Summing up the reasons for setting up Post Game Learning Communities (PGLC), we have to refer to the cost of SG design and deployment which represents a significant investment for any organisation, in terms of (1) mobilisation of domain-specific expertise on the design side, (2) time and cost of the game design as part of learning project led by the organisation, (3) time and cost of participants (i.e. managers that while attending a competence development course within which SG in B&M are run, are not performing on their usual business activities), (4) time and cost of the facilitation that has to be undertaken by highly qualified experts (typically professionals from business schools, HE institutes, consulting agencies). Such an investment (see also an article on CNN Executive Education posted in June 2009 and referenced below) must justify the effort of preserving the newly acquired know-how and its transmission to the new generations of mangers within the organisation.
The latter introduces another specific reason for introducing PGLCs, that is, the objective difficulty of assessing the actual return on investment for an organisation’s educational programs (where typically SG are played). Risks relate to personnel turnover, internal resistances to change (including personal threats that individually managers may perceive) and other structural barriers. The ASTD report (2009) has shown the low attitude of organisations to effectively assess the learning impact of their educational projects at a higher level than 2 in the Kirkpatrick’s model. This is due to the increasing costs of setting up proper monitoring instruments and to the huge mobilisation of resources in the organisation required when trying to address the fourth level in Kirkpatrick’s model ladder or the fifth ROI level introduced by Phillips. Moreover, organisations have difficulty to identify the costs related to the educational investment and face difficulties in converting the learning gain in terms of monetary value. This makes the actual calculation of the ROI quite hard and unattractive for organisations. Particularly, in times of crisis, organisations have to take care of their expenditures. This suggests the need to reduce the assessing goal to Level 3 in the model: actionability of learning. In addition, the “poor” quality of traditional evaluation instruments and techniques (e.g. perceived waste of time in answering questionnaires, and invasiveness and costs of interviews and periodical testing) requires finding alternative, cheap and effective solutions.
The availability of generations of alumni that played SG, the prevention of know-how dispersion and the need for an organisation-wide framework for collecting evidence of actionable learning, leads us to propose gathering a community of players into a Community of Practice around a collaborative tool. This is what we call a Post Game Learning Community.
ASTD, (2009). “The Value of Evaluation: Making Training Evaluations More Effective”. American Society for Training & Development, retrieved at http://www.astdalaska.org/ASTD-ALASKA-ONLINE/Resources/outside_files/Evaluation_Value.pdf
CNN.Com International Executive education (June 2009): “Tackling business problems with online games” http://edition.cnn.com/2009/BUSINESS/06/05/business.simulations/index.html