One type of learning exercise that has suffered during this pandemic is the use of face-to-face role-play exercises. It is simply not possible or even safe to conduct large scale training exercises in a face-to-face environment. And, even before the pandemic, many organizations were finding that conducting a role-play exercise can be problematic.
When two people are role-play, what does the rest of the class do? How to you ensure that the role-play is realistic and doesn’t go off on a tangent? How do you encourage the role-play participants to listen critically to what is being said and provide critical, meaningful feedback to the role-play participants?
We’ve found that the introduction of a game to teach leadership skills circumvents the above problems and creates an energetic, fun and meaningful learning experience for those attempting to learn and practice leadership skills.
To address the above concerns, we’ve worked with several clients developing customized leadership card games. These games present a leadership scenario to a player based on the leadership needs of that organization. The player must act out the scenario (read “role-play) and then the other players in the game challenge the veracity of that players response.
The players can steal a win from the first player if their challenge is better or more aligned with the leadership model of the organization. This means that during the game all the participants are paying attention because they might see a chance to win the hand. This ensures those not speaking or acting in a role-play are still actively listening. And not only are they actively listening, they are critically listening because if they find a flaw in the other person’s response, its their opportunity to win the hand. This creates excitement, energy and a highly focused group of learners all within a virtual online environment.
The digital card game is, in essence, an opportunity to practice the application of skills without having to evoke the “dreaded” role-play exercise. The outcomes and learning opportunities resulting from the various versions of the games are similar, and in some cases better, then a pure role-play exercise. And, as a bonus, folks are not only highly engaged, but many have expressed joy at having an activity that did not look like the same old flat virtual meeting. The card game structure beats the breakout room role-play and the addition of “just enough” competition keeps the experience fun and focused.
In addition to avoiding the moans and groans of traditional role plays, we’ve found that the game environment has proven to be a fantastic catalyst for encouraging conversations about the subject of the game. We’ve used the format to reinforce not just leadership skills but also, sales, and negotiation concepts. As well as games that promote empathy and diversity and inclusion.
The paradigm of the game is simple, scenarios and challenges. They content is what makes or breaks the game and the experience of playing a digital card game is fun and energetic.
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