Creating Learner Engagement Through Gamification


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Presentation provided to the St. Louis Metropolitan Chapter of ASTD. It used an interactive story format to convey the message that thinking like a game developer is critical to creating engaging instructional design.

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Creating Learner Engagement Through Gamification

  1. 1. Creating Learner  Engagement Through  Gamification By Karl M. Kapp Bloomsburg University Gamification of Learning &Instruction  EMAIL: TWITTER: @kkapp BLOG:‐notes/
  2. 2. Covert Takeaway Challenge
  3. 3. Notes Slides Additional Ideas
  4. 4. We’ve learned and struggled for a few years here figuring out how to make a decent phone. PC guys are not going to just figure this out. They’re not going to just walk in. --Palm CEO Ed Colligan, 16 Nov 2006
  5. 5. This is our best iPhone launch yet — more than 9 million new iPhones sold — a new record for first weekend sales—Tim Cook, 2013. Palm sold to HP in 2010, by 2011 Palm was done.
  6. 6. ENIAC's main control panel
  7. 7. 4 2 3
  8. 8. What variables do I balance to keep my person happy? Work Life Harmony How should I manage my time?
  9. 9. What leadership strategy should I use?
  10. 10. Not another  online  lecture.
  11. 11. Sorry, had you  on mute, could  you repeat the  question.
  12. 12. I am going to  need more  coffee.
  13. 13. “Study of 2,300 people found only 6% of  organizations are successful in influencing  behavior change among employees.” ‐‐Al Switzler
  14. 14. New Instructional Approaches are Needed
  15. 15. Gamification
  16. 16. Gamification Lots of Hype
  17. 17. Gartner Group predicts by 2015,  40 percent  of Global 1000 organizations will use  gamification as the primary mechanism to  transform business operations.
  18. 18. Gartner Group predicts that by 2014, 80  percent of current gamified applications  will fail to meet business objectives,  primarily due to poor design.
  19. 19. What is this “game” stuff? Gamification is the use of gaming elements integrated into a training program aligned goals to promote change in behavior Game-based Learning is the use of a game to teach knowledge, skills and abilities to learners using a self-contained space. Simulation Learning is a realistic, controlledrisk environment where learners can practice specific behaviors and experience the impacts of their decisions.
  20. 20. Adding points, badges and leaderboard to any training does not instantly make it awesome!
  21. 21. Fishy… if it was that easy…this would be the most engaging  game in the world.
  22. 22. 20% increase in profile completion.
  23. 23. What can you do? Intelligently add game elements to instruction. Use points, rewards and badges to convey meaning…not simply completion.
  24. 24. Gamification Elements that Aid Learning 1. Story 2. Challenge 3. Mystery 4. Characters/Avatar 5. Challenge 6. Levels 7. Feedback 8. Replayability 9. Freedom to Fail 10.Asethetics 11.Time 12.Rewards
  25. 25. Gamification Elements that Aid Learning 1. Story 2. Challenge 3. Mystery 4. Characters/Avatar 5. Challenge 6. Levels 7. Feedback 8. Replayability 9. Freedom to Fail 10.Asethetics 11.Time 12.Rewards NOT Enough Time 
  26. 26. The Dragon Slayer Mission
  27. 27. Rules • A statement is presented – Choose the best response • Text Keyword Response: – To 37607 Standard Texting Fees  Apply!  Take out  your text‐ machines
  28. 28. How To Respond via Texting Amaze Inamaze alright TIPS 1. Polleverywhere has no access to your phone number 2. Capitalization doesn’t matter, but spaces and spelling do Amaze
  29. 29. The Dragon Slayer Mission
  30. 30. You are a game designer at ABC  Corporation which has hit some hard times lately. 
  31. 31. As a game development company, we are competing for a major project. So we are going to break into teams and see which team earns the right to work on the project. The game is about slaying dragons.
  32. 32. Each team will be confronted with a series of questions. The team that answers the questions correctly wins the work.
  33. 33. What about the other team?
  34. 34. Losers polish off their resumes and hit the pavement. Times are tight.
  35. 35. Harsh!
  36. 36. Let’s get started. Divide into teams.
  37. 37. Two Development Teams teama teamb
  38. 38. First decision about this dragon slaying game is how to start the game…what should the players first in-game experience be?
  39. 39. We have two choices, Begin: by telling the player three things he/she needs to know about slaying dragons. or with a fight between the player and a small, dangerous dragon.
  40. 40. Why does this answer make sense? Action draws in the player right away. Slaying dragons is fun. Creates an awareness of the unknown.
  41. 41. Good game designers know that games are engaging because they require action right away. Action is not passive, it draws in the player and encourages further engagement. Start by battling the small dragon.
  42. 42. Ok, next decision. Provide a map with the location of all the dragons. or Reveal location information about the dragons only discovered.
  43. 43. A sense of suspense, mystery and intrigue draws people into games. Inevitably, when playing a game, players become curious. It is always a good idea to build curiosity into a game. Reveal locations and information “as needed.”
  44. 44. Why did you make this choice? Curiosity evokes cognitive dissonance. or Not knowing everything at once is fun.
  45. 45. Here are some of my notes on the subject.
  46. 46. OK, next decision, should we: Make the game easy so we don’t discourage the players. or Make the game challenging, knowing some players will fail the first few times.
  47. 47. It needs to be challenging. Jones, B., Valdez, G., Norakowski, J., & Rasmussen, C. (1994). Designing learning and technology  for educational reform. North Central Regional  Educational Laboratory. [Online]. Available: and Schlechty, P. C. (1997). Inventing  better schools: An action plan for educational reform. San Francisco, CA: Jossey‐Bass. Chapter 2  “The Gamification of Learning and Instruction.”
  48. 48. In fact, give them the Kobayashi Maru of challenges.
  49. 49. Harsh!
  50. 50. Look! Good games give players a set of challenging problems and let them solve those problems until they can do it automatically. Then those same games throw a new class of problem at the players requiring them to rethink, their now—taken for granted—mastery. They must learn something new and integrate into their old mastery.
  51. 51. Well said!
  52. 52. Actually, my good friend James Paul Gee said those words, I’m quoting him.
  53. 53. Always good to cite sources!
  54. 54. Well, the next decision, should we: Put the player at risk, they could die at any moment. or Let the player safely explore the environment.
  55. 55. Seriously, you are asking me this question. The player needs to be at risk.
  56. 56. No risk, or danger equal no skin in the game. Get the player emotionally involved by putting him or her at “mock” risk.
  57. 57. Last decision, should we: Give player choices about what level to enter the game. or Create one path for every player.
  58. 58. Choices, players need choices. Look, let me tell you what motivates people.
  59. 59. People are motivated when they have autonomy, mastery and relatedness.
  60. 60. Hey, isn’t that the Self-Determination Theory?
  61. 61. Why, yes…yes it is.
  62. 62. Ok, so which team won?
  63. 63. Well, there all winners to me….
  64. 64. Ugh….
  65. 65. How about a re-cap…
  66. 66. Here are five tips to help an instructional designer to think like a game designer: 1) 2) 3) 4) 5) Begin with activity Create curiosity, mystery, intrigue Create a challenge for the learner Put learners at “mock” risk Give learners choices
  67. 67. In addition, we used some other elements to help you learn about gamification: Story Characters
  68. 68. Researchers have found that the  human brain has a natural affinity for  narrative construction. Yep, People tend to remember facts  more accurately if they encounter  them in a story rather than in a list. And they rate legal arguments as more  convincing when built into narrative  tales rather than on legal precedent. Carey, B. (2007) this is Your Life (and How You Tell it). The New York Times. Melanie Green Chapter 2 “The Gamification of Learning and  Instruction. 
  69. 69. Avatar as Teacher Research indicates that learners perceive, interact socially with and are influenced by anthropomorphic agents (avatars) even when their functionality and adaptability are limited. Baylor, A. 2009 Promoting motivation with virtual agents and avatars: R ole of visual presence and appearance. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal B Society. 364, 3559–3565
  70. 70. Putting it All Together
  71. 71. ExactTarget is a global marketing organization focused  on digital marketing tools – email, mobile, and web  and was recently purchased by  ExactTarget is a leading cloud marketing platform  used by more than 6,000 companies including Coca‐ Cola, Gap and Nike.
  72. 72. Introducing a new product, MobileConnect and  wanted to bring the sales force up‐to‐speed on the  features and functionality of the product.
  73. 73. VENDOR
  74. 74. Player Results “I can’t tell you how many people are coming to me wanting another  game solution.”  “The repetition of the different paths helped me retain the information.” “I’m a pretty competitive person so challenging myself to get one of the  top scores added a layer of fun to learning about the MobileConnect  product.” “The game was a fun way to learn about MobileConnect. I enjoyed the  scenario‐type questions, which put it all into context.”
  75. 75. Business Results Average contract value 2x higher than for previous mobile product. First call resolution ($35 a call/average) is up 45%. Of all the launches done in the previous two years prior to  MobileConnect, the sales team built the quickest pipeline for this  product.
  76. 76. Business Results Average contract value 2x higher than for previous mobile product. First call resolution ($35 a call/average) is up 45%. Of all the launches done in the previous two years prior to  MobileConnect, the sales team built the quickest pipeline for this  product. Larsen DP, Butler AC, Roediger HL 3rd. Repeated testing improves long‐term retention relative to repeated study: a randomized  controlled  trial. Med Educ 43: 1174–1181, 2009. Dobson, J. L. (2013) Retrieval practice is an efficient method of enhancing the retention of anatomy and physiology information Advances  in Physiology Education  37: 184–191, 2013; doi:10.1152/advan.00174.2012.
  77. 77. One study revealed retention  benefits of between 35% and 61%  with average of 41%. Dobson, J. L. (2013)    Retrieval practice is an efficient method of enhancing the retention of anatomy and physiology information Advances  in Physiology Education  37: 184–191, 2013; doi:10.1152/advan.00174.2012
  78. 78. Agenda • Five Bottom Line Case Studies – Retail – Marketing Product – On Boarding • Quick Engagement Case Studies • Lessons Learned
  79. 79. Pep Boys has over 700 stores in 35 states and  Puerto Rico; those stores have more than 7,000  service bays. Does over $2 billion dollars of  business a year by focusing on meeting the needs  of the do‐it‐yourself crowd as well as people who  come in for routine and emergency services and  sales to professional garages. 
  80. 80. Associates received daily reinforcement of  the monthly safety and loss prevention  training. In a quiz‐type game, associates answer quick,  targeted questions related to risk, loss  prevention, safety, and operational policies  and procedures—standard questions in these  areas. 
  81. 81. If they answered correctly, they played a slot‐ machine game titled “Quiz to Win” for a chance to  win cash prizes If answered incorrectly, the system immediately  presented a short training piece designed to  specifically address the topic covered in the initial  question. Questions repeated at various intervals  until the associate demonstrated mastery of the  topic. 
  82. 82. Business Results • Voluntary participation rate of over 95 %.  • Safety incidents and claim counts reduced by more than 45%  with an increase in the number of stores and employees.  • Reduction in shrinkage has been at a level of 55 %. • In the case of internal loss, each time a burst of content related  to employee theft is pushed out, they see at least a 60%  increase in their “Integrity Pays” hotline calls, resulting in a  direct reduction in inventory loss.
  83. 83. A study using a randomized control group conducted a  trial between Aug 10, 2009, and Nov 30, 2012, at ten  sites in southeast India with over 500 subjects. Working Indian men (aged 35—55 years) with impaired  glucose tolerance were randomly assigned to either a  mobile phone messaging intervention or standard care.  Ramachandran, A.  et. al. Effectiveness of mobile phone messaging in prevention of type 2 diabetes by lifestyle modification in men in  India: a prospective, parallel‐group, randomised controlled trial The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, Early Online Publication, 11  September 2013 doi:10.1016/S2213‐8587(13)70067‐6
  84. 84. “Use stairs instead of  an Elevator” “Avoid snacks while watching  TV;  you may overeat. “ Ramachandran, A., et. al.., Effectiveness of mobile phone messaging in prevention of type 2 diabetes by lifestyle modification in men in  India: a prospective, parallel‐group, randomised controlled trial The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, Early Online Publication, 11  September 2013 doi:10.1016/S2213‐8587(13)70067‐6
  85. 85. Lowered risk of developing  Type 2 diabetes by 36%. Ramachandran, A., et. al.., Effectiveness of mobile phone messaging in prevention of type 2 diabetes by lifestyle modification in men in  India: a prospective, parallel‐group, randomised controlled trial The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, Early Online Publication, 11  September 2013 doi:10.1016/S2213‐8587(13)70067‐6
  86. 86. Covert Takeaway Challenge
  87. 87. Copy of Slides and Notes available at Contact Karl at:
  88. 88. Covert Takeaways • • • • Learning should be engaging. Stories provide a context for learning. It is ok for a learner to struggle. Simply adding points, badges and  leaderboards does not make learning  effective.