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Got Game? Starting Gaming (Learning) in Your Organization | Event Summary

June 29, 2019 11:17 AM | Kandice Kidd (Administrator)

Got Game?  Starting Gaming (Learning) in Your Organization | June 20, 2019 

By Susan Camberis

Editor, Training Today

Even if you do not consider yourself a “gamer,” we all play (or have played) games at different points in our work and personal lives. 

ATDChi’s June General Meeting hosted by Allstate in Northbrook, featured Stephanie Daul, Learning & Development Consultant and author of Game Design for Learning a TD at Work publication.  Stephanie has designed more than a dozen gamified learning experiences for global Fortune 500 clients. 

As described in ATD’s 2014 white paper on the subject, “Gamification is the integration of game characteristics and mechanics into real-world training programs or tasks to promote change in behavior.”

During her interactive session, Daul asked participants to play familiar games as a way of showing how foundational gaming elements such as goals, rules, reward structures, feedback, and storytelling, can be found in even the simplest games.  At the end of the night, participants had the opportunity to put their new knowledge into action by creating their own games. 

If you want to up your game, here are five smart takeaways to consider:

1.      Use games to build confidence and motivation.  According to Daul, while there has not been a lot of research on using games in organizations, meta-data suggests that games increase retention by 9%, declarative knowledge by 11%, and procedural knowledge by 14%.  Even more impressive is that learners report 20% greater confidence in utilizing what they just learned when games are involved and motivation and positive attitude toward learning content increases by 52% with gamification.   

2.      Know your players.  The key to developing a good instructor-led game starts with understanding your audience.  Daul shared four player “types” to keep in mind. 

  • Hunters” are ultra-competitive; their goal is to win to the greatest degree possible.
  • Achievers” want to always be the first ones done.
  • Socializers” are focused on making sure everyone playing the game is engaged and playing well together.
  • Explorers’ want to do everything on every level before moving on.

3.      Design First.  Develop Second.  Daul shared several examples of games she had developed, with some taking just a few hours and others taking several weeks to build.  In each case, the design document was key.  What is your business objective?  What do your learners need to learn?  Which gaming elements will best help your learners understand the content?  In this way, gamificaiton is no different than other types of learning – it starts with good design.

4.      Use a checklist.  Daul shared the checklist she uses for game design, of which a key element is “play test” – testing out your game with different audiences.  The checklist is a useful roadmap to the key steps you need to think through to design your own games:

  • Determine business goal or objective
  • Identify the gaming strategy
  • Create a story
  • Create a prototype
  • Play test, as much as possible, anytime you have an audience
  • Adjust the prototype
  • Play test, as much as possible, anytime you have an audience
  • Launch to pilot
  • Adjust
  • Implement

5.    If you want to design games, play games! When Daul was with Grainger, she hosted a small group gathering called “Games and Grubs,” an innovative, low-cost way for colleagues to learn about games and gamification.  Each week a different member of the group brought in a game.  The group played the game, then discussed for 20 minutes, figuring out how the game could be applied to the business.  Using games people are familiar with allows them to think about the gaming concepts, according the Daul. 

Ultimately, gamificaiton can take many forms – in terms of investment, complexity, and technology.  What is most important is designing games that support performance improvement to move the business forward. 

Want to learn more? 

Daul suggests Play to Learn by Sharon Boller and Karl Kapp as an excellent starter book on gamification.  If that sparks your interest, next read Reality is Broken by Jane McGonigal.  Finally, if you really want to build your knowledge base, Daul recommends The Gamificaiton of Learning and Instruction by Karl Kapp.

Special Thanks

A very special thank you to  Tom Gross and Nicole Afton for volunteering during this event.  We couldn't do what we do without our volunteers.



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