Learn from Learning have published an article on how computer games are changing social care learning and development.

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Learn from Learning is a two year project being delivered by Skills for Care and Development (SfC&D). Learn from Learning is a free and comprehensive on-line catalogue and evaluation tool for learning solutions primarily aimed at those working in early years, children and young people’s services, and those working in social work and social care for children and adults in the UK.

The Learn from Learning article published on their blog talks about how on-line games and apps such as Candy Crush being such a massive hit in recent years, mobile gaming has gone mainstream and there are ways that this can impact on learning and development in social care. These games are highly engaging and addictive and this can be a great way to help people learn and enjoy training. Some of the ways this will be are:

  • Offering Rewards – Giving players rewards for tasks they accomplish. Players receive points, stars or badges, and progress bars fill up as they complete games and move up levels. The landscape of games is unlocked as players win and earn, giving a sense of achievement, and of distance travelled. This could be transposed into practical learning courses on an app by unlocking new areas of learning, achievement badges, etc.
  • Competition with real people – Co-workers and friends can see which rewards you’ve earned and you can see theirs. You can see who has the top score on individual games, and who is in the lead. Players can repeat games to make sure they don’t just complete, they get the highest possible score. This could be a great way to engage whole teams with the training they are taking part in and encourage friendly competition with each other.  Also it would encourage learners to communicate with each other over the training and the learning they are taking part in
  • Self-expression – you could personalise your avatar – this would mean that learners who get a more personalised touched

These techniques are called ‘gamification’ – a buzz word of 2013. These same strategies can be applied to training and learning materials to make them more fun, increase take-up and the retention of knowledge so Skills for Care and Development is working with Serious Games International to develop smart phone apps that harness the power of gamification for social care workforce learning and development.

They are starting with topics such as safeguarding, self-care, and reading, writing, maths, communication and team-working skills, and re-working existing materials into bite-size chunks. For example, the player/learner reads a care plan, and then drags and drops in words to fill the gaps. Points are scored for accuracy and for speed.

The learner progresses through the resources, reading materials, watching videos, and doing puzzles and games which reinforce the learning, and increase their knowledge retention. All the time their friend scan see their scores, and see who is further ahead in the ‘game’ landscape.  Bonus points can be achieved by daily play. Each game or exercise is small and easily started, designed for busy and impatient players using small screens.

The new apps will be available in 2014 – So if you are keen to find out more or even get involved with this project keep an eye out on the Learn from Learning website and watch this space as HomeCareDirect think this is a great idea and we are keen to see how this project progresses as we’d like to look at how we can make this part of our training for personal assistants.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on this so please get in touch with us here.