ATD Blog

6 Skills That Games Teach

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Games teach us necessary skills for our work life and beyond. The following list outlines some knowledge elements and the methods by which they have traditionally been relayed.

  1. Declarative knowledge is information about something. This is typically facts, rules, or definitions. Compliance or regulatory requirements are part of this group of knowledge.

  2. The instructional method for declarative knowledge is the presentation of information in an organized manner, allowing the learner to create connections.

  3. Conceptual knowledge is the knowledge of principles, generalizations, or models that can be applied to situations. The instructional method to teach conceptual knowledge is the presentation of a model or concept and the reinforcement of that model with activity.

  4. Procedural knowledge is the knowledge of how to do something. The instructional method for procedural knowledge is to show the procedure, practice it, and explain why a particular process is in place.

  5. Decision making is the process of gathering information to make an informed choice or action. The best instructional method to teach decision-making skills is to provide examples and reinforce good decisions.

  6. Communication and soft skills are personal attributes that enable an individual’s interactions with others. These skills include leadership, communications, and teamwork. A good instructional method is to provide examples of various interactions and practice the skills needed to make those interactions successful.

All of these skills have long been part of training. Many elements of these skills lend themselves to a gaming component for instruction as well. Take a look at the Delivery Methods by Knowledge Type table for ideas.


Even with this knowledge, incorporating gaming into an organization's learning solutions can seem overwhelming without an understanding of what a game is and how to implement them. For help, join me at the Core 4 Conference in September for the hands-on session: Getting Started Creating Games for Learning.

About the Author

Stephanie Daul is an independent learner consultant with more than 15 years of experience. She designs performance-improvement solutions for traditional classroom instruction, e-learning, and virtual sessions using new technologies and methodologies. As a consultant with global Fortune 500 companies, Stephanie creates virtual synchronous and asynchronous learning experiences from analysis through implementation. She has designed and implemented more than a dozen gamified learning experiences and is the author of the TD at Work issue "Game Design for Learning." Stephanie educates others on learning techniques that use new technologies, including mobile, QR codes, and xAPI. She holds an MA from Roosevelt University in training and development and a BA in education from Northern Illinois University.

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