This past week I was at the eLearning Guild’s conference (a great conference, as always), and had a number of learnings, as well as a delightful chance to chat with a whole bunch of people.
One of the great delights was finding out that an individual who had attended my learning game design workshop at a previous eLearning Guild conference was presenting the current status of a game project they were developing. They had done an outstanding job focusing on their goals, and consequently coming up with a compelling scenario that really hit their goals for making an impact on their business. He was very gracious, mentioning the workshop (even the book, and I didn’t even pay him!), and also demonstrating the difficulties as well as the successes they had. It’s gratifying to have what you say come to fruition, and to see more people trying to take their elearning to the ‘next level’.
One interesting thing was that they had to use a side bucket of R&D money to do this, rather than having it being a mainstream activity. It’s sad that they have to sneak it in, and then hope to get support now that it’s to a ‘playable’ stage.
I wonder how many people are finding it difficult to sell games. It’s amazing to think that the most powerful practice opportunity is hard to justify, but the fact is that people’s minds are limited. Particularly when one of the things that has been labeled as ‘games’ is those mindless tarted up drill-and-kills. So you have to play games (ahem), and call it a ‘scenario’ or (inaccurately) a scenario. Which isn’t inappropriate but I’d like you to be tuning it to a game for the best learning, not just leaving it a scenario (my terminology is a simulation is just a manipulable model, when you wrap an initial and goal state and a story it’s a scenario, and when you tune it until it’s engaging you’ve got a game).
There were a number of other presentations talking about how to ramp up the engagement of the content, some better than others, but the important thing is that people are now talking more about the emotional content of the learning.