Learning Games and Interactions that Engage

Whether you are designing web-based training or developing a live instructor-led session, you need to figure out ways to drive information retention.  It is a fact, learners will only retain about 10% of the information they are given, if they were paying attention and less than that if they were distracted.  You have to engagethe learner.

Let me give you an example, when I was in 3rd grade I had to learn my multiplications tables.  We were given math sheets everyday with about 50 to 100 problems. I use to sit at the table and cry because I struggled with my 9s table.  My mom, of all people, sat down and said she would teach me a “top secret trick“, she proceeded to teach me my 9s tables using my hands – I managed to learn my 9s tables in less than 5 minutes and I became the 9s table queen.  It was effective because it didn’t require me to memorize and barf out the answers and it was engaging.  Years later I taught the same “top secret trick”  to my own girls. The morrow of the story? Games & Interactions can drive learning and learning retention.

Coming up with games for web-based training and even for live session is a bit of a challenge.  You want to make sure to align the game with training objective.  I’ve been working on developing HIPAA Refresher Training over the past month, the client insisted on having the training created instead of purchasing something pre-made.  The topic is so very dry and it’s being presented to about 3000 employees who are non-health care workers.

The client gave me a 52 page PowerPoint with quizzes proudly proclaiming it’s done all you have to do is make it scorm-ready for our LMS.  Yeah, Right! The presentation was locked and loaded with bullets, pages crammed with information and unrelated graphics.  The quizzes contained dumb questions that did not enhance learning or even help the learner to retain any amount of information.  Questions like: “HIPAA is an acronym for?”  with four choices, three of the choices being absolutely ridiculous making the right answer obvious.  My job is to stop the nonsense before it happens and create learning that helps the client meet their goal while engaging the learner – not bore them to death.

So  how do you do this? I find that by creating non-linear learning paths and including games forces the learner to (1) stay awake & pay attention, (2) interact with the learning, (3) retain information, even if they weren’t planning on it.   So here are some learning games and interactions examples you can use:

1. Scavenger Hunt – this type of game can be used in both web-based and live sessions.  The object of the game is to have the learner search for or identify objects related to the subject on hand, the key is in the feedback they receive for their answers both correct and incorrect.

2. Scenario based Questions – again this can be used in various settings.  The goal is to have the learner read the scenario and make a decision on a course of action based on the information they learned in the training. Again, the feedback is key in this setting as well.

3. Labeled Graphics – this works especially well in a lot of the topics I develop.  It allows the learner to take their time while exploring the components found in the presented graphic. My example is for a software application, I integrated the use of video snippets.

I create all these interactions using Articulate Engage, Articulate Quizmaker, Articulate Video Encoder, Camtasia Studio & Audacity; but you can create versions of these interactions using just PowerPoint.

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