Digital or Non-digital – that is the question

Within the field of corporate training there are many serious games and simulations in use. The recent boost of digital serious games development in the last decade has implicitly raised the question are digital serious game better than non-digital ones? Non-digital serious games have been in use in training programmes for many decades, in fact role plays can be seen as a form of serious ‘game’. There are many board games available for teaching production principles (such as JIT), for resistance to change (eg. Wallbreakers); and there is the well known use of Lego Seriuos Play for strategy development in companies. Should we replace these non-digital board games with digital ones? Well the answer really depends on what the serious game is intended to deliver. Currently, most digital computer games are played by individuals and are primarily designed to deliver knowledge transfer (eg. on health and safety, product knowledge, etc). Howver, within business there is a greater need for skills development and not just knowledge transfer – and serious games are ideal for this. Such games need to be multiplayer to develop the requiste social and communication skills, collaborative problem-solving and decision-making, etc. This is where digital games have to catch up with non-digital ones. So I conclude that the choice between digital or non-digital is one that should be determined by what the serious game is intended to deliver. For corporate interventions/ strategy development then adaptable techniques like Lego Serious Play are best – they can be adapted and tailored to the target company by the facilitator. Whereas for delivering standardised training to large number of people digital games are best and more cost-effective. As digital games develop and become more sophisticated and adpatable in the years ahead, then they may become the game of choice. But let’s see.

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