“Play is our brain’s favorite way of learning.”

Recently I took my kids to The Strong National Museum of Play. As we walked through the seemingly endless interactive exhibits, I looked up to find this sign:

Play

There may not be any hard science behind this statement, but we don’t always need empirically-tested data to be inspired by an idea. When it’s integrated into a learning experience with intention, play isn’t just a gimmick. Play can engage participants’ hearts and minds which in turn can capture their attention and can allow them to explore and navigate complex concepts on their own terms.

Here are a handful of ideas to bring play into your next session. Continue reading

Poll Everywhere Leaderboard Review

This week, Poll Everywhere released a new poll option with leaderboard functionality.  If you are unfamiliar with Poll Everywhere, check out this post. This week I reviewed this tool, and I am excited to share what I found.

Before I get to that, I should say that leaderboards are one of those gamification terms that I have to intentionally not roll my eyes when I hear. Continue reading

eLearning Game Copyrights

A few weeks ago, I talked about video games in training. Since that post, I have been asked if there are copyright infringement concerns when creating a game inspired by another game. I was taken aback by this question at first. After playing Jeopardy in just about every high school Social Studies class, it wasn’t a question I had thought through, and honestly, I didn’t have an immediate answer. Continue reading

Easy Drag and Drop eLearning Interactions

The focus at work lately has been on eLearning. As we are building these training modules, we have found some creative ways to use Articulate Storyline drag and drop functionality. Today, we would like to share three fun and engaging drag and drop eLearning interactions from our recent projects.

Magnetic Poetry

One struggle I have with eLearning is getting participants to share their stories or reflect individually. Giving space for free text journaling in the module opens up the opportunity for participants to skip an activity or write gibberish. To combat this,  add an interaction that resembles one of those Magnetic Poetry sets your roommate had in college.  Try your hand at creating your own phrase in the interaction below.

Magnetic Poetry - elearning interaction

Try this Magnetic Poetry eLearning interaction.

Pros and Cons

Continue reading

Copyright for Learning Professionals

Facing jail or even prison time is not a place I ever want to find myself. Several stories in the news have been exploring charges that may lead to arrests of some very powerful people in this country. Reading through the allegations, there seems to be a lot of lawyers fighting about what they consider to be grey areas in the law. These stories have me wondering if it would have just been easier for these individuals to simply stay on the right side of the law in the first place, but perhaps they were never briefed on the actions that could initiate a probe. This made me think more about the implications of copyright for learning professionals.

As L&D professionals, it is important that we never find ourselves in a legal grey area. Continue reading

Trainer’s Fishbowl: An Inside Look at a Pilot Program that Didn’t Hit the Mark

Fishbowl

This week we had an opportunity to pilot a training program that we’ve been working on for the past two months. We were excited to unveil it before a pilot audience, especially because we had an opportunity to incorporate a board game into the module.

At the end of the pilot session, we realized that we didn’t quite hit the mark in our first draft. Yesterday, the Endurance Learning leadership team came together via Slack to debrief the experience.

Today’s post is a sort of “fish bowl”, an opportunity to take a look into the conversation that took place as we de-briefed this session.   Continue reading

Good Examples of Gamification … And Bad

Last month I reviewed a book called For the Win, which is a great (and quick!!) read on the broad array of elements that should go into a gamified solution. The book offered a number of examples of gamification in business that can easily be adapted for learning and development projects.

Recently, two example of gamification popped up in the flow of my daily routine. One example is from a card game app on my iPhone, the other example is from the ride-sharing app Lyft. One is a great example of motivating people with badges. One is a terrible use of badges. There are lessons for L&D professionals in both of these examples.   Continue reading

Book Review: For The Win (How Game Thinking Can Revolutionize Your Business)

60-word Summary:

Gamification of learning and development has been en vogue for several years, yet so few organizations do it well. For The Win: How Game Thinking Can Revolutionize Your Business goes beyond points, badges and leaderboards and offers a basic overview on how games work, why games work and some thoughts on how to combine game elements to achieve extraordinary results.

The Details:

Bright Spots:

The length: Weighing in at 126 pages, this book can be read from cover to cover in a couple of sittings (or a couple of cross-country flights!).

The examples: The authors obviously know their stuff and offer a variety of examples to ignite your imagination in how to transfer successful examples of gamified business practices to your own context. Equally important, the authors offer some powerful examples of gamification gone awry. When it comes to gamification, what not to do is as essential as what you’re thinking of actually doing.

The elements: Beyond points, badges and leaderboards, the authors offer an overview of game elements that too many attempts at gamification are missing. Dynamics (like emotions and progression), mechanics (like randomness and feedback) and components (such as boss fights and quests!) are all key pieces to any successful gamification effort.

Room For Improvement:

I’m not sure that I have too much critical to say about this book. As a learning and development professional, I would have loved to have seen more specific examples of gamification in the learning and development space. The wide variety of examples, however, offers plenty of ideas that are easily transferable to training programs.

Who Should Buy It:

I bought this book because I had begun to take a Coursera MOOC on gamification that was being taught by one of the authors and he recommended this book as a course text. I didn’t make it past Week 2 of the course (I’m just not into trying to learn new concepts by watching a series of 5-10 minute video lectures), but I’ve learned a lot from this book.

For The Win is perfect for someone who is either new to the concept of gamification or someone who is familiar with the concept but just doesn’t know where to start. It’s also ideal for training designers who have been trying to “gamify” their learning experiences with points or badges or leaderboards but just feel like there’s supposed to be more to a gamified experience (there is).

Honestly, this book isn’t just intended for training professionals. If  you’re someone in a position of management – either people management or process management – and you’re looking to truly understand a way to engage and motivate people using gaming principles, this book can offer a lot of ideas.