This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
video games

Game theory G

amification is growing rapidly in popularity and while it has its critics, its ability to resonate with Generation Y cannot be questioned. As a member of this generation, I’ve grown up with technology and online gaming and this is a real benefit for

designing content that appeals to today’s tech-savvy learners. My generation currently represents 22% of the workforce1

. By 2025 we are likely to dominate 75% of the workplace2. Research shows training and

development is one of the most important factors for us when choosing an employer3

and, as a generation, we expect learning to be engaging and fun. We’re

not alone. The rise of smart phones, tablets and of course the internet, has raised the stakes for engagement for everybody. Video games, old and new, contain many engaging mechanics that can be used

as inspiration for developing immersive e-learning content. In this article, I’d like to share how some of the best gaming concepts can be applied to make learners active players in their training.

Using game tutorials as a template First, let’s look at how game tutorials can be used as a template for better e-learning. Nintendo leads the way in how it teaches users how to play its games with tutorial levels. Although there has been some criticism that Nintendo babies its players, we can learn a lot from the company’s instructional style and use it to create a more enjoyable experience for our learners. One such area is banishing traditional instructional text like “Click Next to

Continue” which seems to appear on every slide in traditional e-learning when it’s not necessary after the first time. In Nintendo’s ‘Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker’, as soon as you receive control of the main character the first instructional prompt is already on the screen. A very simple “Press A to Speak” appears which immediately let’s you know one of the basic commands you’ll need. From then on, you will encounter various characters whom you can now speak to using the A button. These encounters will gradually grow in complexity as the tutorial introduces all the in-game concepts to the gamer. For example, you are told how to lift and put down items by a lady in the village. Further down the road you speak to someone who wants some new pets for her children, at which point you have to go and pick up a pig and put it down in her pen. This is a clever instructional loop that we can take advantage of in e-learning.

When you are designing content think about how you can break up information, display it to the learner once, let them use that information and then move them on to the next instruction or concept. There really is no need to display the same message over and over again on each page. Once navigation or an interaction is explained allow the learner to explore without hindrance or repetition.

Let the learner have some control over the story The adventure video game ‘Walking Dead’ has one of the best storylines I’ve ever experienced in a game. What really stands out is that you control the storyline. Every action or decision you make in the game can have dramatic, emotional and sometimes horrifying repercussions. With this technique, choice becomes something incredibly powerful which


Joshua Roberts looks at how popular video games can provide creative inspiration for e-learning

can work really well in e-learning. The natural content we have when creating e-learning nearly always has consequences attached and you can use the information and the potential outcomes to make engaging choice-based content. There are a number of different ways to introduce choice into your e-learning

course. The most effective method is to introduce a situation where the user has to overcome some form of internal conflict by making a choice. This overcoming of internal conflict becomes the engaging principle that can help to drive success in learning.

Through clever narrative and choices you can begin to build a game-based environment for your learner. The ability to make meaningful decisions drives information retention and can be extremely powerful in conveying the objectives of the course, resulting in a more effective e-learning solution. Engagement is driven by us having to make choices: we want to know the outcome and how other characters responded as a result of the decision. First person scenarios can be a very useful tactic where the user is in direct control of their actions. You can even score their decisions instead of having an assessment at the end of the module.

Introducing a rival Another concept that works well in e-learning is the use of a rival. We can learn a lot from Pokémon Red and Blue which was first released for the Gameboy at the end of 1990s. Using clever narrative, Pokémon Red and Blue created a rival that everybody disliked from the moment they saw him. This rival was designed to always choose a Pokémon that was stronger than

the player’s starting Pokémon. The rival would challenge the player to a Pokémon battle, and would continue to battle the player at certain points throughout the game, always being a slightly stronger opponent. How could you add a rival to your next e-learning project? This could be

somebody who comes across as a ‘know it all’ that sets the scene for the learner, for example. With clever writing and an introductory experience that favours the rival you can create an engaging opening to your course that will grab the learner’s attention and provide them with a sense of “I must beat this person.” You can also use the rival concept as a way to test information the learner

should know by a certain stage of their learning. Bring the rival back into the course and use him to ask the learner questions. People still love the opportunity to prove characters wrong - this method has been used in game narrative for a long time to give the player a sense of achievement. The rival concept has a lot of power within the world of gaming. Also seen as the enemy, they play a central role in most games. Using a rival or enemy in e-learning is a method that helps to promote engagement, but it also offers even more potential because it encompasses reflection, knowledge checks and unconscious learning. Remember though, as with scenarios, you need to spend a lot of time thinking about the supporting narrative to your rival character. You will need to create a situation that hooks the learner in from the outset but you needn’t create a long and complicated storyline. Just a few lines of positioning text or even some visual/ interaction changes, such as the rival butting in when you’re answering a question, is all you’ll need to help shape the story.

e.learning age september 2015

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46