Thursday, May 6, 2010

Competition is Key

We're often asked (and we often ask ourselves) what--exactly--makes game shows such effective training tools. They're undeniably and unarguably engaging and effective, but what makes them so compelling?

There are several components that go into a game show that make it an incredible training tool, such as:

• Interaction
• Utilizing questions
• It's a change of pace
• Capitalizing on multimedia
• Etc.

But one of the single largest components that make game shows more effective than, say, a traditional oral question-and-answer review or a poll, is competition. There's something in our DNA, in the heart of how we live and work that makes competition appealing. Perhaps it came from the caveman days when we competed for natural resources and now plays out in gentler, less primitive ways.

The act of competing makes our brains secrete adrenaline, and adrenaline works to fuse memory. Competition also generates emotion--another memory-making component. These elements combined allow game shows to pack a powerful punch and have great training impact where content retention is concerned.

Competition factors in multiple ways during a game show:

Team competition: When placed on a team in a game show, you're no longer just individually responsible for your performance, you're also collectivistically responsible for the success of your team. This peer pressure can be incredibly motivating and can also add a great teambuilding/networking dynamic in the training class.

Self-motivated competition: Even casually watching a game show on television, most people will find themselves playing along. It's not as if we get prizes for answering a question on Jeopardy! correctly, but we play along for the sake of our own self-knowledge and satisfaction. We compete with ourselves.

Competition against others: A game show is a vehicle for friendly competition. A participant competes against others to ring-in first, competes to give the most correct answer, and competes to get the most total points. This competition generates discussion, desire to play another game, and a focus on the content at hand. It's also an incredibly motivational way to interact within a training session.

While there isn't any one single element that makes game shows successful, it's pretty clear that competition is one of the more powerful elements in making them an incredibly effective training tool.

No comments: