. This is nothing new. In the 1950s, the US army used simulation games to train their soldiers. By the 1960s, universities started experimenting with business games in their economics and business departments. What they found out was their students are better learners with board games and experiential activities. Who knew economics can be fun?
Of course, video games eventually took over every teenage boy’s life. From Sega to Nintendo to Sony, it became an industry like no other. While it might sound cool to say you’re working in the video game industry, its dog-eat-dog-world is a major stressor. Don’t let video game developers make you believe otherwise. As the industry developed, so do those who believe in its benefits in education and training.
Why Business Games?
Corporations such as Coca-Cola are already using business games to train their people. You might think: why invest in these video simulation games if there are workshops, conferences, and training available in-person and online? The one misconception about business games is not their effectiveness in the learning process but that they’re expensive and near-to-impossible to produce. They are not.
Thanks partly to customizable printed circuit board fabrication, it becomes easier to produce video game controllers simulated to the software and programs. It’s not as expensive as many people think it is. It is also not as complicated as others seem it to be. For businesses, as long as they can see the benefits of simulated games, this investment is a smart and practical way to train employees and share knowledge.
Examples of Business Games
There are four prime examples of business games (although there are a lot of these in the market): Capitalism and Capitalism Lab for learning about marketing, manufacturing, distributing, and importing and exporting), Beer Distribution Game for supply and distribution chains, SimCity for understanding public utilities and city management, and Merchants for negotiations. Though many of these have been usurped by more technologically advanced business games, they remain to be the salient ones.
This is the first advantage of business games—the ability to provide experiential learning to its workforce. Businesses should have the capacity to present real-life problems in an almost real-life situation via simulations. Learners will then earn the knowledge without risking anything. Simulations are devoid of economic risks, but they immerse learners in the same problems that managers and supervisors face every day in organizations.
Science already proved that people remember things better when they experience them rather than when they read about them. This is why business games are important in the realm of capacitating the workforce.
Workers, for example, have to interact with the simulated events for them to remember the knowledge the organization wants to impart. Some businesses still prefer classroom-based learning and even video lessons, but business games can trigger the emotions of the learners. This is something that classroom-based learning cannot do.
When you’re a small business, it’s easier to organize a training session. You will only need to suspend operations for half a day and ask your employees to attend the workshop. Such is not that easy when your business is bigger already. It will only be possible to bring together your employees if you create a business game. Many multinational companies only need a smartphone and internet connection to participate in business games. This also allows for outsourcing staff from anywhere in the world too.
Imagine what business games can achieve if only organizations are more open to the idea. It is a big investment that will require money, but it is also one of the essential training tools a business can have. It means investing in your workforce, which, truth be told, is what successful business should be about. Because what kind of business would you be managing if you do not focus on your employees?