Pressing play

How can interactive learning help with effective training of employees? We hit the stage to find out.

There can be no denying that people are more distracted than ever before. As our attention is pulled in a multitude of directions, we struggle to retain sometimes vital information as the brain filters out everything other than what is absolutely necessary at that moment.

In fact, a study conducted by researchers at the University of California-San Diego shows that people are inundated with the equivalent amount of 34 Gb of information – every day!

This means that to get a message across – and make it stick – can often be difficult to accomplish by traditional means. Over the past few years this has led to the rise of alternative types of education – which have become especially popular in the workplace.

One of these is corporate and industrial theatre – two of more than ten forms of applied drama that aims to promote interest, discussion, education, awareness and action among employees.

Tiro Venter, MD of StageFright Edu-tainment, explains the reasons for the success of corporate and industrial theatre: “Some employees do not like to read, or they get bored listening to long and monotonous speeches, while others simply cannot read. Theatre becomes an effective tool as it engages them in a more personal and realistic form of communication.

“The actors perform a series of recognisable and relevant storylines and situations so that audiences will identify with themselves, their environment and their situations in a fun, non-confrontational and impartial context.

“The message delivered is still forthright, hard-hitting and direct. Fun, laughter, song and dance, as well as audience participation are key for communicating pressing issues,” he comments.

These tailor-made shows are designed to be attractive, encouraging, engaging, interactive, educational and entertaining, says Venter.

Another approach is that of gamification, whereby online training with mobile accessibility is used to replace traditional classrooms and manuals with the elements of game playing, point scoring and competing against others, in up-skilling and training staff.

Alan Ross, CEO of 1Huddle, a mobile-based training platform, explains that games have been positively proved to impact learning and retention.

“1Huddle takes existing training material and condenses it into training games that can be played anytime, anywhere, and on any device,” he says.

Gamification can be applied to any industry and subject. “Generally there are five categories per game, with five questions per category, but the system can be customised to fit virtually any training need,” Ross notes.

The benefits of gamification include the ability to monitor participation and performance through specifically generated analytics and reports.

“Capitalising on the inherently competitive nature of participants, single or multiplayer modules see trainees attempting not only to better their own scores, but also to beat their colleagues in the rankings. As an incentive, top performers can be rewarded after successfully completing modules,” Ross comments.

Possibly the biggest drawcard of both applied drama and gamification is that they can be customised to the clients’ needs. In the case of gamification, the material can be changed or updated as required, ensuring that the most current and up-to-date information is communicated to employees immediately, while industrial and corporate theatre is scripted to the client’s needs and approval.

Now wasn’t that attention-grabbing stuff?

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SHEQ Management

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