The benefit of being a digital learner

If there is anything that the last few years have pushed into focus it’s that learning has taken a bold direction. The concept of a digital learner, while not new, has certainly been revolutionized. Learning has been taken out of the classroom, the training workshop, and has been placed into the learners’ hands through technology.

The combination of mobile devices, learner management systems, and skilled coders has allowed teachers and educators to move their learning to digital platforms. Zoom lessons, online work and assignments, and even videos created by teachers explaining the assignment are all possible. How content can be delivered is not the only benefit in the era of digital learning.

Imagine it’s your first day at university and you aren’t sure where your class is, with the tap of a button on an app, a 3D arrow could appear directing you to your class. What if a learner wants to book a time to interact with a lecturer? No problem, lecturers can create digital calendars with meetings times for students to book. Processes like providing marks or feedback become much more responsive as learners can quickly check their progress. Facilitators can track the amount of time learners spend on different modules and react to any problem areas. Small things such as learners being able to see the checklist of books they need to read and their sections can help a learner focus on key learnings rather than miscellaneous management. The use of digital apps can help many processes be much more effective.

https://www.pearson.com

With these examples, one can see how the digital learner does not only benefit from having their educational content online but also how their learning experience can be shaped.

However, as great as these benefits are we need to be aware that not every learner has the same mindset toward digital learning. Older learners today or trainees for a business can often be skeptical or against the notion of online learning and getting them to interact with a learner management solution may be detrimental to their learning.

Pearson’s has done an excellent job at showing how the digital learner is a diverse solution that digital learning can offer, but it is highly dependent on the type of learner you are dealing with. G2C Learning is aware of this difference and that is why we push to always understand the learner before implementing solutions.

FigJam Review

Web-based whiteboarding tools are not something new, popular online whiteboarding tools like Miro and Mural have been around since 2011. On April 21, 2021, Figma announced the release of FigJam the latest addition to this list of growing online whiteboarding tools.

So, what is FigJam?

FigJam provides an online space to collaboratively brainstorm creative solutions, organise and explore ideas and research with a range of tools. In this day and age where working from home and remotely from across the globe is becoming the new normal, Figma has created an intuitive yet simple space that makes it easier to bring teams together to collaborate in real-time.  

In FigJam, the infinite whiteboard is presented as a simple yet aesthetically pleasing dotted grid with a user-friendly toolbar. The simplicity of both the design and functionality of the board and the toolbar makes it quite an easy program to introduce to clients and team members.

Board and Toolbar

This space can be used for a range of purposes and some of the common purposes are:

To make it even easier, FigJam has a range of premade templates for research, team meetings, and diagrams to choose from when starting a new project. If none of those templates meet your project needs you can also explore the templates made by others in the community.

Templates

When doing a project there is a limited but intuitive list of tools in FigJam’s toolbar which include:

Figma has also taken the time to create a list of curated colours that can be used on the marker tool, text, shapes, connectors, and sticky notes. The designers ensured objects that can be written on like shapes and sticky notes are less saturated in colour to create contrast between the text and the coloured objects, helping to create better readability.

Curated Colours

To help one learn how to use all these tools and their related shortcuts there is a handy template called FigJam basics. I would recommend going through this template before starting a project as it is a simple but fun tutorial on how to use all the tools available to you. 

FugJam basics template

FigJam also provides a few methods of communication when working on your project with your team. You can post comments on each other's works and use cursor chats which create a temporary message through live typing, although I personally found the cursor chat somewhat odd to use. However, Figma has announced that sometime in the future they will be adding a built-in voice chat which will not require the use of a third-party program like Zoom.

Cursor Chat
Comments

There are some challenges to FigJam like navigation can become tricky when the board becomes quite large, but price may probably be the biggest challenge for some. For the rest of 2021, FigJam will be free to use but from 2022 they will offer free and paid plans of $8 or $15 per editor per month. The cost of needing a license per editor could become pricey when working on projects with larger teams.

Overall, I think FigJam has the potential to help increase productivity and make it easier to bring teams together in an environment that is becoming more digital. By being a central space for team members to meet in real-time to collaborate, ideate, brainstorm, and get feedback on projects.

Resources: FigJam: https://www.figma.com/figjam/

FigJam Guide: https://help.figma.com/hc/en-us/articles/1500004362321-Guide-to-FigJam

How to RAMP up your motivation

The new year has kicked off! We’re all getting back into the swing of things and ready to get the new year going. Well… maybe not all of us. Personally, this hasn’t quite been the case for me. It’s taken me a lot more energy than I expected to orientate myself and get tasks completed these first few weeks. This lead me to the great theories of….Motivation. When one thinks of motivation many of us may think it’s one internal force that drives us to persevere through tasks that we enjoy. I can openly share that I would have much rather been sleeping in this morning than being at the gym, but I was still motivated, pleasant or not.

I recently came across a professor (Barry Fishman) sharing a photo of a squirrel lying in the hot sun, asking if we thought the squirrel was motivated. Most would think not, but he followed it with something that has really stuck with me since: Yes, the squirrel is motivated, motivated to have a nap in the sun. This is one of the greatest misconceptions of motivation. The bottom line is, everyone is motivated, but maybe not to do the things you want them to do. So, if one could sit and play Mario Brothers for hours in the evening, why couldn’t one sit and complete important tasks? Even when the one is obviously more important to me than the other.

Andrzej Marczewski developed the R.A.M.P model of motivation (a combination of The Self Determination Theory by Deci & Ryan (2000) and The Drive Theory by Pink (2009) to cater for intrinsic motivation and how to design successful games using these principles. I want to share this model with you as it gives some great insight into our motivation in general, and why games keep us engaged. Andrzej’s R.A.M.P model comprises of relatedness, autonomy, mastery and purpose. These relate to intrinsic motivation, where the activity is pleasurable for its own sake and not external rewards.

Relatedness – the desire to be connected to others. Social status and true connectedness to others or to communities satisfies this desire. Having a community that enjoys their interactions with each other becomes the key to retaining their engagement and loyalty. It’s highly motivating when you feel that others value you as well as the contribution you make to your team, company, or community.

Autonomy – the need to feel agency, independence or freedom. Do we have meaningful choices available or are we forced to do things one way? People want to feel that they have some sort of control over what they are doing. Without some level of freedom, innovation and creativity will be stifled. Having options on how to do tasks goes a long way in having people engaged in getting the tasks done.

Mastery – the desire to learn new skills and develop expertise in them. It is important that we feel our skills are increasing in proportion to the level of challenge (also see theory of flow). This works when people are guided through training levels and the difficulty increases as you get better at the skill. People feel motivated when they can see the personal progress they are making, over and above the opportunity or challenge to progress in their skills in the first place.

Purpose – a feeling of greater meaning or desire to be altruistic. We want to feel that there is a reason for what we are doing, or that it has some greater meaning. Altruism is linked to purpose in that you put the welfare of others before your own. We need to have that greater “Why” that Simon Sinek is renowned for sharing. When we have the why; when we can remind ourselves of the higher reason for our actions or tasks, we can re-engaged ourselves and be motivated to push through.

Next time you, or your team are feeling a little low on motivation, try and play a game that highlights one of these principles to increase engagement and motivation. Also, next time you’re on your second hour of playing your favourite game think of which of these principles is being applied to keep you engaged. Would you like to learn more about the psychology of games and game-based solutions. and how to apply them in a practical way? Attend our Learning Lab in Gamification. 

Gamification in Learning

Today's learners are digital natives and have a new profile. They grew up with digital technologies, different learning styles and new attitudes to the learning process, and higher requirements for teaching and learning. Organisations are facing new challenges and have to solve important issues related to the adaptation of the learning process towards employee’s needs, preferences and requirements. Different methods and approaches that allow employees to be active participants with strong motivation and engagement to their own learning is needed. This brings us to the current buzzwords of Gamification and Game-based Learning (GBL) in the field of androgogy.

Although both are innovative ways to train your learners, they aren’t actually interchangeable. While both may relate to education and training, how they relate varies greatly.

So, what is gamification? According to Karl Kapp gamification is “using game-based mechanics, aesthetics and game thinking to engage people, motivate action, promote learning, and solve problems.” Gamification is the use of game thinking, approaches, and elements in a context different from the games. Using game mechanics improves motivation and learning in formal and informal conditions (GamifyingEducation.org). Various definitions overlap and can be summarized as follows: Gamification is an integration of game elements and game thinking in activities that are not games.

What it does mean is that you are taking motivational elements from games, such as badges or achievements, and incorporating them into the learning experience to encourage your learners to perform a specific behaviour.

An example of this in a web-based training application would be awarding learners badges for completing sections of training and posting their scores to a leaderboard. These actions encourage learners and keep them engaged.

Some Benefits of Gamification include:

On the other hand, we have game-based learning. Game-based learning is using games to teach specific content. This can be through a game created for education (serious games), or a non-educational game for educational purposes. These present a structured end-to-end approach which immerses learners in a simulated experience using game mechanics in a great way to reinforce learning. Game-based learning gives students the freedom to fail and focuses on using the game to reinforce the learning material and provide context. In essence, any variety of game encourages the player to practice, learn from their mistakes, and gain many important skills.

Using games to teach can do the following:

While gamification and game-based learning are buzzwords in the training realm, and are sometimes used interchangeably, they are different. Gamification is using game-like mechanics, such as badges and leaderboards, in your training. It is not playing games or using games to teach. Whereas, game-based learning is using games to teach and reinforce educational objectives. Incorporating either one of these elements into your training is a sure way to catch your audience’s interest and teach them your material.

When to use which?

Igniting a customer-centric culture with game-based and experiential learning

Gone are the days of “Good day, how may I help you?”. Today it sounds more like “Good Day, Let’s go on a journey together to see how we can change your world”. We have moved away from just offering customer service, and towards a focus on co-creating an extraordinary customer experience. If a brand wants to make a sale, they must make an impact, with a mind-blowing customer experience.

Companies now need to determine not only how to attract customers initially, but how to get them to keep coming back for more. The customer experience journey is at the top of organisation’s list of priorities in day to day business. Having said that,we have to ask the question;“How much have they invested in the skilling of their front-line employees that are responsible for offering these incredible customer experiences daily?

There are numerous reasons why game-based learning and customer-service are great partners to deliver change in how customer service is delivered. Here are some statistics on customer service and how game-based learning helps you get through the road blocks on taking your customers on an unique customer journey.

Game2Change has developed many successful Customer Service training programs using our game-based tools and techniques.

8 Elements to make learning effective

With game-thinking increasing in popularity we want to delve into the elements that make learning fun and effective. These elements were originally proposed by Karl Kapp (2016) and show how games relate to and illicit each of these elements.

According to Karl Kapp, there are eight gaming elements which can be included in a learning programme or user experience. These increase a person’s enjoyment and ability to learn new content, pick up new skills, and update their mental model.

Game-based learning is effective because the game elements used, naturally draw a person’s attention to the task. The attentiveness to game play then extends to the learning content of the game, so we have people learning without fully realising it.

Games elicit a range of emotions – frustration, elation, sadness, anger, and happiness. By putting the critical element of emotion back into learning, people are quite adept at recalling learning when learning is tied to strong emotions. This is the basis of why narrative and storytelling are so effective in learning programs.
In a game, a player could lose a life or be required to start over because of a wrong move. When people believe something is at risk, they pay closer attention, focus their energy, and are engaged with the task at hand. This risk and friendly competition in a game increase focus and, therefore, learning retention.
Mystery pique’s learners’ curiosity – use it to draw them in and encourage them to explore content from several angles. Games can direct learners to use deductive reasoning to engage with learning content and use collective knowledge sharing to complete tasks.
Involve the learners immediately in the learning process – don’t have them read content for the first few minutes. Action and interactivity engage learners, and increases interactivity, therefore opening communication.
Learning modules need to start with a challenge – something that is difficult requires deep thinking, and cannot be achieved by guessing. This links to the theory of flow whereby the challenge of the activity needs to be slightly above the participant's skill level in order to keep engagement and prevent boredom.
Add an element of chance to the learning process. Have learners bet on the confidence of an answer or give them a 50/50 opportunity to get an easy or hard question. Uncertainty adds suspense or intrigue and focuses learners’ attention on the task at hand. This also allows participants of varying skill levels to be active in the game and not disengage.
People like to have a sense of mastery. They like to know that they know the content. Give them a chance to apply their newly learned content; ask it in different ways and see if they can express their own knowledge. Games are a great way to test application as it lends itself to the scenario and role-play activities.
Throughout the module give learners a visible sign of moving through the content, such as a badge when they achieve a learning objective. Don’t leave progress reports until the end. Include them often within the instruction. Games allow visual progress to be woven into the narrative. World levels, task badges, gaining resources, super-powers, and unlock-able challenges are a few ways to do this.

At Game2Change we design our game-based products around these 8 elements in relation to the learning objectives. It is important to get the balance between fun game elements and effective learning content just right. Our aim is to deliver learning content in a more effective method, and we have seen over the last 5 years how game-thinking is the most successful way to do this.

Using Game-Thinking to Innovate Learning Experiences

With all this talk of disruption and the fourth industrial revolution, people are trying to figure out how to be relevant in this digital age. That being said, the most important skills that will be valued in the future is the ability to be human, which is the ability to think, be creative, and problem solve.

We are therefore faced with the reality that there is a definite need for innovation in learning design and ultimately in learning experiences.

The generation entering the workplace has become proficient in a new language, which sets them apart and is shaping how many disciplines are being disrupted from entertainment, marketing, and education. According to Willem Jan Renger from TEDxAmsterdamED – the Language of Interactivity is creating a generational gap, and we need to start understanding this language and how we need to adapt, in order to meet future generations’ requirements.

Any child growing up today is given access to technology and highly sophisticated digital and virtual worlds. Our future users and learners will have a new benchmark emphasizing their need to be engaged with in a dynamic, interactive, and immersive manner. There is a vast difference between how Millennials, Generation X, and previous generations have interacted with the world and content.

One dimensional static content delivered to a passive receiver is no longer even hitting the mark of mediocre learning. The majority of learning designers are stretching their skills to design learning experiences. Human-centered design is becoming the gold standard of some of the key principles, and business practices are having to adapt to from transactional to transformational.

Game -thinking and game design are a category of this, which naturally lend themselves to designing better learning experiences. Not only are serious games incorporated into learning programmes, but game design principles are great pillars to re-think learning design.

At Game2Change we are constantly innovating new ways to create immersive learning experiences and have found that game-thinking and game-design have had some of the best success rates.

Compliance training can be FUN!

What comes to mind when you hear the word Compliance? More importantly what comes to mind when you hear the words Compliance Training? Although very necessary in most industries, Compliance has always had quite negative connotations of being dull, monotonous and boring. “Compliance Training” is quite closely associated to those negative connotations but not only for the receiving party but also for the learning designers and facilitators that have been tasked with relaying the message of compliance.

I have had many interactions with client’s who speak so enthusiastically about their programs in innovation, customer experience, design thinking etc, but the moment compliance training is mentioned that enthusiasm immediately shifts to dismay.

In our experience this does not have to be the case as we believe COMPLIANCE TRAINING CAN BE FUN”. Yes, you read correctly, compliance training can actually be fun.

By just incorporating a few different fun and engaging techniques to your program it is possible. Based on our experiences here are a few techniques to make your compliance training program fun, interactive and engaging.

Compliance training has always had a bad reputation in the world of work even though it is a crucial part of so many industries and organizations. This however does not need to be the case. Creating fun and engaging compliance training can be easily achieved by applying a couple of different techniques that help improve learner/employee interaction and retention. This is not only great for the employee but also those who have to create these programs, and ultimately the organization.

For more tips and assistance on making your training, and particularly compliance training, fun – give us a call.

Why You Should Use Games for Your Culture Initiatives

At Game2Change we have a strong collaborative culture of partnering with passionate contributors who are positively impacting the human element in organisations and have seen how games and game-thinking can help unlock people’s potential.

We love learning and sparking new ideas and insights with our community in the Monthly Dose of Gamification Newsletter. As a next step we have decided to invite some of G2C’s key collaborators (and experts in their field / industry) to share their experiences of applying games and gamification to their focus areas and projects, in a recorded skype session. The session will be to tap into a seasoned expert, and their motivation for selecting a game or element of game-thinking and key insights gained.

Our first topic is an area on every leaders’ agenda – How can we evolve our culture and collective behaviours to be future-fit and adaptable?

Influencing and facilitating deep behavioural change can be complex, ambiguous and multi-faceted. A large-scale culture change roll-out required a seasoned expert with deep knowledge and expertise. Natasha Winkler has been involved in organizational change for over 20 years, and in facilitating the large-scale culture change initiative required both sound principles and at the same time innovation to meet the end goals. An element of the project which was rolled out to 20,000 employees, was adopting game-based tools to facilitate deep dialogical change.

In our interview with Natasha we discuss the following:

  1. What is required for deep behavioral change.
  2. Why games were selected as one of the methods in this culture change initiative.
  3. The benefits of a well-designed game in this context.
  4. Some considerations which were considered when adopting this approach.

Deep behavioural change requires a dialogical approach, which is focused on social construction and meaning making. The types of vehicles/methods used for this approach have been:

  1. Conversation metaphors
  2. World café approach
  3. Appreciative enquiry

A more recent inclusion has been a well-designed game which, according to Natasha Winkler, have a number of benefits:

Types of Games

We all have different personality types, and so different people will enjoy different types of games. Can you think of a game you most enjoy playing? Do you know what category this game would fall under? Understanding what type of game we enjoy playing will contribute to understanding which learning styles and methods suit us best, and have the best impact on our self-development and learning.

Games are a powerful catalyst in driving personal progress, stimulation and development of cognitive ability. Games are fast becoming one of the major influences in organizations in the reshaping of business designs, and training. This drives the shift in thinking from functional and transactional business design, towards the embrace of a more human-centered approach.

For a number of years, I have designed games for organizational learning and development initiatives. I have used a simple framework of 5 game types which each drive different learning outcomes. These can be applied in learning, teamwork, and promoting different thinking perspectives. These 5 game types are simulation, adventure, role-play, strategy, and quiz.

  1. Simulation Games

[EXPERIENCE AND IMMERSION = LEARNING]

These are games which closely simulate the real world with scenarios and a decision architecture, to explore the key elements of a situation. Game simulations usually simplify and provide immersive experience for players.

Simulation games seek to achieve:

  1. Adventure Games

[EXPLORATION & PROBLEM-SOLVING = LEARNING]

Adventure games are set-up as a single player format (*protagonist) in an interactive story with a series of puzzles and problem-solving tasks. Players usually unlock the game piece by piece. These types of games include a series of smaller problems and/or gathering of information to reach an ultimate goal or objective.

Adventure games seek to achieve:

Examples of adventure games are:

  1. Role-play Games

[ACTING = LEARNING]

In role-play games, players assume a particular role and interact with other characters. Role-play games allow for scenario-based concepts with certain behaviours to be demonstrated and decisions to be made. In the virtual world Role Play Games (RPG) are the foundation of the PC game, and with increased technology these have become more sophisticated.

Role-play games seek to achieve:

Examples of role-play games are:

  1. Strategy Games

[OUTMANEUVER= LEARNING]

In strategy games, players participate in the management of resources and units, with a decision-making tree which can influence the outcome of the game. Players’ decisions are uncoerced and a game can be won based on decisions made.

Strategy games seek to achieve:

Examples of strategy games are:

  1. Quiz Games

[TESTING = LEARNING]

In quiz games, a series of questions and puzzles are set up to test knowledge and skill. Quizzes can also be used to test improvement in knowledge and provide group competition.

Quiz games seek to achieve:

Examples of quiz games are: