#BLPLearn is for our fellow members of the L&D community. We take the best articles and resources shared between members of our teams and publish them in this weekly post. We include commentary from the original BLPer who found the article to provide you with context on why we felt it is worth sharing out.


Now that introductions are out of the way, let’s dive in to this week’s articles:

Hooked: An App with Text Message Stories
Submitted by Sharon Boller, President and Chief Product Officer  

A story via text messages?

Hooked is an app that presents a short fiction story as a series of text messages. You need to keep clicking NEXT to see the next series of text messages. I read through a story about Madison and “Unknown” in about 5 minutes. The creators intend to monetize the app by getting you to buy additional stories. It comes with a handful of them.

The app is NOT a game, but it does use the power of story to “hook” the reader. I wondered about whether people would be engaged and motivated by a learning experience that evolves through a story that gets parsed out over time via text messages. The texts could include links to a short video, or a picture, for instance. Could you imagine a story on the super-exciting topic of information security that begins with a text to your phone: “OMG! You have to help me. I think my computer just got hacked.”

See this TechCrunch article about the app: Hooked is an App for Readers who Think Fiction should be more like Text Messaging

Learning Language with DuoLingo
Submitted by Nick Shelton, Manager, Multimedia Development 

Merhaba! (Hello!)

Learning and remembering stuff is hard. The hardest part is learning a little bit every day, being consistent, and creating the routine to learn a specific skill and improve daily. We all know from the Knowledge Guru and Sharon Boller’s gamification talks that spaced repetition is one of the key aspects of learning. Tuts+ has courses like “30 days to learn HTML/CSS,” and “30 days to learn jQuery,” but most often, we do them in a couple of large chunks, check the box, move on, and… and forget. If you really learned it over 30 days (doing a little “exploration” after each day), you’d be much better off.

I need to learn Turkish, and DuoLingo is helping. DuoLingo is a mostly free language learning platform that lets you set the amount you want to learn a day (keeping pretty low bars for achievement, i.e. 10-15 minutes a day) and sends you push notifications at a specified time to nudge your practice/routine. My exploration outside of the learning is talking to my wife about the mechanics of the language, etc. By keeping the task small and manageable, it seems achievable, and by spacing the chunks, I have better retention.

It’s on your iPhone, iPad, and you can do it in browser as well. I’ve only been using it for about a week…so I’m not very far, but I’m much further than a week ago.


The Dark Side of Gamification 
Submitted by Drew Darby, Learning Designer  

Do you ever worry that gamification has a downside? Have you ever wondered whether some learners are more interested in winning than remembering? How do we know that a gamified approach is reinforcing the right material?

I love the emphasis on learning games at BLP and in the wider world, but these questions do get to me at times. What can we do to help focus our learners on the big picture when designing games? And do our clients share these concerns?

Ryan Tracey has an interesting take on this, and I love the short film he references (worth the extra six minutes!).

The Dark Side of Gamification