Thursday, March 16, 2017

Play to Learn! (Book Tour Stop)

Karl Kapp and Sharon Boller have been banging the drum about learning games for years. In fact, one of my favorite ID-books back in 2007 was Karl Kapp's "Gadgets, Games, and Gizmos for Learning." 

Well, 10 years later, games have not gone away, in fact, they've solidified their place in our industry as clients and learners continue to ask for and expect modern learning experiences. At Kineo, we hear more and more from our clients a requirement for gamification, games for learning, serious games -- and all the many ways that need is expressed.

So, if gaming is on your dance card these days and you're looking for some tips on how to get started and what to do, be sure to add this book to your required reading list!






Karl Kapp and Sharon Boller
ATD Press, 2017










Why I like it:
  • Easy to read!
  • Great balance of theory with a focus on practical how-tos
  • Informative and practical -- with roadmaps to help you with defining game goals and instructional goals, learner personas, learning objectives; creating prototypes; play-testing; development considerations; deployment and more.
  • Great table mapping bloom's taxonomy to different types of games
  • Examples, examples, examples

My favorite chapter (Chapter 3) has some great tidbits and insights. Consider these teasers for the rest of the book...

Learning games need to be "fun enough":
"Learning games need to be what we call “fun enough.” A mistake made by many new learning-game developers is to try to design an entertaining game. Unfortunately, that often makes learning harder rather than easier. Remember, you are not creating the next great commercial game to entertain your learners; you are creating a learning game whose success will be measured by the achievement of learning outcomes." (page 23)

Remember the bigger system and design a game that's part of something larger:
"Commercial games such as Angry Birds, Assassin’s Creed, or Monopoly are usually played without context: A group of friends simply start playing a game, either online or in person. However, for a learning game to be the most effective, it needs to be part of a larger instructional plan and include instructional support elements. You can’t simply create a game and expect the players to learn from it without providing any context or guidance. For learning games to work, they need to be an integral part of a larger learning design." 

Don't make it so hard that people lose heart. Keep the emphasis on learning:
"The second principle is that both a losing state and a winning state need to lead to
learning. You need to design the game play to encourage learning throughout the game, and consider what happens when a player is not successful." (p. 24)

Check out the Table of Contents to see why this book is a must-read for learning designers.

Table of Contents:
Preface...
Section 1. Playing Games to Learn About Games....The Basics....
Playing Entertainment Games...
Exploring Learning Games...
Section 2. Making Game Design Choices That Support Learning ....Setting the Right Foundation for Your Learning Game...
Linking Learning With Game Design...
Two Game Design Case Studies....
Matching Scoring to Learning Goals...
Section 3. Putting Game Design Knowledge to Work....Creating the First Prototype....
Play-Testing...
Section 4. Development and Implementation...Development Considerations...
Deploying Your Game..
Final Thoughts....
The Final Word

This is an easy to read, accessible book, chock full of practical ideas and tips for helping you make the leap from learning designer to learning game designer.

Be sure to add Play to Learn to your essential reading list! 

2 comments:

Sharon Boller said...

Gadgets, Games, and Gizmos was my first introduction to Karl; I loved that book. It was when I first realized there were other people out there who liked games in learning as much as I did! Thanks for the review; I appreciated reading about what you liked the most. Every tip within the book is based on experience and playtesting. Lots of lessons were learned from doing things the wrong way first, particularly in terms of game complexity and striving for too much fun via overuse of game elements or mechanics.

Ilona Hetsevich said...

Another great book eLearning specialist should read. Thanks for a review!