Communication and training programs in gaming
We all know people in our lives who capture our attention when we communicate with them. They have a way of exchanging information that resonates because of their communication style and their ability to connect with others.
How we interact with others, and how we prefer to be communicated with, are important to how we learn. Our learning style impacts our comprehension. There is no one size fits all way for connecting with students and learning. Training programs, with no testing component or measurement for assessing comprehension, prove to be ineffective.
Examples of different learning styles include:
• Visual: Pictures, videos, diagrams, charts and/or models
• Auditory: Lectures, audio recordings, storytelling, music, verbalization and/or questioning
• Kinesthetic/Tactile: Acting, role playing and hands-on activities
The very best trainers I’ve had over the years have been charismatic storytellers. How one learns and comprehends the information depends on the individual.
Gaming is a highly regulated industry. It is common practice for gaming entities to use creditable pre-developed online learning programs or external subject matter expertise consultants to train employees on topics such as compliance, risk management, report writing, investigative techniques, regulations and scams. Instructional courses that require outside subject matter expertise are growing. Internal trainers are often charged by leadership with the daunting task of developing and providing training programs that meet the needs of all employees throughout all the gaming and non-gaming departments. It is important for leadership to empower internal trainers with the tools they need to be successful. That is why we need to explore the communication, training and learning styles of various generations of the gaming workforce. We need to acknowledge the gaps and understand how each generation of employees processes information.
Based on my personal experiences and research, here are some of the characteristics of different age groups of employees in the gaming workforce and tips for how to tailor training programs to meet their generational learning needs.
Employees in this group are older, often near retirement age or into their 70s and 80s. They may be more resistant to change because of their life experiences, and they often rely on past knowledge, experience and skills. Their use of technology may be limited and they may prefer more traditional methods of learning. They enjoy verbal communication and the sharing of knowledge.
Training tips: Create a learning environment where they can learn from one another or through individual one-on-one instruction, at their own pace. The trainer needs to create flexible courses that can be modified that will facilitate a traditionalist way of learning.
Baby boomers range in age from the early 50s to upper 60s. They have multilevel responsibilities and view work/life balances as very important to manage. It is very difficult for them to find time to learn and focus on training.
Training tips: Create courses that are flexible enough to accommodate an employee’s busy schedule and accept that personal obligations might obstruct the learning process. Creating several short training sessions of 10 to 15 minutes per session will be more manageable from a time standpoint for this age group of employees. Use of videos, games, brain teasers and voice-overs is an engaging way to make learning fun.
Generation X employees range in age between the mid’ 30s and early 50s. They are communicators, self-reflective, tend to like a more personal approach and have the potential to bridge generational gaps between younger and older employees, which is an asset.
Training tips: It is important to create a self-assessment process for the Generation X employee, encourage a peer relationship with the instructor, and provide multiple options for self-education, learning and testing. This will help guide and support these students through the learning process.
Millennials are very comfortable and motivated when using electronic communication methods. Millennials, who are younger employees in their 20s and early 30s, are proficient in the use of digital media and like to communicate via their mobile devices. They have high expectations of their learning, and they only want to be taught about what is relevant to their work and do not want their time or money to be wasted.
Training tips: The key for trainers is to create coursework that will maximize Millennials’ advantages so that they can learn, share and advance via their social networking. This includes allowing them the ability to use their mobile devices to access to e-learning 24/7. Creating short training sessions of 10 to 15 minute each will make learning more manageable, and use of games, brain teasers and voice-overs is an engaging way to make learning fun.
While these training tips may not work for all employees, knowing the characteristics of different generations can certainly help make sure the training programs you develop are most effective. Understanding how different employees communicate, and engaging the diverse groups we train, will be key to determining how much will be comprehended and retained.