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Archive for the ‘Simulations’ Category

The 3 Ms: MOOCs, Mobile, and Millennials

By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On October 15, 2014 NO COMMENTS

Technology in the handsMOOCs, mobile, and Millennials—these three ideas often elicit some measure of discomfort in training and development departments, because while these three forces are greatly affecting businesses in general and workplace education in particular, they remain relatively poorly understood. This lack of understanding means that while Millennials are increasingly adopting a mobile mindset and seeing MOOCs as not only a viable method of training, but their preferred one, many companies are still slow about moving in these new directions. The result is a model of corporate training that is not well suited to its target audience.

Let’s look at some data highlighting the disconnect between corporate training and these various factors.

Here is what Millennials think about MOOCs:

  • In a Software Advice study earlier this year, almost three-quarters of 18 to 24 year-olds, and nearly as many 25 to 34 year-olds, said they would participate in a company training MOOC. The same study found that more than half of Millennials would be more likely to apply for and stay with a company that used MOOCs for training. (Learn more about the study.)
  • A recent study by QuestionPro found not only that respondents believed that MOOCs offer a high quality of education, but that 78% rated them as being a better experience than a traditional classroom. Millennials in particular are so positive about this learning format that almost 80% of 25 to 34 year-olds expect that in the future MOOCs will replace some parts of traditional education entirely.

Now let’s see what employers think about MOOCs:

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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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Gamification of Problem Solving

By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On June 20, 2013 NO COMMENTS

Gamification of Problem-Solving: It’s a relatively new term Highway Signpost "Gamification"and may be a little trendy, possibly overhyped, and tends to be misunderstood as a subject. Let me delve a little deeper into painting a picture of what it is able to do (and solve).  In essence gamification presents an innovative way to solve real-world problems in a simulated environment. We are seeing proven cases of success of it’s applications and it still has a lot of untapped potential and evolution to take place before making it full circle.

How can you solve problems through Gamification?

According to Karl Kapp, he states that: “It is one thing to teach someone how to solve a problem using gamification techniques; it is another to actually have people work on the problem itself. This is where gamification problem-solving projects like the U.S. military’s game platform for generating multiple ideas for defeating the Somali pirates, FoldIt, and Phylo come into play. Each of these gamified platforms has several similar components that can be employed when creating large scale gamification problem-solving efforts.

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The History and Direction of Gamification

By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On June 17, 2013 NO COMMENTS

A look back in the history books…Highway Signpost "Gamification"

When you stop to think about it we have been playing games in one form or another almost since time began. The meaning and application of games has changed dramatically over the years and although the concept of ‘game’ is not new, the term of ‘gamification’ is. Perhaps one of the first forms of gamification could be noted as a toy introduced through the infamous Cracker Jack box way back in 1912. Nothing really happened over the next 68 years, up until 1980. It was then that Richard Bartle co-created MUD1. This ‘game’ was a pioneer effort to introduce the first known massively multiplayer online game. This was the first time that people could experience a collaboration platform that was interactive (even though not interactive by today’s standards). It was MUD1 and others like it introduced way back when pc’s were more in the dinosaur age of evolution as compared to what they are today that helped to shape what gamification is and will be in the future.

It wasn’t until 2002 that another element of gamification came into play and that was in the form of ‘serious games’. Serious Games can best be summed up in stating that it’s a game, but one that is used for training/learning purposes through simulation, etc. It was this movement and the term coined as ‘Games for Change’ that began lying a path down for the real introduction of gamification. In 2007, Bunchball introduced the first ‘modern’ gamification platform. Since then a whole host of other companies have launched competing products revolving around a gamification-like platform and other systems.

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Gamification Techniques Transferring Over into Real Life- Life could be like a video game.

By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On June 10, 2013 NO COMMENTS

Let’s just admit now, that most of you reading this blog post Highway Signpost "Gamification"have enjoyed some play time behind a video game controller whether it be mastering Tetris, Doom or any other video game for that matter. Although it’s scary to learn that three billion hours a week (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-22508983) are spent on playing games (mainly as a pastime) it also drives home my point of stating that simulations coupled with gamification techniques can be an extremely powerful tool and one that resonates with a wide audience. Games are everywhere; games will lead the way both now and in the future.

It always seems as though the video game industry is introducing sequels to popular games rather than re-inventing the wheel and developing a new game, why not just add another one onto an already popular money-making video game series? Not to name names here, but: Battlefield 3, Uncharted 3 and Mass Effect 3 are just to name a few. And while I’m at it I might just mention Play Station 3. The lure of the video game is to draw the player in, interaction if you will. Not only does one have the opportunity to play against another player but there is also the aspect of the leader board. This leader board drives one to achieve better mastery of the game and reach higher levels. The whole idea around leader boards, badges, community collaboration, achievements and the list goes on and on… is that all of these ideas transfer over to real life.

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Gamify Your MOOC

By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On May 20, 2013 NO COMMENTS

Gamification and massive open online courses (MOOCs) Gamificationare two of the biggest trends in education. The power of these tools in creating accessible, engaging educational programs is already being realized in many educational and training sectors. For corporate trainers, the need to motivate employees to enhance their knowledge and skills can hardly be understated. According to Badgeville, a gamification platform, the dropout rate for organizational L&D programs can reach as high as 75 percent – that’s three-quarters of employees not completing their learning courses. Clearly, this trend needs to be reversed. Gamified corporate training programs can increase user engagement by more than 50 percent, and MOOCs have incredible potential to reduce the costs and increase the benefits associated with training. It is time for these two mammoth forces to come together.

So, what is the best way to go about gamifying a MOOC? Well, the answer is that there is no single answer to this question. Gamification involves using game elements and game design techniques in non-game situations, but there are many different ways to do this. Gamification is merely an additional, albeit very powerful, tool organizations can use to increase motivation and engagement in their training programs. The specific game elements and design techniques that are most effective will depend on the organization’s training goals and resources. Here we will review how some basic game elements can be applied in a MOOC context.

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Training and Education for Millennials through Gamification

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

Millennials already make up 25% of the American workforce and that Word Cloud "Gamification"number grows daily as college graduates are finding their way into the workplace. The millennial generation, otherwise known as Generation Y can further be defined by Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generation_Y) as: “There are no precise dates for when Generation Y starts and ends. Commentators use beginning birth dates from the latter 1970s, or from the early 1980s to the early 2000s. They are the demographic following Generation X.” Also characterized as the net generation, the Millennials are demanding more challenging types of training that they are able to relate to and many companies are embracing the process of gamification to entice this generation into their workforce.

Because of the internet and games, Millennials have different attitudes and behaviors from previous generations. Generation Y’ers typically have greater expectations of the workplace and are found to switch jobs more often than those of Generation X due to the fact that they do not find the job challenging and rewarding enough. The Millennials work ethic is motivated in a different way than that of previous generations; they seek instant gratification and are looking to be employed by a company that has embraced new technologies and allows them to utilize their multi-tasking skills. This so called ‘net generation’ has grown up with video games, they are highly proficient with technology and see games as a tool (not a just a game).

“How do we leverage “nine-to-fivers” who come home and apply all of the smarts and talents that are underutilized at work to plan and coordinate complex raids and quests in massively multiplayer online games?”- Jane McGonigal, Reality is Broken

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Gamified Applications for Training

By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On April 17, 2013 NO COMMENTS

How gamification has had an effect on the training industryWord Cloud "Gamification"

While there are a number of skeptics out there of training through gamification and simulation; gamified simulations have become an extremely popular and very effective training medium. Some in the simulation market may take offense to a simulation mistakenly called a ‘game’. While a simulation does have game-like aspects it is purely used as a teaching method. Are they real enough? They are so real it hurts. Will one take it serious enough? This is where the term ‘serious games’ come into play. Gamified simulations are even being incorporated into traditional military training war games.

By nature, we have the desire to be entertained. The experience-based learning that games provide enables the ability to change behavior by being immersed within the game design and provide a motivation for learning through such motivation. By generating a method for measurable feedback, the trainee as well as the organization benefit. Game-style engagement can bring a high level of engagement and make learning/training actually fun to do. When a simulation is based around an inspiring story it makes it satisfying to play. Gaming interfaces will continue to make inroads in both corporate and educational training fronts within the next decade.

“It is in our human nature to interact and be entertained with playful applications, particularly when there are engaging design elements employed.” -Gamification in 2012 Report, M2 Research

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Developing Skills through Gamification

By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On April 10, 2013 NO COMMENTS

Developing skills and solving problems in a simulated environmentWord Cloud "Gamification"

What is it about games that make it possible to feel like we can accomplish anything and be a master at it, how can this transfer over to real life? Games are compelling and can lead to behavioral manipulation without the player even knowing it. They have a way of draw users in and engaging them. That is why gamification elements transfer over to simulation training as a perfect fit for one another, kind of like yin and yang. The art of game design has been around for ages, although it may not have first been applied to the computer. But none the less a board game or the like can also draw players into it as well (it just might not be as immersive).

“Games enrich us with intrinsic rewards. They actively engage us in satisfying work that we have the chance to be successful at. They give us a highly structured way to spend time and build bonds with people we like. And if we play a game long enough, with a big enough network of players, we feel a part of something bigger than ourselves—part of an epic story, an important project, or a global community.” -Jane McGonigal, Reality is Broken

Jane McGonigal: Gaming can make a better world TED Talk

 

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Gamification and the Hype Cycle

By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On April 3, 2013 NO COMMENTS

Taking an in-depth look at the Gartner Hype Cycle as it applies to Gamification and predictions for millennial trainingWord Cloud "Gamification"

As gamification moves from the early adoption stage to becoming more broadly accepted across all arenas it will prove to be a useful tool within training programs across a variety of industries. In order for gamification to be successful it can’t just rely on badges, leader boards and points. Rather, gamification mechanics need to have objectives in place towards collaboration and innovation.

Gartner (http://www.gartner.com/technology/research/gamification/) defines gamification in the following few paragraphs:

“Gamification is the use of game design and game mechanics to engage a target audience to change behaviors, learn new skills or engage in innovation. The target audience may be customers, employees or the general public, but first and foremost, they are people with needs and desires who will respond to stimuli. It is important to think of the people in these target audiences as “players” in gamified applications.

While game mechanics such as points and badges are the hallmarks of gamification, the real challenge is to design player-centric applications that focus on the motivations and rewards that truly engage players more fully. Game mechanics like points, badges and leader boards are simply the tools that implement the underlying engagement models.

Gamification describes the use of the same design techniques and game mechanics found in all games, but it applies them in non-game contexts including: customer engagement, employee performance, training and education, innovation management, personal development, sustainability and health. Virtually all areas of business could benefit from gamification as it can help to achieve three broad business objectives 1) to change behavior; 2) to develop skills; or 3) to enable innovation. While these objectives are very broad, more opportunities may emerge as the trend matures.”

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