Do you know what the best thing about learning is? You learn things even when you don’t think you are learning them. Playing video games is a classic example. What was once thought to be the domain of the brain-dead is now pretty much recognised as the most educational thing you can do with your time. Don’t believe me? Let’s take a look…
Video games give you mad problem-solving skills
Modern video games can occasionally throw puzzles at us that make a typical MENSA conundrum look like a tabloid wordsearch. The advantage that this medium has over all others is that it can simulate entire worlds, including the laws of physics, the passage of time and the occasional alien invasion.
To survive in video-game-land, you need to employ a keenness of thought that you rarely have a chance to hone in the real world. How often, in your daily working life, have you found the need to move crates, to access a vent, to find a keycard, to unlock a door, to turn a valve (with a handle you had to find in a previous puzzle), to open a hatch… you get the picture – video games offer an exaggerated level of complexity.
Though at the time these tasks can be infuriatingly difficult to work out, the payback is huge – not only do you have the satisfaction of beating the game, you’ve also rewired your brain a little bit to better cope with similar tasks in the future, be they virtual or based in reality.
Video games let you out of your mental box
Following on from the previous point, by solving a variety of different puzzles, you gradually acquire a knack of thinking outside of the box. You see, video game developers, like many creative professionals, are constantly under pressure to come up with unique content. To satisfy the audience of today, developers have to merge genres and create new situations, otherwise the player won’t feel challenged and therefore won’t keep playing.
If you are to survive in this ever-changing landscape, you need to think outside of the box, find links in unlikely places and think as creatively as those developers. The great thing is, once you’ve completed the game, you don’t just dump these new powers of lateral thinking – you carry them with you into your everyday life.
Video games lead you to victory with strategic planning
Some of the most important lessons you’ll ever learn in your life might just come from 6-hour marathon sessions of Sid Meier’s Civilization III. On the face of it, it’s a game of global conquest where you choose a civilisation from history (Romans, Aztecs, etc.) and lead them to victory. A rookie might be tempted to build the biggest army and attack their enemies en masse, but that is a sure recipe for defeat. The game incorporates layers of diplomacy and economics which cannot be ignored if you plan on winning.
It’s much the same in reality. Victory is never a straight-forward goal and if you are to succeed in anything, you need to consider all angles. This is a lesson most people will eventually pick up without playing video games, but they’ll undoubtedly fail more than once in the process, wasting a great deal of time and money… and legionaries and war elephants. At least in a virtual environment, you can learn this lesson whilst avoiding any actual risk.
Aside from giving you a consequence-free stage on which to make mistakes, video games make a great tool for personal development. They offer sophisticated mental challenges that are unequalled in the real world. Why do people bother with something that’s so incredibly difficult? Because they enjoy it, of course.
This is the essence of gamification, the central element of Growth Engineering’s Academy LMS. With something as notoriously dull as online staff training, you need to do something to make it more engaging. To find out what gamification can do for you, get clicky with that big, beautiful button below!