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Archive for July, 2013

Gamification with Narrative- The story behind the content that drives the simulation

By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On July 26, 2013 NO COMMENTS

Can simulations tell stories? The affirmative answer of Gamificationyes suggests that gamified simulations built around narrative may be considered an anomaly by some seeing as how the term of gamification was only recently introduced. But for us it’s just common practice, so let me delve a little further into what I mean by narrative and how it has a profound affect on a gamified simulation.

Let’s first begin by further explaining narrative. By definition narrative is: A narrated account; a story. Alternatively, it’s the art, technique, or process of narrating. By further characterization, simulations are narratives; they have a story behind them. You can take a seemingly boring topic and actually breathe life into it to make it much more engaging for the trainee to learn. By utilizing a gamified simulation with narrative it aids in creating a story and context for a specific activity and makes learning more palatable.

Narrative theory states that humans are primarily storytellers, thus people respond favorably to messages presented in a narrative framework” -Morgan, Cole, Struttman, & Piercy, 2002

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Gamification Mechanics vs. Gamification Dynamics

By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On July 24, 2013 NO COMMENTS

Since the introduction of Gamification a few years backGamification some have begun to define the difference between Gamification Mechanics versus Gamification Dynamics. While there is a thin line between the two and it can be blurry at times, let me attempt to define each in the following post.

Gamification Mechanics: Also understood as verbs of gamification, in essence these are the elements that move the action (aka simulation) forward. Defined as the basic actions, control mechanisms and processes that are used to “gamify” an activity. These actions in which players take (“agency”) and the rules that limit those actions to create pressure (also known as “urgency”) are what make up game mechanics. The problem with the gamification mechanics definition is that is often a vague term to use “mechanics”. In essence it kind of becomes a catchall for operations and their effects. In effect anything that may seem related to how a game operates may be labeled as a “mechanic”. Granted, the essential idea behind gamification is to “just add in game mechanics.”

According to Gamification.org (http://gamification.org/wiki/Game_Mechanics) there are 24 types of gamification mechanics currently recognized, while I won’t define each one individually I will provide a list below of the 24 and most are pretty self explanatory without further definition needed.

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This is your Brain on Games

By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On July 22, 2013 NO COMMENTS

This is your Brain on Games- GamificationThe science behind gaming that proves gamification and simulation make sense

Computer and video gaming… It’s a $25 billion dollar entertainment business per year which in 2010 sold over 257 million video and computer games. While the first commercial video game hit the market over 40 years ago, the game industry has grown immensely in the past two decades. There are casual gamers and then there are serious gamers…a ‘serious gamer’ may be defined as someone who spends 20 hours a week on gaming or alternatively as an MMO addict that spends his/her days in the basement clocking in 40 to 80 hours a week spent trying to master a game. However, most research exhibits gaming from 5 to 10 hours per week as healthy and otherwise defined as ‘gaming in moderation’. Computer and video games can actually be looked at as a form of ‘brain training’; it’s an intuitive way to learn things (and actually retain what is learned).

When one is participating in a video type of game they enjoy intense determination, focus, a drive to achieve more, positive emotion… all of these are just a few ‘symptoms’ of gaming. Surprisingly, gamers are willing to fail 80 percent of the time. That’s a pretty high statistic compared to what people are willing do in daily life and how they feel they may fail. When you are immersed in a ‘game’ you amaze yourself at what you can accomplish. By participating in a state of play, it brings out our optimism and energy levels and actually has positive effects in a multitude of different ways.

“The opposite of play isn’t work- it’s depression.”- Jane McGonigal

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Gamification for Enterprises

By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On July 15, 2013 NO COMMENTS

Forrester Research Gamification(http://www.forrester.com/Gamification+Level+Up+Your+Strategic+Approach/fulltext/-/E-RES95622) recently released a new study that highlights the fact that companies just don’t understand the concept of gamification well enough in order to make it work to their advantage. This helps to confirm the point that I have tried to make all along and that is… Companies and universities for the most part just don’t recognize the unique value proposition that gamification coupled with simulation technologies can bring to the organization to aid in training/teaching learners.

In the study, Forrester states that a company investing in gamification needs to know who their target audience is and what that audience finds as valuable. Also the organization must determine its business objectives and chart an action plan to reach them, and in addition use an “engagement loop to connect user motivations to those actions.” Past failures by some businesses have lead enterprises to question gamification applications even more so then they already were previously. The Forrester report also said, “It’s not gamification itself that fails, it is the poor application of gamification that does.”

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MOOCs: Building Personal Learning Networks

By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On July 8, 2013 NO COMMENTS

For the past year or so, massive open online courses (MOOCs) MOOChave been busy upending all kinds of assumptions about education: content is king, quality education is expensive, and instructor-led training is the gold standard, to name just a few. But some subtler shifts are also taking place. One major change that MOOCs have greatly contributed to is the gaining recognition of learning as a primarily social activity, where the networks created are just as important (if not more important) as the content learned. The traditional practice of an instructor standing in front of a class of daydreaming students has been tossed out the window in favor of a new picture of an instructor as a facilitator who assists students to teach and learn from others and themselves.

We live in a world where there is simply too much to learn – whether in a history class or a management training program, it has become nearly impossible for a person to absorb all there is to know. Because of this, education is moving from a model of knowledge transfer to a model of learning network development. MOOCs represent the intersection between these two models – knowledge can be transferred quickly and effectively to large numbers of people at the same time and spaces can be created for people to build their own learning networks. The implications of this shift for education are huge; the implications for corporate training and continuing and professional development are staggering.

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MOOCs: Personal Initiative and Professional Development

By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On July 1, 2013 NO COMMENTS

If you took a quick survey of your organization, chances are Global blue Computer Networkyou would find several people who have taken, are taking, or are planning to take a MOOC. And of those people, a good portion of them are probably doing it to enhance their skill set and improve their career. Yes, you read that right – many people take MOOCs as courses for professional development, not because they are required to or are being paid to, but because they want to.

MOOCs are still a very new phenomenon, and although a massive amount of data is being collected, it hasn’t yet been compiled and analyzed. However, preliminary demographic data show a pretty interesting trend. According to Inside Higher Ed, reports from early MOOCs offered by Coursera and Udacity suggest that between one-half and three-quarters of the students took the courses to enhance their skills either so they would perform better in their current job or so that they could find a better job. So while universities and governments are frantically trying to figure out exactly how MOOCs will affect higher education, and in particular whether they should translate into any sort of credit, MOOC students are leading a quiet revolution of their own – they are using the free online courses to increase their job skills and earning potential.

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