Wednesday, January 17, 2018

New Year, New Solutions, New Game

The holidays are over, budgets and plans for 2018 are rolling out. Initiatives are underway to implement systems for improving team collaboration and stronger project progress. Some of these goals will be answered with the implementation of a software that promises to make processes and structures run leaner and meaner.

It’s perfect, software solves all the problems!

That is until it’s time to deploy the programs, build out the back end, train the admins, teach all the users what in the world is going on, get the company buy-in, the list goes on. And by the way, this all needs to be done by the end of Q2, what?!

That’s right. The promise of 2018 has now turned into a long laundry list of to do’s that all have rapidly approaching deadlines.

It’s time to rally the troops and engage them in some fun multimedia micro-learning.

When learning new technologies, most attention spans range between 5-10 minutes. Creating short screencast tutorials can be extremely beneficial. Employees can watch one or two at a time, which will keep them engaged and beat the fog of fatigue. Companies can build out their library of micro tutorials that can be accessed at any point. This will become an on-demand library of the company’s specific technologies.

But let’s go further, shall we?

With this on-demand library, why not create quests where teams must finish certain paths in a race against the clock. Turn this dull software training into the race of a lifetime. Different teams go head to head competing for awesome prizes. This will drive motivation of the employees. Training will not only get done in a timely manner, but the excitement will course throughout the departments. This will not only drive retention of the new material and process but will boost the buy-in from the employees.

Congratulations, 2018 has become the year of triumph! That new software you invested in is now fully implemented and driving exceptional results. With this new on-demand library of micro video tutorials, employees can quickly find answers to small problems they may have. They have less frustration, and more motivation and self-determination.

This sounds like a great solution, but how do you achieve this?

We can do it. Level Up Your Learning will meet with subject matter experts and strategize on the best way to present the new material in micro, bite-sized pieces. We will script out the videos, record, and produce them. They will be presented in 3-8 minute chunks in order to keep the material moving. In addition, we have gamification experts who will discuss different formats and mechanics that can be employed to motivate and engage employees while competing for the new training quests.

Let’s get your new 2018 adventure started!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Gamification 101

Gamification is a popular buzz word at the moment.  But what is it really?  Is it making your way through a maze of levels on a gaming console?  Or maybe it's candy crush on your phone.  Perhaps it's collecting points to save up for a cup of coffee at your favorite coffee house.  Or maybe it's a game of Jeopardy to review the content in your onboarding at a new company.  The truth is gamification encompasses all these aspects and more.  It is the use of gaming mechanics, gaming elements, and game theory to a non gaming scenario.  This is a relatively new idea, especially in the education and training space. People have different reactions to gamification.  Some may love it and rejoice at the new direction of education, some may think it's a gimmick and not to be trusted and some may even think that gamification is a cure all for boring training and elearning out there.  Just slap some points, badges, and leaderboards on that puppy and BAM! problem of engagement solved.


Gamification is a great tool, but it is just that, a tool within the a larger arsenal of tools to create memorable, motivational and monumental learning experiences.  Regardless of whether or not you have an affinity for gamification, it is a trending type of content delivery, and it's important to understand some of the core elements.  So let's break gamification down into its basic components.

The key to good gamification is knowing your audience. This will help you as a designer know how to motivate your learners.  It’s been consistently proven that adult learners need to know why they are engaging in an activity, what is the desired outcome, and how it impacts them.  Beyond this, there are many different motivators and definitions of “fun” that drive people to play games.  Different gamification elements will appeal to these different motivators, such as risk taking, strategic challenges, social forums, and rewards.  

Content & Mechanics
Once you have your audience's buy in it's time to create a good game.  What makes a good game?  A good game needs to have challenges, risks, and meaningful outcomes.  Creating a good challenge requires the designer to create goals defined by specific rules.  The experience of the challenge must give feedback that results will result in a quantifiable outcome.  Hopefully the outcome is positive and will elicit a sense of satisfaction in the leaner.     

Before we talk about the creation of the game it's important to know your specific content well and to choose a game mechanic that will complement it.  This could include collection, worker placement, luck, deck building, role-playing, resource management just to name a few.  Your content and type of delivery should help to inform the game mechanics that will work best for your situation.

This brings us to rewards.  There are 2 types of rewards to be aware of: intrinsic and extrinsic.  Extrinsic is the easier of the two to define.  This type of reward is something tangible like a gift voucher, a vacation, or a new phone.  Intrinsic rewards are more along the lines of personal satisfaction from a desired outcome; for example - being at the top of the leader board.  Both types of rewards are useful when designing a gamified experience.  

Why Gamification?
Why would you use gamification over other content delivery methods?  Basically, it comes downs to engagement and motivation.  Learners need to understand the content in order to navigate the game correctly.  In addition to learners internalizing content, it also taps into their internal motivators through challenges, risk, and rewards.  These core elements keep learners engaged in the content while fighting off learner fatigue.   Using gamification can not only increase initial learning outcomes but also knowledge retention, leading to overall behavior change, which, let's be honest, is the reason we are creating all this fantastic content in the first place.

Wrap Up
So, Gamification in a nutshell:
  • Know your audience and what will motivate them
  • Be very familiar with your content and choose a game mechanic to compliment it
  • Create a good game consisting of challenges, risks, and meaningful outcomes
  • Reward your learners

This is an extremely brief overview of a complex topic.  However, just thinking about these key ideas can help spice up any type of training or classroom experience.  Gamification is a very fun and powerful tool so remember kids,"With great power comes great responsibility."