Sunday, September 30, 2012


I have a colleague who has 20+ years in the L&D field.
It's not like he is an old fashioned Instructional Designer who only knows about live classes. He has created a class on how to build a mobile learning strategy and guided young IDs to deepen and advance their knowledge. He's as much a fan of Thiagi as I am (probably) and I really appreciate my chances to chat things over with him when the challenges get deep and require some experienced minds to bounce things around. I have a great respect for him and his skills and knowledge in our professional area, and so I hope he does not take it personally when he reads this post.

Because a few months ago I heard him say in a call that he shudders every time someone uses the the term Gamification. He believes that it cheapens the work that our profession does and makes senior executives even less likely to take the L&D world seriously.  Now as an improviser I know the power of games to engage and also to help people learn and so I've been torn on this. Until Thursday. That's when I attended a session that Ray Jimenez ran for Mt Diablo chapter of ASTD on Gamification. There were probably 50-60 people in the room and Ray managed to make the whole session into a game to illustrate his point. It was one of the most engaging learning experiences I've had for a long time.

He started off by getting us into teams and announced that each member of the most creative team would be awarded a copy of his book DIYel  101 tips for Do-It-Yourself eLearning. There were a couple of other individual prizes as well. A copy of his book on Scenario based eLearning, a seat on and Advanced Storyline class and for the most engaged participant a seat at his certification program on Story-based Technical & Compliance eLearning Design Workshop. So with that in place we started and you can be sure that everyone in the room was engaged and creative.

Ray took us through a series of 'games' from Angy Birds and a binary counter to a tool where the learners contributed the questions, answered the questions that were contributed and gave 'goodies' to note when they thought someone else had come up with a great question. For each of these he asked us to identify which elements from the list of Game Mechanics were present in each game.

Game Mechanics
  1. Reward
  2. Status
  3. Achievement
  4. Self-expression
  5. Competition
  6. Altruism
Lots of creative answers came out on that one.

Then Game Dynamics got added to the mix.

Game Mechanics                  Game Dynamics
  1. Reward                      1. Points
  2. Status                         2. Levels
  3. Achievement               3. Challenges
  4. Self-expression           4. Virtual goods
  5. Competition                5. Alerts
  6. Altruism                      6. Gifts
He asked what was missing, and I'm proud to say it was I who called out "Learning!"

So when Learning Design gets added in then things start to rock!

Game Mechanics                  Game Dynamics             Learning Design
  1. Reward                      1. Points                         1. Content
  2. Status                         2. Levels                        2. Interaction
  3. Achievement               3. Challenges                 3. Mechanics
  4. Self-expression           4. Virtual goods             4. Feedback
  5. Competition                5. Alerts                        5. Collaboration
  6. Altruism                      6. Gifts                          6. Contribution
To build a game based learning event takes an understanding of all these elements and where we as Learning & Development Professionals can contribute the most is with a deep knowledge of how to build learnng design into the game.

His slide on that can be seen here

So guess which tweeting Learning Pro got selected as the most engaged learner of the evening?
I'll see you in Pasadena at the workshop!

Happy Learning.

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