June 20 (UPI) -- The Millennial generation has grown up on devices. They are a different breed than the Baby Boomers or Generation X. Due to this reality, they require a different form of workforce training. Corporations have realized this for some time; however, even the military is moving toward incorporating gaming into its training programs.
Why? Because it gets results. It's enjoyable by those playing the game, which leads to higher retention of data and of the employees themselves.
Special forces have long been reported to use this technique to train operators. Now, the mainstream military is getting on board. A new Air Force facility is being built with a Dayton, Ohio area STEM educational facility to explore more gaming applications that are relevant for military functions.
Military.com recently reported, "The Dayton Regional STEM School has opened the doors to a 30,000-square-foot building expansion that includes educational outreach center for gaming software and programming aimed at Air Force training.
"The STEM School and the Air Force Research Laboratory partnered to co-locate the Gaming Research Integration for Learning Laboratory, or GRILL, last October. The Air Force allocated nearly $2 million to pay for equipment and staff."
The military is learning from civilian business.
"We have to rethink how we incentive, motivate and recognize workers," said Sam Caucci, CEO of 1Huddle, a workforce training company, who adds that these quick-burst games take less than 2 to 3 minutes to complete -- perfect for a generation with a short attention span, reported Travel Market Report.
"The workforce is different and it means managers and leaders have to adjust. If we really care about driving great business and growing great service, we need to market employees with the same time and sensitivity as we do our customers," he said
The military's customers could be an infantry unit in the field or a sailor learning a system on a ship. The needs are vast and training is an integral part of military success.
"This is a long-term commitment for us -- we're here for the long haul," Air Force Research Laboratory's Executive Director Jack Blackhurst said. "And this is what [former Secretary of the Air Force] Dr. Heather Wilson wants us to do -- to get out in the community and universities to get more engaged in these activities that then bring new interests and technology to the laboratory from a variety of resources."
Caucci sees gaming not only helping businesses attract and retain the next generation of employees, but in the long term, improving revenue impact, decreasing lost sales opportunities, and reducing employee turnover.
Sounds like the military could benefit from the same results.
Trip Skinner is an independent consultant and a contractor for the U.S. Department of Defense.