What are the most “radioactive” elements you can include in a training program?

The Association for Talent Development’s International Conference and Expo kicks off in earnest today, and in the final podcast of our series featuring ATD ICE speakers, my longtime friend and fellow L&D nerd (and VP of Organization Development at FORUM Credit Union in Indianapolis), Michelle Baker, fills in as our podcast interviewer to ask me some questions about my upcoming session (which will take place on Wednesday, September 1, from 8am – 9am Mountain time).

My presentation will focus on the “radioactive” elements that are often (mis)used in training programs, and how they can best be leveraged to yield maximum impact on your learners. These elements include lecture, PowerPoint, subject matter experts, handouts, smile sheets, icebreakers, elearning, augmented reality, role play, games and data.

Continue reading

Examples of Easter Eggs in Learning Programs

Monday’s podcast featured gamification expert Karl Kapp sharing some insights on what “Easter Eggs” (in a learning context) are and how they can be used most effectively. In the transcript of Monday’s podcast, I challenged readers to find four Easter Eggs that I had embedded into the post. If you were wondering what those four Easter Eggs were, I’ll reveal them at the bottom of this post (so keep reading!).

Before I get to those Easter Eggs, however, I wanted to share several examples of Easter Eggs that blog readers shared, which were creative ways to hide information (or just reveal a few fun things for those lucky enough to stumble upon them).

Continue reading

An L&D-style Easter Egg Hunt (with Karl Kapp)

Growing up, I always loved Easter morning. The excitement of waking up, running downstairs, and trying to find some treat-filled plastic Easter Eggs hidden around the house before my older sibling found them all.

It turns out, game designers have been hiding Easter Eggs for people too, and it’s a concept that instructional designers can adopt to enhance learning programs as well.

In this week’s special Easter-themed episode of Train Like You Listen, gamification expert Karl Kapp shares a little more about the history of Easter Eggs in games and how they can be used effectively in a learning program.

As a treat for blog readers, you may also find four different Easter Eggs hidden around this post. The first person to send me an email (brian@endurancelearning.com) that identifies all four Easter Eggs will find themselves on the receiving end of a $50 Amazon gift card. You’ll need to earn this gift card because these Easter Eggs may not be so easy to find. Look closely at the images, the transcript of the conversation (see if there are any acronyms that can be found!) and the links (is there anything weird about any of these links?). Happy Egg Hunting!

UPDATE: Congratulations to blog subscriber Laura Brown, who correctly identified all four Easter Eggs! We’ve received a lot of submissions, many of whom were able to find three of the four Easter Eggs. Although our prize has been awarded, if you’re dying to know whether or not you can find all four, you are welcome to continue sending your guesses to me!

Continue reading

Talking Games and Gamification (for Learning) with Karl Kapp

On Thursday, I wrote about a way that BINGO could be used as an engagement tool during learning programs (and shared this free, cool BINGO card generator).

As part of that post, I shared a downloadable BINGO card you can use to follow along with today’s podcast (or just skim the transcript below) and play along at home. The first five folks who send me a completed BINGO card, marking off the 5 concepts that Karl and I actually spoke about in the podcast, will earn themselves a $10 Starbucks card (my email address is brian@endurancelearning.com).

Continue reading

B-I-N-G-O and BINGO is a training game-O!

While “engagement” doesn’t necessarily equal “effective” when it comes to training design, lack of engagement most often results in ineffective training. Introducing games or game elements into a training program can be a very fruitful way to engage participants (if the games are designed well).

Next Tuesday, our Train Like You Listen podcast will feature gamification expert Karl Kapp who will be discussing the differences between games and gamification as well as offering some gamification examples and ideas, if introducing game elements into your training program is something you’re looking to do.

In honor of game play in a professional development context, the first five Train Like A Champion readers to come back on Tuesday, print out this BINGO card, mark off the concepts that Karl and I discuss during the podcast (hint: we will only discuss 5 of the 8 concepts on this card, so you’ll have to listen to the podcast and mark this BINGO card up!) and send it back to me (brian@endurancelearning.com) will receive a $10 Starbucks gift card.

In today’s blog post, we’ll be taking a look at how a simple game of BINGO can add a different kind of engagement to your training program.

Continue reading

What You Need to Know Before You Gamify Your Next Training

In what seems like a lifetime ago, I had a director who read an article about gamification and decided our team needed to include gamification in our next program. After months of trying, our team put together a leader board. It went over like a lead balloon. Our team didn’t understand enough about gamification to make a successful program or how to fit it properly within our objective. I know for a fact my experience with gamification is not unique. I have failed more than once to make games work in training. The lessons learned from those failures have lent themselves to some much better training development, but that is another blog post.

This week on the Train Like You Listen podcast, Marci Morford, manager of onboarding, culture, and innovation programs at Salesforce stops by to talk about how to properly apply gamification to training. Marci and Brian worked together to build an on-boarding game that took new-hires through a days-long game to acclimate to their new roles. She takes some time to cover a few examples of games that work in training, how to find inspiration to gamify your next training, and discusses why the dynamics, mechanics, and components of a game all play a huge role in game play success.

Continue reading

A few considerations when designing a game for your next training

In Monday’s episode of the Train Like You Listen podcast, Heather spoke with our colleague, Lauren Wescott, about her recent experiences designing games for the training room. Lauren spoke briefly about cooperative vs. competitive games, and what each type of game could bring to the training room. If you’re looking to bring a game into your next training program, here are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind:

“Games” and “Gamification” are not the same thing

Games are something you play. Gamification is an intentional design strategy. Playing Jeopardy or awarding points for correct answers doesn’t really mean you’ve “gamified” a training program.

Continue reading

Board Games for Training Inspiration

Games are a great way to help learners learn and apply content. The thing about games, however, is that they can be deceptively tricky to create. At least the good ones are.

We’ve previously shared instructions for a great training game, “Elimination”. As a team, we’ve been frequently meeting up in our local board game shop to study game elements as we work to develop a cooperative deck-building game for an upcoming train-the-trainer session. With a little manipulation, you too can turn a well-known game into your next great training opportunity. 

Training Game Building Level: Easy

Some of the best-known family games can be an excellent template for your next training game because the game mechanics are usually quite simple. In addition, game rules can be notoriously confusing (and frustrating) to pick up the first time that one plays a new game. If participants are already familiar with the game-play, they will be more easily able to focus on the content that you’re trying to reinforce (or introduce) in your game.

  • Go Fish – The basic objective of this game is matching. Create your own match cards and you’ll be ready to go. Lots of things can match such as a Customer Profile + Sales Strategy, Product + Correct Packaging, or Problem + Solution.
  • BINGO – Manipulate BINGO to be a check-for-understanding game. Set up player boards to have various answers. Ask your questions and have participants mark what they believe the answer to be. We’ve actually used BINGO to make observation/peer evaluation forms more engaging. Regardless of how you set up your BINGO cards, when someone calls out BINGO, make sure they share how they achieved BINGO. 
  • Apples to Apples – At its core (excuse my pun), apples to apples is a game of describing things. Manipulating this game to your content can be a fun and engaging way to check participants’ prior knowledge on a topic by simply creating your own category and description cards. 

Training Game Building Level: Medium

Some popular adult party games work as a great template. It will take a bit more creativity to get these games ready for your next training, but it will be well worth it when you put these to use as a mechanism to spice up a curriculum that you facilitate repeatedly. 

  • Wits & Wagers – Love pub trivia? Wits & Wagers is a trivia game mixed with a little bit of a poker flare. Players guess the answer(s) to a question and then bet on how solid their answer is. Simply modify this game for your training by writing your own question cards. 
Simply buy this game and use all of the gameplay elements. All you’ll need to create is your own question & answer cards tailored to your content.
Write your own question cards.
  • Concept – In this cooperative game, players work to guess a word or phrase based on a series of picture icons. The great thing about this game is that you can use the concept picture game board to describe ANYTHING – including important words or phrases vital to your training. Modify this game for your training by creating your own concept (word) cards. 
The gameplay is quite simple. Just follow the clues marked by the green elements: A tool that is mechanical and cuts wood – It’s a chainsaw you’re describing!
Create your own word cards to match your content. Increase the difficulty of the game by having players guess a phrase.

Training Game Building Level: Difficult

For the most part, all deck-building games follow the same general gameplay concept. Once players become familiar with the play order, playing these games in a group is a great way to understand how situational factors affect a person’s ability to accomplish a goal. Manipulating these games to develop your own training game will be a more time-consuming process, but your learners will appreciate the extra effort. 

  • Dominion, 7 Wonders or Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle – These games follow a structure of acquiring resources that allow you to perform actions. Ultimately these resources and actions enable one player to more effectively accomplish the mission. Using this format, create your own card deck containing resources (such as a train-the-trainer class, SME, etc.), actions (secure time, describe need, give a demonstration, etc.), and mission goal (win the sale, build a process, etc.) to build an awesome deck building game that will allow participants to apply their learning in a whole new way. 
Follow the card format of Dominion to create your own card deck. (Yellow cards are resources, white/blue/purple cards are actions, and green cards are points earned toward accomplishing the goal.)
The action cards from Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle follow a similar design where you gain coins (resource), lightning bolts (to accomplish your action), or hearts (to stay alive).
Add dimension to your game by adding coins, tokens, or player profile mats.
  • Settlers of Catan – Catan follows the same gameplay as above (resources, actions, mission) but adds in the extra element of a game board and physical building development opportunities. In this gameplay, players will use their resources to build towards what they are trying to accomplish (in this case, a civilization). Adopt this gameplay style by building your own game pieces, game board, and play cards. This game style would be ideal for a situation where resources and actions are limited and repeatable (such as money), but there are multiple strategies by which you can apply your resources or actions to accomplish a goal. For example, we’ve used these elements to overhaul new employee onboarding. Players were able to experience the mission of our organization and see how limited resources impacted the decisions that were made.
To use this gameplay template you’ll need to create your own cards and game board.
Collect and spend resources to accomplish your goal (to develop a civilization).
This game has only 5 possible resources (cards) and limited actions (building costs). Yet there are multiple strategies to employ to achieve your goal.

Have you used gamification in training? Tell me what games you’ve adapted (or would like to adapt, now that you’ve read this post) to fit your content, in the comments below.

Training Game: Elimination

We’ve put together a lot of training programs in which participants need to be able to take in information and then quickly determine the most appropriate options to move forward while eliminating other choices.

To help participants accomplish this, we’ve created a game that we’ve ingeniously named: Elimination. If you conduct sales training or onboarding or manager training or really any type of training program in which you want to help your participants make decisions quickly, feel free to steal our game.  Continue reading