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Game On: The Benefits of Hands-On, Gamified Learning in Cyber Training

By Angela Shugarts • Posted over 3 years ago


What is gamified learning? Before we dive into that question, let’s discuss some of the ways we currently learn about cyber today. Traditional cyber training has been conducted in the same way for years, comprised of static, classroom-style settings complete with a teacher lecturing and passive listeners.

  • 40% of what they’ve learned after 20 minutes
  • Between 50-80% of what they’ve learned after one day
  • 77% of what they’ve learned after six days
  • 90% of what they’ve learned after one month

In addition to forgetting material learned, there’s minimal opportunity for the student to proactively solve problems, think critically, and analyze material. Instead, they superficially understand concepts without truly learning their application to real-world situations. This leaves the trainees disengaged, disempowered, bored, and unmotivated.

We believe there’s a better way to deliver information security training—a way that engages teams in healthy competition and in critical thinking and problem-solving activity. Through active learning, studies show learners are more engaged, empowered, excited, and possess deep, conceptual understandings of topics learned.

So why is active learning so important for cybersecurity professionals?

Because the undeniable 

How significant is this issue? According to a recent 

So what can we do about this?

Consider gamified cyber training

Not only is hands-on, active learning important but we believe that gamification is the natural, logical step in training the 

Even academic institutions across cyber schools are exploring

Unlike compliance-driven teaching methods, gamified teaching engages practitioners individually and in teams, through modern learning strategies. It works by deploying connected, interactive, social settings that allow learners to excel in competitive, strategic situations. Further, it enables learners to apply what they know to simulated environments or “worlds,” creating a natural flow that keeps learners engaged and focused. Organizations that offer gamified exercises to teams report that 

In gamified environments, trainees are typically:

  • rewarded for good behavior
  • incentivized to maintain good behavior
  • encouraged to dialogue about their lessons learned with peers
  • reminded of what they don’t yet know and held accountable
  • engaged in their progress thanks to leaderboards
  • prepared to participate in simulated threat situations that further prepare them when real-world situations occur

Active, gamified cyber training is only effective if employees apply their skills learned and acquired to real-world scenarios. For this reason, cybersecurity leaders are encouraged to measure the effectiveness of training efforts through regular audits and assessments to determine which employees may still pose a risk to the overall security posture of the organization.

“Keeping our workforce engaged, educated and satisfied at work is critical to ensuring organisations do not increase complexity in the already high-stakes game against cyber crime,” Grant Bourzikas, chief information security officer at McAfee. (ComputerWeekly)

Great, there are clear benefits. Now what?

Now it’s time to reflect on how your organization can

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