"The gap between training and practical application is a common issue faced by many public servants." But what if there was a solution to bridge this gap and revolutionise the way public servants learn and develop skills?Share article
Serious games utilise game mechanics, interactivity, and storytelling to engage participants in problem-solving, skill development, and learning while addressing real-world challenges. How could they help capacity building in government?Share article
Are you interested in embedding serious games in your capacity building strategy? Contact @CPI_foundation to explore the possibilities. Together, we can empower governments and changemakers, and drive impactful outcomes.Share article
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The problem of capacity building in India’s public sector
Let’s talk about Radha. Radha is a fictitious Block Community Mobiliser (BCM). In India, BCMs are a crucial frontline public health cadre. They manage a team of Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHA) that mobilise communities to seek public health services.
Recently, Radha joined a remote block in a rural district in central India. The responsibility was immense; she was expected to play a vital role in ensuring effective healthcare delivery and community engagement across ~200 villages.
Before joining, Radha undertook orientation training to acquire the necessary skills for her role. However, when faced with the complex challenges of managing a large team and addressing real-life community health issues, she often struggled to apply her learning effectively. The traditional training approaches she received fell short of preparing her for the real world.
The gap between training and practical application is a common issue faced by many public servants, including Radha. The focus on capacity building in the public sector has resulted in an overwhelming allocation of time, effort, and resources from the government.
This saturation of capacity building initiatives has not yielded the desired outcomes. Public servants, especially at the frontlines, often encounter challenges requiring specialised skills and knowledge. Traditional training methods have proven insufficient to engage and empower workers. As a result, motivation and knowledge retention among trainees remain low. But what if there was a solution to bridge this gap and revolutionise the way public servants learn and develop skills?
Could games provide a solution?
Enter serious games - interactive and immersive digital or offline experiences that blend entertainment and education. Games are powerful tools for teaching important lessons and cultivating critical skills. Serious games utilise game mechanics, interactivity, and storytelling to engage participants in problem-solving, skill development, and learning while addressing real-world challenges. By incorporating serious games into training programs, participants are empowered with essential capacities while making learning more engaging and enjoyable.
Serious games utilise game mechanics, interactivity, and storytelling to engage participants in problem-solving, skill development, and learning while addressing real-world challenges.
There are many examples of how serious games can effectively support capacity building. In aviation, flight simulators provide a risk-free environment for pilots to develop their skills through realistic scenarios, data analysis, and quick decision-making, significantly enhancing their competency and confidence.
Similarly, serious games have proved valuable in conflict resolution, as demonstrated by Peacemaker, a game immersing players in Israel-Palestine conflict scenarios. By promoting empathy, critical thinking, and negotiation skills, Peacemaker enables participants to explore peaceful resolutions and understand the consequences of their choices. Another noteworthy illustration comes from the game Rubbish, where players engage in urban planning challenges, encouraging collaboration and problem-solving to tackle waste management issues in cities.
The opportunities of serious games for capacity building
These examples demonstrate how serious games transcend passive learning by immersing participants in interactive experiences that support skill development and instil valuable lessons. The interactive nature of these games promotes active participation, knowledge retention, and improved decision-making capabilities. Moreover, serious games cater to different learning styles, ensuring people can grasp the content effectively.
By leveraging the power of serious games, the public sector can better equip its workforce with practical skills and enhance their readiness to tackle complex challenges. They can enable public servants like Radha to confidently navigate the intricacies of their roles, turning theoretical concepts into tangible actions that positively impact the lives of the people they serve. These games offer a way to revolutionise capacity building, making training more effective, engaging, and impactful for public servants. In turn, this helps to create a more resilient, efficient, and responsive public sector.
My next blog will discuss the connection between capacity building and the power of games and stories in teaching. We will explore how serious games can add value for public servants, providing practical skills and enhancing their readiness to tackle complex challenges.
Embed serious games in your strategy
At the Centre for Public Impact, we are at the forefront of such approaches in reimagining government. If you are interested in embedding serious games in your capacity building strategy, contact us to explore the possibilities. Together, we can empower governments and changemakers, and drive impactful outcomes.