Gamification stuff we love: Institute of Play

Gamification stuff we love: The Institute of Play

In my work with learning and development, I often introduced game elements to enhance a point or to give the learning a more dynamic twist. The Institute of Play takes game based learning, gamification of education and research on these topics a whole level further. The Institute is based in the USA and has built a number of tools to assist schools and learning providers in developing quest based learning.

On their website they make a number of tools available if you would like to start with game based learning and the gamification of your learning experience. As an instructional designer and L&D course designer, I was immediately drawn to the collaborative curriculum development program, where the best of education expertise is joined with input from game design. The process of coming up with curriculum development is approached with blocks and other demonstrative games to illustrate how a learning experience would work.

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I am a big believer that in some cases a serious game is the way forward to enhance the learning, yet in other situations gamification elements alone will be enough. If you think about learning, simulations and games give us instant feedback. Enterprise based training or learning and development is not always geared towards real behaviour change, but merely a day out with entertainment. For the most difficult teams with behavioural challenges, I always recommended game based team building. When emotions are likely to flare high, games will bring these out, but the learning is in the debrief and because it is more detached from the day job it can often be more effective than team building concepts.

The most popular course I designed was project management based on the movie Oceans 11, because it fitted and replicated the approach to project management of the organisations at the time. Go live dates were non-negotiable and often the feasibility and risk management element was overlooked in favour of an optimistic project plan and if it was big enough a statement of works. I built mini challenges into the day as well as exercises based on real life conditions, so in my view it was a gamified live training session, but not an entire game.

What games or gamification have you come across in your learning experiences? Why were they memorable?

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