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Quick Start Guide for Game Based Learning (Free Webinar)

A Primer On Play: How to Use Games for Learning

Get a Quick Start Guide for Game Based Learning Design

You’re not going to get from “zero to game designer” in a day. You’re also not going to convince your organization to abandon old mindsets and give a gamified approach a shot in a single meeting. Getting buy-in and understanding the value of a new approach can be tough… and you are going to need all of the information you can get in order to make your case.

This February, we started hosting a free webinar series to teach folks how the “fun” in games maps to learning outcomes. Since then, we have helped hundreds of people get started with game based learning. We have two more sessions planned for the summer, as well as an all-day workshop opportunity at the end of August. Register for one of our upcoming sessions below.

We like to think we’ve learned a thing or two about games over the last several years. Through regular play sessions, creating a board game to spark social change, designing custom learning games for corporate clients and launching our Knowledge Guru® game engine, we are immersed in all things game-related and loving every minute of it. Sharon Boller, president of BLP, is especially passionate about games. Recently, she has partnered with Dr. Karl Kapp to deliver a series of hands-on learning game design workshops. Karl’s work in this field is unmatched… and their partnership is deepening our understanding of what’s possible with game based learning.

That’s all well and good… but what’s in it for you? I’m glad I asked… because Sharon has developed an easy-to-follow road map for getting started with game based learning. We call it our Quick Start Guide for Game Based Learning. Sharon covers this, and more, in our Primer On Play webinar series. Register Now.

Quick Start Guide for Game Based Learning

  1. Play Games; evaluate what you are playing: You read lots of books before you write one. You listen to plenty of music before you compose a symphony. Guess what? The same is true for games! You have to spend time playing (and having fun) with various game mechanics to figure out how you can use them in a learning context.
  2. Get familiar with game elements and how to use them: Sharon explores 9 of the most common game types in A Primer On Play… as well as the game mechanics you will encounter most often. You’ll need an effortless understanding of these mechanics in order to incorporate them into your learning games.
  3. Think about the learning – and then the game: A Primer On Play identifies the four essential elements needed for people to learn… then shows what game mechanics map to those learning elements. No use using game elements that don’t support the learning.
  4. Dump ADDIE and go Agile Instead: A formalized approach to ADDIE is just too rigid. More on the Agile approach to learning design in BLPer Jake Huhn’s recent blog post.
  5. Playtest. Playtest. Did I say playtest? You’ll need to playtest learning games and iterate much more than you usually do for an eLearning close. This is why an agile approach is so critical.
You can expect to leave A Primer On Play: How to Use Games for Learning with a much better understanding of essential learning elements, game mechanics, and the steps you can take right away to get started with game-based learning.

The Knowledge Guru game engine

Learn about Knowledge Guru

We recently unveiled our Knowledge Guru Game Creation Wizard, which allows users to create their own learning games quickly. We will use the game’s mechanics and design as a case study of how game based learning and gamification work. We will show how every game mechanic is carefully tied to a learning goal, which makes the game effective at helping learners retain fact-based information.

You’ll learn about the product… and how we used game elements to drive specific learning goals. We also use it as a case study for business results you can expect to see from a game-based learning initiative.

THURSDAY, June 27th – 11 AM EDT, 8 AM PDT

May 8 am webinar - Register Now

Read the full webinar description and register here.

THURSDAY, July 25TH – 11 AM EDT, 8 AM PDT

May 11 am webinar - Register Now

Read the full webinar description and register here.

Play to Learn: Designing Effective Learning Games

A Primer On Play will give you a nice overview of game based learning… but there’s no substitute for hands-on practice with experienced instructors. If you are ready to take the next step, consider registering for our learning game design workshop hosted by Sharon Boller and Karl Kapp. It will be held on August 28th in Indianapolis.

Play to Learn - Designing Effective Learning Games

Read the full event description and register here.

How to Start Designing Game Based Learning (Free Webinar)

A Primer On Play: How to Use Games for Learning

How do I Start Designing Game Based Learning?

It’s a question you have often asked yourself. You want to improve your training because learners are bored and tired of the same old stuff. You know games are hot and game based learning is proven to improve training efficacy. But how do you start from square one and, well, make it happen?

We host a series of free webinars about how to map the “fun” in games to the principles of effective learning design. We use our Knowledge Guru game engine as a case in point, so the webinars are a great way to learn more about the product, too. We have added a session in April and two more in May. You can register below.

We are always working on our next learning game… whether it is a custom solution for a client or a standalone product like Knowledge Guru. One of the best ways you can start designing a new game is with decision trees and storyboarding. This lets us how how the story progresses… and what decisions learners will make throughout. Here is what ours looked like at a recent design meeting:

Storyboarding Learning Games

To avoid getting overwhelmed, it’s helpful to focus on the essentials of your learning game when you start design. Here are a few of the topics we discussed at our recent design session:

  • What is the initial response we want learners to have when they first log on? We came up with thoughts such as “This is different from what I’m used to doing.” “I am going to get lots of value out of this because the game explained how it will help me learn.” “This story is interesting, there is a payoff of getting to the end and I want to get there.” 
  • What level of Bloom’s Taxonomy are you trying to reach in the game? Since we are designing a game where the content can be plugged in by the user, we are focusing on the more base levels: procedures, facts, concepts, etc.
  • What level of competence are you trying to achieve? For a game that will be played for a short time, we recommend shooting for conscious competence. Unconscious competence is probably not realistic if you only want people playing in short bursts for a finite amount of time.
  • What level of feedback will you provide? How will you provide the feedback?
  • How do we encapsulate learning and fun in the shortest burst of time possible with repetition and spaced learning? How do we improve performance?
We can’t answer all of these questions for you in one short webinar, but we do have some tips and tricks that will give you a great start.

Learn more about games for learning in our webinar series

The webinar is presented by Sharon Boller, president of BLP, and I’ll be co-facilitating. Sharon has been the lead designer on numerous learning game projects. These sessions will be a great chance to hear Sharon speak on games and gamification if you cannot attend her workshop with Karl Kapp at ASTD ICE on 5/18/13.

The Knowledge Guru game engine

Learn about Knowledge Guru

We will use our Knowledge Guru game engine as a case study of how game based learning and gamification work. We’ll show how the learning design is built right in to the game design… so every element of the game is designed to drive retention of information. You’ll also get a look at the admin backend that allows tracking of learner progress.

It’s a great chance to learn more about the product and learn about some of the great enhancements we have planned in the near future:

THURSDAY, June 27th – 11 AM EDT, 8 AM PDT

May 8 am webinar - Register Now

Read the full webinar description and register here.

THURSDAY, July 25TH – 11 AM EDT, 8 AM PDT

May 11 am webinar - Register Now

Read the full webinar description and register here.

Play to Learn: Designing Effective Learning Games

If you want to take game-based learning further, register for our learning game design workshop hosted by Sharon Boller and Karl Kapp. It will be held on August 28th in Indianapolis.

Play to Learn - Designing Effective Learning Games

Read the full event description and register here.

 

What is Game Based Learning? (Free Webinar Series)


Want a really cool way to get the facts on Game Based Learning? Check out our new Game Based Learning Infographic! We lay out some great examples of the efficacy of game based learning and gamification, all backed by solid research and great case studies. Click Here to view.


A Primer On Play: How to Use Games for Learning

What is game based learning?

When we gain knowledge and learn new skills through playing a game, we are participating in game based learning. Games are not just reserved for kids; educational games for adults can play a major role in how we learn at work. Most learners are burnt out on Powerpoint slides, standard eLearning courses and instructor-led training. They are ready for something different.

What about gamification? While similar, gamification is a different breed of learning experience. Gamification takes game elements (such as points, badges, leaderboards, competition, achievements) and applies them to a non-game setting. It has the potential to turn routine, mundane tasks into refreshing, motivating experiences.

We write and speak constantly on using games for learning because we are true believers in the power games have to drive learning outcomes. Our goal is to educate the learning community on the power and efficacy of games in the field of learning… particularly for organizations with a business objective they need to hit with their training.

Even though we know game based learning and gamification can transform a training program, we also know that many such initiatives fail because they do not properly map the elements of “fun” in games to real learning outcomes. That’s where our webinars come in.

Learn more about games for learning in our webinar series

We hosted webinars in February and March about how to use game based learning and gamification for learning and the response was incredible. We had a great turnout for both sessions… so we are hosting more sessions in the coming months.

Once again, I’ll be co-presenting the webinar with Sharon Boller, president of BLP. These sessions will be a great chance to hear Sharon speak on games and gamification if you cannot attend her workshop with Karl Kapp at ASTD ICE on 5/18/13.

 

The Knowledge Guru game engine

Learn about Knowledge Guru

We will use our Knowledge Guru game engine as a case study of how game based learning and gamification work. We’ll show how the learning design is built right in to the game design… so every element of the game is designed to drive retention of information. You’ll also get a look at the admin backend that allows tracking of learner progress.

It’s a great chance to learn more about the product and learn about some of the great enhancements we have planned in the near future:

THURSDAY, JUNE 27TH – 11 AM EDT, 8 AM PDT

May 8 am webinar - Register Now

Read the full webinar description and register here.

THURSDAY, JULY 25TH – 11 AM EDT, 8 AM PDT

May 11 am webinar - Register Now

Read the full webinar description and register here.

PLAY TO LEARN: DESIGNING EFFECTIVE LEARNING GAMES

If you want to take game-based learning further, register for our learning game design workshop hosted by Sharon Boller and Karl Kapp. It will be held on August 28th in Indianapolis.

Play to Learn - Designing Effective Learning Games

Read the full event description and register here.

A Primer on Play: How to Use Games for Learning (Free Webinar)

A Primer On Play: How to Use Games for Learning

Join Sharon Boller, President of Bottom-Line Performance, for a webinar that shows you the “why” of games and gamification. Sharon is the lead designer of our Knowledge Guru game engine. She has authored multiple white papers on learning game design and speaks at national conferences such as DevLearn and ASTD International on the power of games for learning.

We’ve gotten more positive feedback from games than any other type of learning solution:

“Can you create more stuff like this?”

“I learned SO much by playing this game. It was tons of fun. I learned more by playing this game than any webinar, meeting, or document I’ve encountered.”

“Mind-blowing.”

Why? Games hold our interest in a way that a screen of text coupled with an image or two and a next button never will. There’s no question that games and gamification are fun and engaging. The challenge is to map the “fun” elements of games with the principles of effective learning design…. and ultimately, real business results.

So join Sharon to learn about game based learning and gamification…. and the various ways we use our Knowledge Guru game engine with our clients.

What you’ll learn:

  • Nine ways games create an experience of “fun.” Collecting, role playing, collaboration, and more.
  • Four essential learning design principles that make learning happen, regardless of the medium.
  • Five reliable, repeatable ways the “fun” elements of games overlap with learning design principles. You can use these again and again in game based learning and gamification initiatives.
  • How the Knowledge Guru game engine uses motivation, relevance, feedback and retrieval to help people memorize facts while having fun.
  • The inner workings of the admin Knowledge Guru admin dashboard. We show you how games and gamification actually provide more detailed, accurate tracking of learner progress than traditional learning solutions.
  • How our client, ExactTarget, used a Knowledge Guru game as part of new product training, including the three biggest indicators of their ROI (return on investment).
  • Two things ExactTarget would do differently for their next game-based learning initiative.
While we use specific examples from how we used our Knowledge Guru game engine, The webinar is ideal for anyone interested in game based learning and gamification.

THURSDAY, JULY 25TH – 11 AM EDT, 8 AM PDT

May 11 am webinar - Register Now

Read the full webinar description and register here.

PLAY TO LEARN: DESIGNING EFFECTIVE LEARNING GAMES

If you want to take game-based learning further, register for our learning game design workshop hosted by Sharon Boller and Karl Kapp. It will be held on August 28th in Indianapolis.

Play to Learn - Designing Effective Learning Games

Read the full event description and register here.

ABOUT THE PRESENTER

Sharon Boller - thumbnailSharon Boller is the president of Bottom-Line Performance, Inc. She founded BLP in 1995, and in 16 years has developed a wide array of learning solutions for corporate, government, and nonprofit clients. BLP’s focus is primarily eLearning and as learning has gone mobile so has BLP. Sharon has 25 years’ experience in learning design and a passion for learning. Sharon is the lead designer of the Knowledge Guru™ game engine, a tool for creating mobile games. She was also the lead designer of “A Paycheck Away,” a tabletop board game exploring the issue of homelessness. Sharon has spoken at numerous conferences – including ASTD, ISPI, and SALT on the topics of learning design and game design. Sharon has an M.S. in Instructional Systems Technology from Indiana University, where she graduated magna cum laude.

ABOUT KNOWLEDGE GURU™

The Knowledge Guru game engine

Knowledge Guru is a game engine that uses the power of play to help learners learn facts fast. Its research-based – and fully-tested – design ensures your people learn and remember. Its game format lets them have fun doing it.

We created Knowledge Guru as a solution to a problem we’ve seen over and over with our clients: Job related information is not always fun to learn… and it’s even tougher to remember.

Learners climb mountain paths, earning points and badges along the way. They must deliver three scrolls to the Guru for each of your topics in order to become Gurus themselves. They answer questions on each path and track their progress against other players on the leaderboards. Meanwhile, you track all the action and see results by learning objective, question, region, and individual learner from the powerful admin dashboard.

The game is playable across all devices: desktop, iPad, Android tablet and more via web app or native app. It works independently of an LMS… but it is also Tin Can API compliant so you can use an LMS if you’d like.

Best of all, we are creating a DIY question wizard so you can create your own Knowledge Guru games and questions. The question wizard is coming in May 2013.

Business Results:

Here’s a sneak peak at the business results ExactTarget saw from using a Knowledge Guru game. We explain these results in greater detail in the webinar:

ROI of Learning Games: Knowledge Guru and ExactTarget

Want to learn more? Register for the webinar!

Webinar Nightmare

Usually, I try to bring you something funny to do with training. This month, I have something a little different to offer, a true story that is funny only because it didn’t happen to me.

I have a friend who shall remain nameless that had a miserable facilitation experience. As a customer support representative, he was tasked with offering a group of his customers a webinar to demonstrate the software they used. His job had nothing to do with training up until this point, but the monthly webinars rotated in his department. Even though it was his first month on the job, it was his turn to lead.

As you can probably guess, the webinar did not go as planned. (Do they ever?) There were several technical glitches, outside of his control. For better or worse, his company’s VP was sitting with him as he struggled through the online presentation. And when he returned to his desk, he found that a disgruntled participant had emailed his entire department, letting them know exactly how unskilled she found him to be. That’s right, a flaming four-paragraph email which stopped just short of calling him an idiot.

Thankfully, the VP realized it wasn’t his facilitation but the platform that was at fault. By the time I heard the story, he had determined he wasn’t going to be fired. He even could almost see the humor in the situation. 

He’s up for another presentation this month. Keep your fingers crossed that there isn’t a freak electrical storm that takes out the system. Because that’s really just his luck…

Useful Tool

Recently, I’ve found myself researching webinar software for internal use. There are a ton of great products out there, each with different features. And vastly different price points.

I admit, I love Adobe Connect! But I hate it’s price tag. So my solution? DimDim.

DimDim touts itself as a web conference service. It has several of the same features of Connect and it’s free. For up to 20 participants, you can share PowerPoint files, pdfs, Web sites, your desktop, or a whiteboard. And it requires no software for you or participants. Want to show the presenter? Turn on the webcam and you can stream audio and video to participants.

I’ve found just one feature that I miss from Connect: polling. The only way I can ask the audience to respond is to use a white board. But there’s hope. DimDim is open source software. Maybe with DimDim 6.0 I’ll see the polling feature.

Test out DimDim and let me know what you think. Or is there a better, free webinar software that you use?