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A Review of Dr. Karl Kapp’s new book, Gamification April 23, 2012

Posted by karlgrieb in Misc.

“Gamification” is a name that not many people outside of training (and possibly even inside training) are familiar with. Essentially, Gamification means the use of game mechanics to make

learning and instruction more fun. Using games in training or learning seems to be a touchy subject for many. There seems to be a stigma attached to gaming, in that if someone is playing a game (and having fun), how can that person possibly be learning? It’s really more of an “old-school” type of thinking, something similar to that  of which instructional designers encountered more than a decade ago when trying to introduce e-learning as a training solution.

However, as Karl Kapp points out in his book, The Gamification of Learning and Instruction, many companies like IBM and the U.S. Military, have successfully implemented the concept of gaming in training and learning. And with the price of incorporating gamification in learning becoming more and more affordable, many other companies and training organizations are taking the “risk.”

Kapp does a masterful job of breaking down gamification, the types of games, important components that make up games, the types of gamers, as well as the types of situations and game types that are best suited for them.  Kapp goes into detail about what “traits” a game needs in order to be successful – for instance, the game needs to be inviting, repeatable, and coherent (to name a few).

Kapp then ties gamification into popular learning theories like Motivation theory, the ARCS model, and intrinsic motivation, providing more than enough evidence that gamification and learning not only can be mentioned in the same sentence together, but can also enhance training and provide learner motivation that at times can’t be matched by traditional training solutions.

Then, Dr. Kapp goes a step further and analyzes the ADDIE method, Scrum Method, and a hybrid method to assist you in developing a gamification strategy.  Combine this book with the  Dr. Kapp’s Gadgets, Games and Gizmos for Learning, and you have the tools in your toolbelt to start creating meaningful games for learning in your training programs!


For more information on the book, please check out Dr. Kapp’s Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/gamificationLI. To order Dr. Kapp’s book, click here:  http://www.amazon.com/The-Gamification-Learning-Instruction-Game-based/dp/1118096347/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1334325604&sr=8-1.



1. kkapp (@kkapp) - April 24, 2012


Thanks for being part of the Blog Book Tour. I appreciate your comprehensive run down of the book and its elements.

I think the ARCS model has particular relevance for learning and development professionals thinking about creating engaging learning using Gamification techniques.

As a reminder to everyone, ARCS is a model developed by John Keller which contains for elements.

Attention: This means that you need to gain the attention of the learner. This can be through the use of incongruity, conflict, surprise or through stimulating curiosity through questions or a seemingly unbelievable quote or concept.

Relevance: This means the learning needs to be important for the learners. This means orienting the goal of the instruction to the learner or overtly matching the motive of the instruction with the motives of the learner or showing how the new knowledge is related to existing knowledge of modeling positive results of learning the new knowledge.

Confidence: This is the learner’s expectation that they can achieve success. If learners feel they can learn the material and are confident that they can do so, they tend to be more motivated to proceed. One way to achieve this is to start with simple elements and concepts and move up to more complicated material.

Satisfaction: Learners need to feel that the learning has value and that it is worth the continued effort. Provide learners with the opportunity to successfully apply their new knowledge and skills in a real or simulated setting so they can “see” how they can apply their learning.

Now, think to the last time you played a game (video or board game). Did the game grad your attention, did it establish clear goals and articulate those goals so everyone could understand them, did the game provide confidence that you could do well and even win? Did the game provide a level of satisfaction? I dare say that most games follow the ARCS model and much e-learning doesn’t.

ARCS is a great framework for thinking about the gamification of learning without thinking about points or rewards or external motivation. These elements help make games and e-learning internally motivating.

2. Gamification Blog Book Tour, Week Three Stops and Week Two Recap | Kapp Notes - April 30, 2012

[…] Next Karl Grieb of the ASTD Philadelphia eLearning SIG provides a description of the content of the book. He describes the break down of the elements of games and points out the section describing ADDIE versus Scrum as a development process. He also highlights the writing about different types of motivation including John Keller’s ARCS model. Read the post here. […]

3. Gamification Blog Book Tour, Week Three Stops and Week Two Recap | UpSearchLearn - August 25, 2012

[…] the writing about different types of motivation including John Keller’s ARCS model. Read the post here.Then Debbie Richards from Take an e-Learning Break wrote about four themes from the book including […]

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