Is this the game changer? Gaming and what it can do for construction.
For a few years, we’ve been told that gamification is the future of education. The term, coined in 2002, has entered the public consciousness only in the last decade but the concept has been around much longer. Daniel Griffin argues that gamification has been used by the scout movement’s use of ranks and badges for decades as a way to ‘keep score’ (though undoubtedly using this definition you can claim that the practice goes back much further).
Gamification truly took off with the introduction of the computer. I remember playing one such game in the 90s. Played on an old school computer, the game involved a Roman walking around a Roman estate, investigating different objects (vases, mosaics and other historical items) to learn about the history. (I can’t find a record of the game anywhere online so if you know what it’s called please let me know!) This could very well be one of the first video games I ever played and it stuck with me – I enjoyed learning history and had a great time playing it.
So, what does this have to do with business?
There are several potential uses for games in modern business, both for indirect learning and direct learning. In order to encourage pupils to take an active interest in particular industries, gamification is becoming increasingly important. The Chartered Institute of Building recently developed a construction game “Craft your future” amid fears that we will have skills shortages in the industry. See my post on the Lack of skilled workers in construction for more information.) The game is incorporated into Minecraft and allows learners to look at different sectors: “construction, restoration, maintenance, and new build and refurbishment.” If this encourages people to take up construction, engineering or something related, then that is good for the sustainability of the industry.
As well as industry specific games there are several other ways in which games can help aid the development of the next generation of workers. One such example of this is programs that teach touch typing — I learned how to touch using a simple program called Kaz:-
This was not particularly fun, but it taught me the basics. What helped me perfect my touch-typing and increase my speed was playing another game:-
This game (an adaptation of House of the Dead called Typing of the Dead) added a sense of urgency to the typing – the faster you type the more zombies you kill and the further you get. I was motivated to improve my typing in both accuracy and speed in an engaging way. If learning is fun we are more motivated to do it – but this isn’t the only way gamification can help us.
These are just two applications of games for learning – I was a training advisor for a major electrical energy company when I was asked to source a simulation program for their wind turbine engineers.
Affectionately known by me and my ex-colleagues as “Ultimate Wind Turbine Simulator Turbo DX” actual Title –“Operation of Avanti Service Lift Model Dolphin” allows the user to learn safety within the turbine remotely using the simulation. This simulation, whilst not exactly a “Game” in the traditional sense, uses video game technology to teach in a new way. The benefits are simple — programs such as this prevent actual harm during the learning process and allow the learner to learn and recap whenever required.
Protecting business assets.
Elsewhere, the construction industry is adapting to new technology, which is taking the industry by storm. Drones are becoming increasingly common on construction sites “The construction industry has emerged as a key driver of the nascent commercial drone industry” a trend that is touted to continue. Drones are a new technology and it will be necessary for businesses to train an expert drone operator – to this end there are already several drone simulation programs on the market. These programs will teach the skills needed to fly without the risk of damaging expensive drones. This will become increasingly important as the technology advances and more expensive features become common.
So what does it amount to?
Ultimately, gaming in one form or another has more impact on our lives than ever before: the industry is booming. Whilst the revolution in gamification in education hasn’t been the runaway success that may have been predicted, it still has a part to play within a toolkit of learning. With more workers needed in industries such as construction, if we can make learning more engaging for both children and adults alike, surely that has to be a win.