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Didactic foundations of the organization and conduct of game training at a military university

Games used in the teaching practice of military universities are active teaching methods. This is because in them, as a rule, the productive and transformative activity of cadets and students predominates. Educational games are characterized by:

- multivariance and multi-alternative solutions, from which it is required to make the choice of the most rational;

- the need to make decisions in the face of uncertainty and in an environment of conditional practice;

- a variety of conditions for the game, different from the standard, the appearance of which is possible in the future practical activities of a military specialist;

- compressed time frames, the possibility of repeated situations;

- the visibility of the consequences of decisions;

- integration of theoretical knowledge acquired by cadets and students with the practice of future professional activities, the acquisition of skills in the specialty;

- wide opportunities for individualization of training.

The game develops productive creative search thinking of cadets and students not at all, but in relation to the fulfillment of future duties and functions. During the training game, it is possible to cancel a decision that turned out to be unsuccessful, go back and make another series of decisions in order to determine their advantages and disadvantages compared to those already tested. At the same time, the same game situation can be played several times in order to enable students to visit different roles and offer their own solutions.

Educational games develop and consolidate the skills of independent work among cadets and students, the ability to think professionally, solve problems and manage the team, make decisions and organize their implementation. During the game, students develop the following skills:

- collection and analysis of information necessary for decision making;

- making decisions in the context of incomplete or insufficiently reliable information, evaluating the effectiveness of decisions;

- analysis of a specific type of task;

- establishing links between various areas of future professional activity;

- teamwork, collegial decision making using group thinking techniques;

- abstract and figurative thinking as the basis for the effective creative use of a systematic approach to the study of processes and phenomena.

Among the main functions of game training at a military university, it is advisable to single out the cognitive, research, educational, as well as the control function.

It must be pointed out that the games in the higher military school are one of the most important elements of the volitional training of future officers. Participating in them, cadets and students are accustomed to solve professional problems in difficult, close to real conditions, undergo a kind of psychological hardening.

Currently, the higher military school has accumulated a significant arsenal of various game teaching methods. Consider the didactic capabilities of some of them, which have found the widest use in the teaching practice of Russian military universities.

Games as a teaching method are distinguished not only by the significant activity of the participants, but also by the greater, compared with traditional methods, intellectual and mental stress of cadets and students. When developing, planning, and conducting game classes, military teachers must clearly understand and take into account their didactic features.

For a military teacher, didactic games are a rather laborious type of training. Preparation for their implementation requires both a deep understanding of the learning process in the new conditions, and a large time-consuming teacher. Experience shows that 1 hour of work in a group of 15 people on a specific situation of medium complexity requires 12-15 hours of preparatory work [15].

The question arises: are game teaching methods too complicated in terms of complexity, time and effort to develop them, is it not easier to give traditional lecture courses and conduct practical classes? However, if you weigh all the advantages of games, it turns out that the “benefit” from their use significantly exceeds the development costs. Of course, the appropriateness of developing a game must be brought into line with the volume of the discipline, the goals and objectives to be solved during its study, and the contribution to the training of cadets and students.

When evaluating games as a learning method, a number of circumstances should be kept in mind.

Firstly, games in comparison with other teaching methods have one indisputable advantage: the ability to integrate acquired knowledge in relation to the chosen profession.

Secondly, once a good game is created, it can be used for many years as an effective tool for teaching several generations of cadets and students. Of course, the content of the game should be updated annually in accordance with a change in the content of science itself.

Thirdly, game teaching methods, with the help of which students master professional activities and acquire knowledge without direct intervention or the help of a teacher (the latter remains as if behind the scenes), are a powerful means of awakening interest in the content of this activity. In the context of an increase in the share of independent work of cadets and listeners of the game, they represent an ideal form of its implementation.

Fourth, it is difficult to overestimate the appropriateness of acquiring the skills of making responsible decisions in an environment of conditional practice. Training in the game can prevent real mistakes that future military specialists will encounter when they switch to independent professional activities.

Fifthly, in the game the learning process can be successfully combined with the objectives of the study, thus clearly demonstrating to the cadets and students the research method in action. Therefore, when developing a game plan, there are a number of questions (problems) to be investigated, as well as the allocation of a separate group of game participants, the responsibility of which includes timing and fixing private results of the game.

Sixth, invaluable for the future military specialist is the acquisition of experience in the comprehensive formulation of the problem, coordination of individual priorities in group decision making and its implementation.

Seventhly, games contribute to the development of group thinking, the ability to act as part of a team, seeking to work out a sound general solution.

Eighth, games allow you to try out new ones: forms and rules, management structures, standards and methods, checking them, as on a test bench, which is the game itself.

Thus, educational games have wide didactic opportunities. With their help, an extremely wide range of abilities, skills and professionally significant qualities of the personality of the future officer can be formed, depending on how the preparation and conduct of the game is organized, what motives are laid in its foundation by developers and teachers.

The high efficiency of game teaching methods is due to significant advantages compared to traditional ones. I would like to highlight some of them:

- the visibility of the consequences of decisions. In the game, you can neglect the details, exclude from the information array the so-called “noise” generated by the properties of real processes that are irrelevant;

- variable time scale. The game allows you to “live faster” or “slower”, accelerate and slow down the course of events. In the conditions of the conditional practice that the game creates, you can “live” several years in a few hours;

- repetition of experience with a change in attitudes (accumulation of skills during training). In the game, you can play the same situation several times, approaching its solution each time in a new way;

- the ability to change the scale of coverage. A different scale of coverage of game links can significantly reduce the time needed to find fundamental solutions in different conditions.

Let us briefly consider the basics of planning, as well as the procedure for organizing and conducting training at a military university using game teaching methods.

The decision to include the game in the curriculum is made at the stage of developing a general training schedule for the specialty. Before this, the key points of the process of training military specialists are identified and established, into which it is advisable to introduce game teaching methods. It is better to place them in the curriculum so that each lesson requires the accumulation of knowledge not in one but in several related disciplines. At the same time, game classes should become more complicated as we move from junior to senior courses, and cover more and more real problems and tasks that most often occur in practice. In this case, the role of intersubject and interdepartmental relations existing in a military university is high.

At the final stage of training, it is desirable to conduct complex faculty business games, covering a number of disciplines taught by several departments, possibly cadets and students of various specialties.

The pedagogical practice of the leading military universities of Russia shows that it is advisable to plan and conduct in the university 1–2 games and at least 2–3 game classes such as simulation exercises, analysis of specific situations, and playing professional roles in each semester.
Thus, with a five-year training period, the student will have to participate in 8–12 games and 16–18 game classes [15].

When planning the time of the game, in addition to the general requirements for the class schedule, you should additionally keep in mind the following points:

- it is better to plan the educational game after the main lectures of the course are read and the students are theoretically prepared to participate in it;

- for the game, it is recommended to select separate days that are not loaded with other activities in order to focus the attention and strength of the participants on the game itself. If the game takes 2 or 4 hours, then it is advisable to end the school day with it, since cadets and students after the game can not immediately (leave) the role, switch to other disciplines;

- Before the game should be given time to prepare, for which it is necessary to provide that the time of independent work on the eve was free from any tasks other than preparing for the game;

- if the game takes more than one school day, you need to think about whether to assign these days in a row or is it better to take a break. During such a break, cadets and students can perform individual homework, and at first the participants who were lagging behind will be able to catch up with those going at a normal pace, and thus will not hamper the continuation of the game;

- the game takes a lot of time and attention of cadets and students, therefore, it is necessary to coordinate the time of its implementation with the general schedule of work performed in the semester.

Important when conducting educational games is their information support. Let us briefly dwell on this.

Information support for educational games includes a number of components:

- a description of the situation laid down in the game lesson;

- regulations and criteria for evaluating the results of a game lesson, taking into account their “weight” and significance;

- documents for planning and organizing a game lesson;

- regulatory and reference data.

Game situations form the basis of the game lesson program and, as a rule, include its detailed description. The latter can be presented at the beginning of the game in the form of source data and replenished and refined in the process of its implementation using input.

The rules of the educational game record the rights and obligations of the teacher and students, the sequence, content and distribution in time of the individual stages, stages and steps covered by the lesson, the order of interaction of its participants.

An important component of the information support of the educational game is the documentation, which includes the source and planning documents issued to the participants for working out, reflecting their decisions, and, finally, reporting documents that record the results of these decisions. Such results in games are most often revealed with the help of expert assessments put up by a group of the most trained cadets and students or by teachers conducting these classes.

Normative and reference data, as a rule, are presented by a special set of documents that are used by the participants in the game lesson. The standards can be constant, that is, unchanged for the entire time of the game or constant only during a particular stage, or take a certain value (taking into account the established probabilities) from the range of possible values. The values ​​of some standards may vary depending on the decisions made by the participants.

Developed information support allows you to create a game model that forms the basis of the game lesson.

The success of educational games as a learning method to a much greater extent than traditional ones depends on material and technical support, which includes audiences (classes) specially equipped for games, means of information display, controls, simulators, computer equipment, etc. .

Of course, the composition of material and technical support and its placement to a decisive degree depend on the form of the game session, the number of participants, and many other factors.

The experience of the country's leading military universities indicates that the system of stimulation and evaluation of the activities of cadets and students is of particular importance for the success of gaming classes.

Evaluation of the activities of the participants of the game each time consists of an assessment of the analysis of the situation, the developed and adopted decisions, as well as its implementation at the time established by the standards.

The analysis of each individual situation is a training not so much in the choice of decisions, as it is sometimes considered, but in the analysis, which is the threshold of their adoption. In some cases, analysis is more important than the solution itself, although for many cadets and students the last one is the most difficult.

The pedagogical practice of using game teaching methods in military universities indicates the feasibility of building an incentive system based on arbitration.

Table 11.1

Sample rating system of various types

activities of cadets and students during the game

Arbitration of a business game is a set of continuous monitoring activities carried out by several permanent arbitration groups. The number and composition of these groups is determined in advance by the head of the game based on the number of its participants. Usually, a representative of the management team of the game (teacher) and the required number of assistants (students) are appointed to the arbitration group. Arbitration groups during the game continuously monitor the participants in the game and evaluate their actions, accruing points for successful activities or any violations. The system of evaluations of various types of activities of cadets and students during the game is developed in advance and issued to the arbitration group for guidance.

The final score of each participant in the game in points is determined as the sum of individual ratings (including fines) for the introductory ones. An approximate system of assessments of various types of activities of cadets and students during the game is given in table 11.1.

Limitations and the controlled time given to the participants of the game to solve problems mobilizes everyone, thereby increasing the effectiveness of training. It is known from experience that in groups where the game mode was not taken into account, it took 30–40% more time to solve similar problems. Moreover, the level of learning material at the same time decreased by 10% (compared with other groups) [15].

The experience of the use of arbitration shows that in this way it is possible to successfully solve a number of important didactic and educational tasks, among which stand out:

- prompt and informed assessment of all types of practical activities of individual groups and each participant in the game, as well as the degree of their preparedness for the implementation of the respective functional duties;

- the direction of the participants in the game, outlined by the game plan;

- preparation of materials for evaluating the game as a whole and determining the effectiveness of the organization of the educational process in this discipline.

If we generalize the experience of conducting educational games, then the problems that inevitably arise in this case become clear. The first and one of the most difficult that the head of the game faces is that throughout the game it is necessary to provide its participants with a relatively uniform and continuous workload. Difficulties arise due to the fact that most decisions are made sequentially, in the logical order of the hierarchy of leadership. А отсюда становятся неизбежными потери времени на ожидание решений или рабочих результатов.

Другой проблемой является объективная оценка индивидуальной работы каждого участника игры. Ведь результат игры в ряде случаев не связан с деятельностью (должностного лица). Эту проблему можно решить только активным участием в игре преподавателей-руководителей, которые могут в данном случае получить более полное представление о способностях курсантов и слушателей и использовать эти выводы для оценки ее результатов.

Существенную роль в поднятии эффективности игрового процесса играет заключительный этап игры, в особенности обсуждение ее итогов. Опыт ряда военных вузов свидетельствует, что если после игры обсуждение не проводилось, приобретенные в ходе игры навыки быстро утрачиваются. Следовательно, послеигровое обсуждение итогов, раскрывающее причины получения тех или иных результатов, так же важно, как и сама игра.

Обсуждение итогов целесообразнее всего проводить методом конференции, чтобы каждый из ее участников имел возможность высказать свое мнение о методической необходимости такого занятия.

Разумеется, конференция должна заканчиваться выступлением руководителя, который не только подводит общий итог, но и дает оценку работе каждого курсанта и слушателя.
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