Serious games are video games designed to improve learning, and players engage in serious games with that understanding (Derryberry, 2007). Also known as immersive learning simulations, digital game-based learning, and gaming simulations, serious games are developed with specific learning outcomes in mind that will result in measurable, sustained changes in performance or behavior.
Serious games can allow players to apply what they have learned in an L&D experience and apply it in a safe, simulated environment. For example, health care professionals can practice a new medical procedure using a serious sim game before introducing it in the workplace. There is also evidence that serious games can develop soft skills like emotional intelligence, communication management, and critical problem solving and collaboration skills (Marinho, 2012).
Serious games are increasingly being used by large U.S. employers to recruit, improve communication among managers and their staffs, and to train employees and new hires at all levels in their organizations (Derryberry, 2007). The U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. Army, Nortel, Cold Stone Creamery, McKinsey & Co., SAS Institute, and Digital Equipment are just a few organizations using serious games in their workplaces (Derryberry, 2007; Maurer, 2012; Steinberg, 2012).