We retain 10% of what we’re shown. So how can we retain 90% or even 100%?

Your employees and managers retain 10% of what they’re shown.

Did you know that only 10% of what your employees and managers are shown will be retained? That’s too little in light of the investments made in terms of time, money, and resources.

Organizations are constantly looking for new ways to train or transfer knowledge to their employees and managers quickly.

Several approaches are available to increase retention from 10% to 90% or even 100%.

What kind of approach can increase retention from 10% to 90% or even 100%?

Did you know that the amount of information we retain increases from 10% to 90% during simulations and to 100% when taking part in an activity?

Learning by doing considerably increases the amount of information retained (RCMQ, 2013).

This is where the idea of using serious games becomes an interesting alternative to helping people learn through play and thus assimilate information more easily.

Any game, serious or not, has rules

As for any training activity, providing a proper framework is key. A serious game must:

  • Present a challenge and arouse the curiosity of the participants;
  • Captivate their imagination while being representative of their actual organizational context;
  • Generate interactions among participants and encourage feedback;
  • Promote cross-learning and help participants acquire problem-solving, decision-making, teamwork, and communication skills (RCMQ, 2013).

Designing a serious game in 6 steps and avoiding pitfalls

Many serious games already exist and it’s fairly easy to create one as well. With training and team-building knowledge, you can design your own serious game by following these six steps:

If you decide to design your own serious game, here are a few pitfalls to avoid in order to achieve your objectives:

  • Keep the attention of the participants, limit the time required to set up the game and explain the rules;
  • Make sure that the rules are easy to follow and that the participants cannot guess the outcome of the game from the start;
  • Ensure that the serious game theme and its outcome are closely tied to the targeted objectives.

The secret to the game’s success: Debriefing

I recently had the opportunity to take part in and watch several serious games. What I observed was that, even if the participants played the game successfully and were thrilled by the results, the debriefing often came up short. It’s often taken lightly for various reasons such as the lack of time or the difficulty in coming up with good thought-provoking questions. And yet, it’s at this point that the game becomes serious. The debriefing is when learnings are flagged, discussed, and shared, and when it can be determined if the objectives have been achieved or not.

Sure-fire success with pro tips

During the preparation:

  • Ensure there’s enough time to play the game and debrief; the ratio should be 50/50;
  • Make sure that the objectives are well-defined and measurable (quantitative or qualitative).

During the game:

  • Observe individual reactions and group dynamics; this information will serve as the basis for your debriefing;
  • Be aware that each participant experiences the game differently.

During the debriefing:

  • Make sure that you have individual and group questions;
  • Ensure that each participant has the opportunity to speak and channel the surplus energy of those who take up too much room;
  • Draw parallels between the serious game experience and the organizational reality of the participants (there are more parallels than you can imagine);
  • Invite the participants to transfer their learnings from the game to their job and the workplace.

Serious games are serious business

In conclusion, serious games are an interesting alternative to share knowledge with employees and managers. However, a debriefing is an essential component since it is the key to the successful transfer of knowledge.

If you would like your employees and managers to retain more than 10% of what they’re shown, get them involved and, to do so, why not challenge them to a serious game?