More about Serious Games

We were recently assigned a reading reaction about serious games, but I’m extremely interested in this topic and want to cover it more in depth, particularly the applications of video games to the real world.

Many of the additional uses of video games are pretty simple and straightforward. For instance, the use of the Xbox Kinect, Wii Fit, or Playstation Move to exercise and lose weight, or educational games such as math blaster to increase one’s knowledge.

However, games are also used in training. A recent study at the University of Colorado Denver Business School found that individuals trained with video games for their jobs perform much better, “have higher skills, and retain information longer” than other workers trained with the usual methods. In a study with over 6,000 trainees, people that were trained using video games also had a significant “11% increase in factual knowledge, a 14 percent higher skill-based knowledge level and a 9 percent higher retention rate than trainees in comparison groups.” See the article here: http://www.livescience.com/10022-military-video-games.html

One particular example that intrigued me was the use of video games for training at Cold Stone Creamery. The company discovered that the employees were scooping too much ice cream per serving, and they were losing money because of it, so they developed a game to show exactly how much ice cream should go in each scoop. Furthermore, Miller Brewing Company also developed a game to show bartenders how to pour the perfect beer.

Why are these video games so successful in job training? Because they are much more interactive and engaging compared to the conventional methods of training. They give trainees much more practice and can hold their attention better.

Video games can also be used for military training. They teach recruits how to use certain weapons and how to respond to certain conditions. But you may not know that they are also used to help soldiers cope with the mental and emotional toll that serving in the military takes. This type of training is called “stress-resilience or emotional coping” and takes players step-by-step through what they should expect to see and how to deal handle the situation in a virtual manner before experiencing the real thing. See the article here: http://www.livescience.com/10022-military-video-games.html

America’s Army and Today’s Lecture

So let’s just say that when it was mentioned during the guest lecture that we should google “Man imitates America’s Army. Saves life” …that I might have complied and googled just that. It’s pretty distracting to start sifting through and reading some of the articles about America’s Army and it’s success.
So to reduce your procrastination, I’ve attached the link below.

I also included the America’s Army homepage (I’m quite sure he said it was free to play?). It looks pretty damn cool.

On another note, I couldn’t help but notice the figures that Mr. Heneghan mentioned– using virtual/video game based tools saves an industry (medical, pharmacological, armed forces) MILLIONS of dollars in comparison to conventional/other training methods.
I kept sitting there and wondering “What in world is holding back these industries from jumping on these  tools?”

The best answer I could come up with holds one of the cardinal issues involved in decision making responsible– the Acceptability issue.
I’m guessing that Video Game based training would not be viewed as “training” by outsiders, but as “frivolous and mindless leisure time being wasted on child’s play THAT SHOULD be used learning how to do one’s job.”
Now that bigger and better games are being made (with actual success and statistical evidence to back it up), people are starting to turn their heads and say “huh…maybe it’s not such a bad idea.”

I hope that this shift continues, and that video games can be fully acceptable as excellent learning tools. I don’t think we are there quite yet…I mean, who in this class hasn’t had a friend/family member laugh when they realized that the video game you were playing was ACTUALLY prescribed homework for a REAL university course?

Personally, I know that some of these people were just jealous that they WEREN’T in this class. Those that were actually scoffing…well I guess it’s up to the whole class to prove them wrong.

CHALLENGE ACCEPTED

(now go play COD/ Skyrim/ *insert your chosen game here*) 
LINKS

“Man saves life with America’s Army”

http://www.wired.com/gamelife/2008/01/americas-army-t/

“America’s Army”

http://www.americasarmy.com/

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