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What does one hour of training look like in a serious game?

Most of the requests I get from corporate and government organizations are for educational simulations and serious games (sims) that are one hour long. Given the interactive nature of sims, this metric can be challenging.

Here is the rule of thumb that I use. For a sim that will fulfill one hour of training time, I assume the following defaults:
  • There will be an introduction, a conclusion, and six levels of gameplay.
  • The duration of a successful play-through will take, on average:
    • Level 1: 1 minute
    • Level 2: 2 minutes
    • Level 3: 3 minutes
    • Level 4: 4 minutes
    • Level 5: 6 minutes
    • Level 6: 8 minutes
  • Each level will have 2 additional minutes of briefings and debriefings.
  • The introduction and conclusion will each be 3 minutes.
  • Multiply each level average duration by 1.75 (this accounts for some failure and replaying).
This is a total of 56.25 minutes, or "one hour" of training. I will change this depending on the client and situation. And clearly some people will get through it faster, and others slower. But this rule of thumb is accepted by clients and roughly translates the old metrics to the new opportunities.

This is an excerpt from my next book, Designing Sims the Clark Aldrich Way, for now free (in draft form and open for comments) currently in Microsoft Word.

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