Monday, January 05, 2009

On Games and eLearning

As eLearning designers, your goal is (hopefully) to make the learning experience engaging.

(Realistically, sometimes all you can do is build the sucker in order to meet some crazy deadline.)

It's easy to equate engaging with fun.

(Fun is a funny word.)

So then it's really easy to think that the best way to make a course more engaging is to make it fun.

And the best way to make it fun is to make it a game. Right?


Clark Quinn in Learning Predictions for 2009:
I continue to see interest in games, and naturally I’m excited. There is still a sadly-persistent view that it’s about making it ‘fun’ (e.g. tarted up drill and kill), while the real issue is attaching the features that drive games (challenge, contextualization, focus on important decisions) and lead to better learning. Still, the awareness is growing, and that’s a good thing.
Mark Oehlert likes to remind me about flow: being immersed in an experience with a sense of full involvement and energetic focus. Which is a much better way to think of engaging.

Go for flow, not fun.

(Of course, sometimes they coincide.)

(Now go have some fun with this Flow Game).

What are you doing to create a more engaging experience? How do you help your learners get into a state of flow?

Photo/Video Credit: Amusement Park -- a Long Photo by respres

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yes, yes, yes!

When it comes to "fun" in training (and the scare quotes are deliberate), I always hear Marvin the paranoid android saying, "Sounds dreadful."

I think there are many paths to engagement--clever approaches that address knotty problems, opportunities for people to deploy their skill or their intuition, relevance of the challenge to real-world needs. Clown noses, perky music, and disproportionately positive feedback all work for the most part against engagement.