Igaming training: going beyond the clichés and lip-service learning

Clarion Gaming’s head of education and training, Andrew Spencer, shares his observations on how gaming differs from other sectors when it comes to learning


Clarion Gaming’s head of education and training, Andrew Spencer, shares his observations on how gaming differs from other sectors when it comes to learning

As a relative newcomer to the gaming sector I’ve spent my first few months watching and learning, trying to work out how the sector ‘ticks’. As another year starts I decided to consider what our resolutions and priorities should be.

I’ve spent time delivering, managing and organising training in diverse sectors — engineering, defence, HR, telecoms  — and the comparisons with gaming are interesting.

There are occasional parallels and similarities, for example, the focus on regulatory and compliance training straddles most sectors, with the inevitable risk and default to lip service ‘click and move on’ e- learning (take a look at how some airlines are approaching the obligatory safety demo and video if you want some ideas of how to encourage active engagement in mandatory activity).

There’s also the assumption that training and learning exists only within the confines of a room with an obligatory set of slides and screen, with learners agog at the wisdom of a guru at the front; the delegate is somehow transformed from caterpillar to butterfly by the end of the session.

These are all common features of training across sectors, but there are some differences in gaming.

For example, there’s a genuine appetite for good quality training in response to genuine business needs, what’s sometimes referred to as ‘just in time’ training is required for specific people because of their job and the business situation at a point in time.

I have a theory as to the reason for this difference – in most sectors there’s an established career structure with defined rungs associated with qualifications and courses. It’s easy with this structure to default to the established programmes and courses regardless of the individual and business need.

It’s different in gaming – there’s no single established career and qualification structure across the industry, so managers and L&D specialists have to think differently, and rightly so. My early experience of our clients is refreshing – they start with the business need and organise training accordingly, and courses are organised and planned with the outcome in mind for those who need it to do the job.

The other advantage is that those handling training delivery fulfil one of my own two basic criteria for trainers – they know and can talk about their subject through experience of working in the sector. Controversial? I doubt it. I’ll discuss the other criterion at a later date.

All of this helps set some resolutions for the year – you might want to challenge your own training providers as well:

  • Ask the client what they need, don’t tell them
  • Remember that the training doesn’t stop at the training room door – put the support in place that enables ‘transfer’ onto the job
  • Work out what role learning technology has in all of this – there’s plenty of e-learning out there, but does it do more than tick the regulatory box?

Feel free to tweet us your views @TG_Academy_ in response, whether in agreement tor otherwise, or come and see us and have a chat at ICE in London from 6-8 February (stand 29-260), where The Gaming Academy will be showcasing its current and proposed courses.

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