Wargames and experiential learning

polishadp3

Every so often you encounter an article or blog post that ties a lot of things together, and expresses for you things you have thought about – only in a much more coherent way. Today I found one of these by Roger Mason, in a blog he keeps for LECMgt, his consulting company.

https://www.lecmgt.com/blog/commercial-wargames-and-experiential-learning/

In the post, he talks about the value of civilian/commercial wargames (and their designers): how they teach lessons, how they teach adults, and what they have to offer the professional wargaming world and the learners it serves. Nothing that new, on the surface – we know how commercial off the shelf (COTS) games are sometimes mined for ideas by the professionals – but Roger ties it in with principles of andragogy (how adults learn, as opposed to children) particularly the theory of experiential learning as shown by the Kolb cycle, and shows the layers of learning that player-learners can extract from playing (experiencing) games: from concepts to context to application of learning.

A certain part of my day job involves knowing about work-integrated learning (a form of experiential learning) and encouraging it in post-secondary educational institutions… so I have been familiar with these concepts for a long time, and the value of games in assisting learning (games generally, and wargames specifically). But Roger has put it so much better than I would ever have been able to write it… so go read it!

(Also, Roger talks about the work of John Clerk, a British civilian who was interested in naval tactics and studied their history and development, and worked out a few ideas of his own using maps and miniatures. He published them in 1782, as one of the first examples of operational research in the Western world, a Royal Navy Board of Inquiry concluded they had merit, and that was part of the story of why and how Nelson “crossed the T” at Trafalgar! This was a new one to me…)

[Edited to add:]

Just a few days later, here is another excellent post on wargaming and Professional Military Education (PME) by RAAF Group Captain Jo Brick writing in The Forge, an online portal of the Australian Defence College (where she is currently Chief of Staff):

https://theforge.defence.gov.au/wargaming/gaming-and-professional-military-education

The Forge has a whole series of excellent articles on the uses of wargaming of which this is only the latest example. See them all at:

https://theforge.defence.gov.au/wargaming

About brtrain
This blog is mostly devoted to posts, work and resources on "serious" conflict simulation games.

4 Responses to Wargames and experiential learning

  1. Pingback: Highly recommended reading found by #wargame designer Brian Train – Wargames and experiential learning – RockyMountain Navy Gamer

  2. Pingback: #SundaySummary – From Kursk to Karelia to No Motherland Without; complete Scythe, Dicing with @ADragoons, Cepheus Engine, and too much Kickstarter #wargame #boardgame #TravellerRPG – RockyMountain Navy Gamer

  3. sunray42 says:

    John Clerk is famous in the UK wargaming world, John Curry captured his contribution in his Wargaming History book about naval wargaming I am pretty sure….

  4. Tim Densham says:

    As a very micro-level example, I took a ROTC class called “Small Unit Tactics” during college, looking for fun and easy credits (I was not in ROTC). I paid only a minimal amount of attention, sat in the back of the class, did homework for other classes. The other students thought I was brilliant with my answers and the rare times I’d ask questions, and thought it was from 4 years in the USMC. The reality was I spent 2 summers playing Squad Leader solo as there wasn’t anything else to do on the farm. Squad Leader set me up for a long and successful military career. That’s what commercial games can do!

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