Gamification of Learning

Every educator, trainer, and instructor aspires to keep their learners more engaged and to extend learning beyond their time of contact.  Often boring worksheets go unfinished and even energizing training workshops can be left at the door without a ready forum to apply learning.

Solution? GAMES!

Games seem quick and fun, but when I started to think about how to make one relevant for training…it broke my brain to figure out how they work.  How do you make something that’s challenging but not frustrating, and communicate quickly how to play so you can focus on actually learning?  The questions piled up so high, I put the whole idea in the back of my head for a while.

So when the American Society for Training & Development (ASTD) was recently marketing The Gamification of Learning and Instruction by Karl Kapp, my curiosity about gaming got ahold of me and I almost bought it! But I’m still not done reading Employee Development on a Shoestring so instead I decided to give myself an hour to glean what I could from The Interwebs.

Of course, I started with my trusted AmeriCorps sources.  EnCorps offered some important considerations for facilitators in leading games, and also led me to the wiki Teampedia which includes teambuilding games.

The Learning Generalist has interesting notes on a webinar about how to design learning (aka “Serious”) games which included this cool Elearning example of a branching scenario.  The premise: “You’re a US Army sergeant in Afghanistan. Can you help a young lieutenant overcome cultural differences and make a good impression on a Pashtun leader?”  This is one of many times I wish domestic national service had anywhere near the resources of military service.  Military service members, I hope you appreciate how spoiled you are.  Just kidding…you serve in combat for goodness sake!  Stakes are a little higher.  But so is your training budget.  Still, I would LOVE to have the time and resources to create graphic novel style scenarios with scripts from real life AmeriCorps situations.

By far the best find was the free game creation program Thinking Worlds and their useful 6 lesson tutorial.

So now I just need an excuse to create a game…anyone want to hire me to craft AmeriCorps scenarios into Thinking Worlds?  How could you use gaming for your learners?

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