Everybody loves to play.
Huizinga in his theory of culture as play states that play is an integral part of producing and signifying culture. Learning is playing and an important part of that process is learning to play. In my new (and first) job as elearning course developer I see the possibility of bringing back play in to our learning modules. Luckily for me, I haven't yet met the workflow, budget and technical restraints, which will undoubtedly surface once I start being swallowed up by the day-to-day affairs of simply 'doing-your-job".
Therefore is now the time to shoot high flying ideas and thoughts here, for future reference and/or hope.
So what to do with play and games. Let me start off with stating that I see a lot of boring stuff passing by me every day: safety regulations, compliance training, guidelines, definitions, work flow procedures, you name it. They are all things that are necessary, but dull to the bone. Things we need to know for our jobs, but aren't really interested in knowing. Merely bashing it into the people needing to know it, is what mostly happens in these cases. Flying the flag: "What needs to be done, needs to be done, so do it!" is what makes endless training sessions, illegible powerpoints and sadistic trainers flourish.
We want a student to know "all the ins and outs of the job", which is of course perfectly reasonable. But all too often the extent of "all the ins and outs" is taken too literally by content specialists. The result is a gargantuan amount of content which needs to be 'taught' to the student. Every drop of information needs to be poured into the brain of the student - but knowing it all is an illusion.
Instead it is much more sensible to aim at providing someone with what s/he needs to know to be good and efficient at what they need to do with this knowledge. Notice how a dimension of 'action' enters the equation of learning here: knowledge doesn't needs to be learned for the sake of knowledge (that is something which happens mostly tacitly or voluntarily) but we need knowledge to enable us to act.
In short: we need to learn how to play.