Mar 14, 2007

New book on learning and games 'I'll take learning for 500'

Among the myths they debunk (as excerpted from their book)?

Myth 1: A game show wouldn't appeal to my trainees; they're too shy, too professional, too blue-collar, too serious.
Truth: Games have the uncanny ability to engage even the shyest, most skeptical or most professional of trainees. Everyone from a white-collar executive to a blue-collar factory line worker likes to have fun and compete. They will appreciate a training experience that is exciting and engaging.
Game shows have multiple elements that appeal to a wide spectrum of people, from the most competitive salesperson to the shyest "newbie." They include competition, socialization, fun, learning and a chance to express themselves and their knowledge.

Myth 2: They won't work for my subject; it's too technical or too sensitive to have fun.
Truth: Game shows can take a subject that is particularly touchy, tough, and tedious and transform it into a truly tantalizing training experience. Any subject can be made into a game show.

Myth 3: They're too difficult to create and take too much time to construct; I don't have that kind of time to spend every week.
Truth: Game shows can be as elaborate as you want to make them or as simple as you need them to be. Software shells can take a lot of the grunt work out of the creation process. In most, all you have to do is type your questions and answers. If you're really pressed for time, there are companies that offer content modules for common training topics; import the questions into your game, and you're ready to go.

Myth 4: I don't have time in my training session for a game; I have too much material to cover.
Truth: Game shows don't have to replace the time you devote to training. Most people have reviews and recap sessions during or after the main training session anyway. This is where game shows can be used as a quick review. Although television game shows last half an hour, yours doesn't have to. Even a five-minute review with a game show can be beneficial to capture trainees' knowledge and ensure that your information is in their heads.
Think about this: when you review with a game show, you gain insight into knowledge gaps that your students may have. Knowing what they know and don't know can help you focus and leverage the time you have remaining in your training session -- saving you time overall and helping you achieve your training goals. Because game shows also increase retention, you'll save time in your training session, especially if the upcoming material builds off of the material you're reviewing with the game show.

Myth 5: Game shows don't fit the company culture; we just don't DO that kind of thing here.
Truth: We've been raised to believe that because training is serious, training methods must be serious. Training IS serious, and that's why it is so important to present information in a way that people will remember and use. Sometimes that means using unconventional methods in a conventional environment. Game shows don't have to be tacky, loud or over-the-top; they can be tailored to match your culture and your needs. Something as simple as changing the description or name can affect the reception and perception of a game show. Instead of introducing a game show as a "game," you could call it a "content review challenge."

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