It seems as though Web 2.0 is pushing everyone in IT to change the paradigm, making the online experience more user-focused and experiential. And eLearning is no exception. Nowadays, a simple drag and drop “game” can hardly be considered “game-based eLearning.” So then what is considered “good game” by Web 2.0 standards, in terms of game-based eLearning?
The short answer is “game,” and what makes a good game isn’t unique to Web 2.0. It’s always been true of games. It’s about strategy. A good game is one that sets a goal that can be attained in more than one way and provides a variety of success and fail combinations. And strategy needs to revolve around the choices a player makes.
Yes, this means your eLearning needs to support multi-pathing. It needs to be non-linear, but it doesn’t need to be daunting. So even though you might need to throw out the traditional eLearning precept of “scope and sequence,” you can still simplify.
Remember how the classic board games used to come with a dog-eared pamphlet that had the rules, objectives and how to play? That’s a great way to look at designing effective game-based eLearning, too. It comes down to those three sections.
Consider a sales training game. Don’t throw out your learning objectives. Instead, focus on the terminal learning objectives and align these with the performance objectives for the game. If a sales person needs to close 30% of sales, then the game objective might be that the “Player needs to engage with the animals in the dark forest of Trade Show Wood. To win, the player needs to use their selling skills to focus on the right prospects and sell the right product to the right animal in order to emerge from the woods.”
Any good game has rules, and the best games have SIMPLE rules. From a Web 2.0 perspective, these rules equate to defining the business rules for the game. If you’re designing sales training, the rules have to state that a player has to successfully respond to the prospect’s questions to win credibility and make the sale. If the player continually misses the mark, the rules need to state that if the player continually loses credibility, they should lose the sale. If they lose more than 30%, they lose the game. Keep it simple! And try not to require players to access “resources.” Players will smell learning and get turned off, but once they figure out that if they access these, they’ll win, you won’t need to force it.
How to Play:
Forgot those long tutorials! A great rule of thumb for teaching players how to play is to avoid a long extracted “intro”. When people think of games, they want to play not watch, so when you have a long intro Flash animation, players will typically skip this. Instead, have a set of Help files that players can access along the way. Or better yet, set a business rule that if a player hits a new event, trigger a short setup scene. Maybe have a character pop in and explain what’s going on.
So if you’re an eLearning designer, go 2.0, and have a good game!
If you’d like to learn about game based learning from Digitec Interactive, visit our eLearning page.
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