Potentials and application possibilities in corporate communication
Game Based Learning has been used for years in aviation and in the military (e.g. simulators). But it is also used to some extent in the education sector, although it is still viewed ambivalently. Digital technologies are changing the business communication and marketing mix, with game-based marketing it is possible to create fun and a personal experience of the consumers through virtual experiential marketing. It can influence engagement in a fun and economical way through consumer interaction with a brand. Jürgen Resch, graduate of the bachelor program Media and Communication Consulting at the University of Applied Sciences St. Pölten, deals with the potentials and applications of Game Based Learning in corporate communication.
Definition of Game Based Learning and Gamification
Game Based Learning is a type of active learning experience within a game framework that has specific learning objectives and measurable outcomes. This requires a high level of interaction and provides informative feedback on performance. In many cases, games are designed to help players understand the learning material in a real-world context.
Gamification is the application of game mechanics in a non-game context to influence desired behavior and achieve learning outcomes. This process can increase user engagement or enjoyment. The game elements are usually separate from the actual learning content.
The main difference between the two is
In summary, the integration of the game mechanics with the training content. Game Based Learning fully integrates both, so the game is the training. On the other hand, gamification uses game elements as rewards for completing existing training modules.
Young people nowadays are used to video games in an educational application, as a result, playing this kind of games could be a support for learning when traditional teaching methods are too boring.
The components of learning and learning outcomes
In recent years, learning has changed from the traditional model (e.g., learning through lectures) to a learner-centered approach that focuses on more active learner participation. Learning games for education or training, focus directly on the active participation of learners. Computer games can be useful for teaching purposes because they theoretically offer different approaches that address cognitive and affective learning, interactivity, and motivation to learn.
Relevant game attributes
There are so-called key features or game attributes in research that are essential for learning, these are imagination, rules, goals, sensory stimuli, challenge, puzzles, and control. When these game attributes, combine with the appropriate game characteristics, this combination leads to a motivated learner. The ultimate goal is to foster this desired learning state by using specific information with specific game attributes to generate specific knowledge, skills, and attitudes.
From Game Based Learning to Gamification
Closely related to Game Based Learning is Gamification, which is primarily used in corporate communications to reach target audiences in a more interactive and sustainable way. Digital technologies are changing the entire marketing mix, in terms of game-based marketing, marketers are adding fun and personal experience to the product through virtual experiential marketing. As a result, games can be a new and effective way to interact with a brand and influence consumer engagement in a fun and rewarding way.
Pokémon GO example
With the widespread adoption of location-based mobile games like Pokémon GO, marketers are beginning to consider the potential of new media platforms for their communications. Businesses have already used Pokémon GO to increase customer traffic to their stores by releasing “lures,” which are purchased with real money in the game and are used to concentrate more Pokémon characters in a given area. It is also possible to request sponsored “Pokéstops” and “Pokégyms” for your own business in the game. When players tap on these sponsored locations, they see information about the company and its products. When Pokémon GO first launched in Japan, about 2,900 McDonald’s restaurants became either Pokéstops or Pokégyms.
Players have a spatial presence when using Pokémon GO, which has a positive impact on their attitudes toward in-game sponsors and their intentions to visit. In this context, the high level of game engagement leads to a positive response to the sponsors. The goals of these applications for communication purposes include increasing engagement, loyalty, brand awareness, and motivation.
Example of gamification in tourism marketing
Gamification-based marketing also lends itself to tourism. By using immersive and virtual environments to promote tourism locations by destination marketers, it is possible to create informative and entertaining settings for successful interaction and communication between the destination and tourists. Technologies such as virtual reality (VR) can enable tourists to gather travel information and experience the destination firsthand through a 3D display. This can increase brand awareness, attract potential customers, enhance tourists’ on-site experiences, and increase engagement. Games with a promotional purpose, also known as advertgames, are a new type of marketing tool that provide entertainment for players to create an emotional connection between the game and the brand. The advantages of these advertgames are that they are perceived as less “annoying” and more personalized than traditional online ADs.
Interactive games can engage tourists in fun and informative ways throughout their travel experience before, during and after their trip. Before the trip, games can be an innovative way to market a destination and not only attract many potential tourists, but also allow them to engage with the destination on a deeper level. During the trip, they can be used to enhance the enjoyment of the trip and the on-site tourist experience. In particular, location-based games and AR games can encourage players to interact with the physical environment, learn more facts about the place, tailor their visit to their interests, and experience a more dynamic and real vacation. After the trip, games can be used primarily to remember the trip and share the experience with others. They can also support further engagement with the destination.
Overall, research in the game-based learning field shows that games positively influence learners in terms of cognitive, skill-based, and affective outcomes. They can be helpful in learning as they provide different approaches that address cognitive and affective learning, interactivity, and motivation to learn. There are several game attributes that are essential for learning (rules, goals, sensory stimuli, challenge, puzzles, and control). When these game attributes, combine with the appropriate game characteristics, it can lead to motivated and efficient learning.
On the other hand, game-based marketing, through the interaction of consumers with a brand, can positively influence their engagement in an entertaining and profitable way. It can increase consumer engagement, loyalty, brand awareness and motivation.
Location-based mobile games such as Pokémon GO are spatially present, this has a positive impact on their attitude towards the sponsors and their intentions to visit. In this context, the high level of engagement leads to a positive response to the sponsors.
By using game-based marketing, it is also possible in the tourism sector to create informative and entertaining settings for successful interaction and communication between the tourism destination and tourists. Interactive games can engage tourists in an entertaining and informative way in their overall travel experience before, during and after their trip.
All in all, there is a great potential of game-based learning and game-based marketing. However, marketers are currently still implementing this with reservations. However, these innovative measures have the potential to address target groups in a more interactive and sustainable way, away from the usual channels and measures.