I am currently investigating what I need to consider if I want to develop a useful game to deliver part of our site mandatory training.

I came across this short article in Training Industry Magazine and thought I'd share it with you.

How games drive learning by Gregg Collins

From this I have learnt that: 

  • a game must have an emotional impact ie drama enhances learning
  •  Failure drives learning ie learning is hard

 I need to make sure there is a mission, rich context, a challenge, choices (including plausible wrong choices), explicit and dramatic consequences and competition

 Hmm, definitely food for thought.

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  • Hi Alison,

    I think I've loads to say on this subject, so perhaps we should have a conversation about this.

    Totally agree with all of your learnings.   A mission and context to the audience I believe are key to any game or indeed training activity.  There's so many games out there and ones we can design too, but keeping an eye on what the learning outcomes are is key.  I've seen games used a few times, where the facilitator hasn't done a great job of explaining the mission or debriefing the game back into the context of training you can almost see people scratching their head wondering what it was all about.  I love the challenge and drama involved in games too.  More recently, I have been using production music in the learning environment that you would ordinarily hear on game shows.  You know like the heartbeat dramatic background of Who Wants to be a Millionaire.  It's interesting to see how that seems to create drama, tension and a sense of competition.  I did one not long back where they had five minutes to complete a physical team activity.  In the background was the tension, countdown clock style music that gets progressively more intense as time starts running out.  The track I selected gets really intense when there are just 60 seconds left and it was really amusing to see how this change in audio influenced the team to work quicker and communicate even more.  Whilst they weren't competing against another team, it's almost like the countdown clock became the competition that they were trying to beat.  It kept me (and them) massively entertained and we drew lots of learning points out of the experience.

    The same rules apply for me online as they do offline in the classroom.  Mission, context, challenge, choices, consequences and compeition are equally important when games are delivered online or in the classroom.  I'm seeing this used more effectively in eLearning nowadays.  I saw one eLearning course recently which was one of the most beautifully animated pieces I've ever seen in a course.  It was like watching a film/playing a game.  As you progressed through the course and solved various challenges, you "unlocked" access to other sections of the course.

    As I say, so much to say on the subject so it would be good for us to have a chat about this sometime.  I have some ideas that you might be able to use.



    mission, rich context, a challengechoices (including plausible wrong choices), explicit and dramatic consequences and competition

  • I accidentally added a post to the wrong blog - whoops, sorry. Not sure how that happened.

    In my game the points would be units of production. They go up as you fight off hazards such as yeasts, moulds, bacteria, chemicals, pests, dirty workers causing cross contamination (you have to fire them quickly). If you get all the pre requisites right ( plenty of challenges there) you go up a level to harder challenges that come at you faster, then again as you produce sufficient units. If the regulator catches you out, one of your production lines gets shut down and the staff are out of work, which slows down production and you may haVe to quarantine or dispose of stock, which costs points.
    You can travel to take a chance on new technology, consultants or (if you go back in time) famous people.
    Once you have produced sufficient units by moving up the levels you finally get your producer of the year certificate.
    My hubby says it sounds a bit like a kebab shop game he has seen! I want it to have "other worldly" features a bit like judge dredd or the tomorrow people. Anyway, it is as yet just a germ of an idea!
  • I mention disruptive technologies in Melanie's post called All Change and agree it seems to be a popular phrase but ultimately it's all about change. I would agree that 'disruptive technology' has been bad for HMV but great for the consumer who now pays £10 per month and can stream any music to any web enabled device.

    Disruption usually bring with it choice - you either do or you don't - it's the don't that often lose out.

  • Thanks Mike (again.) i had picked this up and saved it to read later.
    Have you noticed how popular the term "disruptive" has become when describing ideas - disruptive technology, disruptive innovation, disruptive learning techniques, disruptive ideas. All assumed to be good things.
    Until relatively recently i only knew of the negative sense of the word - disruptive behaviour, disruptive attitudes, disruptive child, disruptive employee.
    I have just been reading about the disrupted food culture in 2013 - not sure if this was a good or bad thing - i think it depends upon whether you are a retailer or a consumer! Disruption of assumptions for retailer=bad, the outcome of all this disruption has been good for the consumer overall methinks.
  • Here's is something else top read on the subject that might be useful

    Disrupting the Corporate Learning Paradigm : the game debate

  • I don't think they are patented at all but you need to first identify the game concept. What have you chosen a game for this learning and how will a game support learning and transfer? What sort of game is it, it looks like you're going down the electronic / app / eLearning sort of game but what this involve and what will the game mechanics.

    Remember applying gaming mechanics to a non-game is really what we're trying to but if you look at the success of games they need to provide enough challenge for people to keep trying and succeeding - think Angry Birds as an addictive and annoying game. Sadly flinging birds off a sling shot will not help your food safety but I liked some of the things you mentioned below would transfer well in to a game format.

    If I were you I'd write a proof of concept with your ideas and how you think the game would look and work, what would a user need to do and be expected to complete through the game / levels and what would they achieve at each point.....would be gather points through answering questions or will it decision based / branching.

    You need to remember that you can only develop a game depending on the format you are able to use and the limitation of that format - no point developing a board game if you're going down the electronic route and vice versa.

    Why not get some ideas down on paper and share them in this forum?

  • Thanks Mike. Much appreciated, i have been looking into TinCan technology, (xAPI) as we are without a Learning Management System at the moment, so need to consider our next choice.
    (Very exciting.)

    I was just wondering, in order to set the mission, context and challenge for my game (i fancy including time travel backwards and forwards as well as inter- world travel) do i need to write the whole story? Should i be writing it now? Is this how game inventors start - with a story? Or do they start with the challenges and choices? Is there a template for challenges and choices or are they all patented?
  • Stumbled across this that might be useful


  • Sounds excellent really like the sound of this but yes try and establish costs up front as these things an be expensive. I'd recommend you mention this to Ady Howes as this is right up his street and he has done some really good scenario based eLearning and think he's like to hear what you're up to.

  • Ps it would be nothing like traditional learning - designed to be something well away from that.
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