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Gamification Case Study: Release Your Angry Bird June 28, 2014

Posted by stephanieF in Best Practices, Blended Learning, e-Learning Tools, Gaming and Simulation, Intructional Design, Trends.
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Our June 19th session was hosted by Zsolt Olah, a Senior Program Manager at Comcast University’s Product Knowledge team. About five years ago, when Comcast University started using more and more “challenges” and “immersive learning activities” in blended and e-learning solutions, gamification was not as loud and widespread as it is today.

In our session, Zsolt reviewed some of the background and recent realities of gamification. He then provided examples of gamified learning activities explaining that game-based thinking was just as important to the overall design and instructional value of a course. The attached PowerPoint also contains a few slides letting you know that Zsolt gave us a case-in-point gamified session as well (i.e. pigs showing team scores).

ATD_PHL_June2014_zsolt_gamification 2

Here are a few key points that Zsolt mentioned that accompany the slide presentation.

Some entertaining examples of gamification: Amazing Race (gamified running), Top Chef (gamified cooking). However, not everything should be gamified or people will become tired of it. With our training courses, gamification is scalable. You can apply a few or many elements – as long as the learning experience is improved to some degree.

There are two types of gamification: knowledge checks (check your memory) or content converted in a more memorable and immersive manner intended to teach you new things. It is proven that learning content through some kind of experience is more memorable. Games that provide challenges or goals and opportunities to learn something (even solely for entertainment) can invoke people to become so driven that collectively many, many hours are consumed playing (16 years spent every one hour).

Various levels of authoring software are available depending on your level of technical savvy:

> Off-the-shelf: Raptivity and eLearning Brothers have templates (rapid development, but structured, not much flexibility)

> Intermediate: Wavicle and Axonify have more flexibility, but require more development time.

> Higher-end: Construct 2 game engine has user physics built in (user actions trigger an onscreen effect). Much more development time; programmer background is useful, but not required.

Many graphics are free, but you must be sure to cite the sources somewhere! Graphic treatments (layout, imagery) can also be used to disguise typical eLearning interactions to seem more game-based, i.e. non-conventional placement of drag-and-drop objects on an image background.

Our Challenge: Convert content-based instructional design to game-based instructional design. Creating the framework first is the key. Write the story behind the game using reality elements and then turn them into a game.

Secrets of (Good) Simulation Design – Synopsis March 21, 2014

Posted by stephanieF in Best Practices, Gaming and Simulation, Intructional Design.
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Rich Mesch from Performance Development Group (PDG) joined us this month to discuss important aspects of good simulation design. By definition, a simulation is, “…a realistic controlled-risk environment where users can practice behaviors and experience the impacts of decisions.” There are several types of simulations: branching storyline (ex. choose your adventure), system dynamics (ex. decision-making over an extended time period), and equipment or software (ex. operation, or navigation and data entry).

Simulations can bridge the gap between, “learning something and then being able to do something with it.” By adding context, setting expectations for the reason a person should complete the simulation, and then providing a safe environment to practice we’ll give our audiences a better chance to learn and succeed in performing back on the job.

Good simulations are immersive, performance-based, based in reality, and have real-life goals and metrics. Storytelling is a key factor to writing simulations, but the reality factor must be performance-driven or else the audience can be distracted. And, while getting the details just right helps to replicate the environment yet instilling shades of gray where all the options for key decisions seem reasonable – can also invoke realistic and critical thinking. After all, real-life isn’t so black-and-white.

Lastly, as with all training deliverables, craft your simulation with the specific audience in mind. The power is in the design rather than the output.

For additional thoughts from Rich on simulations, check out PDG’s blog: http://blog.performdev.com/topic/simulation

This session was a great way to start our year of meetings. Stay tuned for other postings on what’s coming next. Our upcoming April session is described in a previous post, “Battle of the eLearning Tools.”  You can also see a listing of all SIG events on the ASTD Greater Philadelphia chapter web page at: http://www.astdphl.org/Default.aspx?pageId=1776221

Hooking Your e-Learners – Who Else Wants Fanatical Learners? January 5, 2007

Posted by Ben Craigo in Engaging e-Learners, Gaming and Simulation, Intructional Design, Trends.
37 comments

What if there was a way to not only increase the engagement factor of your e-Learning courses, but also increased the completion rate by learners, increased amount of what was learned and motivated them to seek out to take even more courses?

There’s a model in the online gaming community that does just that… (more…)

Possible To Be Too Engaging? December 8, 2006

Posted by Ben Craigo in Gaming and Simulation.
5 comments

There is an article in the New York Times today regarding the hazards of Nintendo’s new gaming console – the Wii (pronounced “We”).  It mentions that the interactivity this new console provides may have…

“…an unintended side effect: game controllers flying around living rooms and smashing into lamps, windows, televisions and foreheads.”

(more…)

Simulation and Game Design Fundamentals November 27, 2006

Posted by Ben Craigo in Gaming and Simulation.
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Clark Aldrich wrote a summary piece, of a longer piece (pages 8 and 15), that hits on the critical need for the fundamentals of game and simulation design to be taught across functional areas.  I couldn’t agree more.  The vast majority of those who are developing e-Learning right now do not know much about what makes a good game or simulation.  (more…)