Tuesday, May 22

Gamification Blog Book Tour: Week Six Stops and Week Five Recap

TODAY'S BLOG BOOK TOUR STOP:May 24: Webinar event with Dan Bliton who challenges attendees to the game "Are you smarter than Karl Kapp". Dan Bliton will be hosting the game and conducting an interview with me on the 24th of May during BAH open webinar at 1:00 ET.

Stops for Week Six

May 21:Games Teach!Encore stop from last week.

 May 22: Bruce Walsh Can video games help us learn?

May 23: Jeanne Meister Gamification: Three Ways To Use Gaming For Recruiting, Training, and Health & Wellness Great examples and a quote from the book in Forbes.com.

May 24: Webinar event with Dan Bliton who challenges attendees to the game "Are you smarter than Karl Kapp". Dan Bliton will be hosting the game and conducting an interview with me on the 24th of May during BAH open webinar at 1:00 ET.

May 25: (These two entries are not "official stops" but great reading on the subject) Julie Brink, Game-Based Learning for the Corporate World and Mark OehlertAn Amplification of the power of Game-Based Learning in the Corporate World

Plus we have added a few new tour stop dates in June, a few more interviews on the tour and an article appearing in the June issue of T&D.

Recap of Week Five 

Week Five was a great week with some interesting postings about the book. Over at Designing Digitally, we had the stop: The Gamification of Learning and Instruction. John Rice, who contributed to a great deal of the thinking and ideas in chapter 7, was a stop on the tour with his post New Book The Gamification of Learning and Instruction. We had a stop with Christy Tucker who, herself, was passoinately defending games as an instructional medium in her posting Research in Gamification of Learning and Instruction. The tour also pointed to the Gamification Happenings Pinterest page which has over 82 pins and is growing. Also, don't for get the Facebook page for the book.

And if all this has gotten you curious to read the book, you can pick up a copy at the ASTD online book store or just stop by and read the first chapter.

Monday, May 14

Gamification Blog Book Tour: Week Five Stops and Week Four Recap


Also, today would be a good day to revisit some of the great posts of this week. Stop by and see the post at Designing Digitally about the book.

Check out John Rice's stop on the tour, I want to thank John as I included some ideas on understanding elements leading to higher learning in videogames which he outlined in a paper published a few years ago in the Journal of Technology and Teacher Education.

 And don't forget Christy Tucker's stop Research in Gamification of Learning and Instruction and also check out her posting Ruth Clark Claims “Games Don’t Teach” part on an interesting debate I plan to weigh in on tomorrow.
Stops for Week Five

May 14: Andrew Hughes Designing Digitally
May 15: John Rice Educational Games Research
May 16: Christy Tucker Experiencing E-Learning
May 17: Gamification Happenings at Pinerest
May 18: See my post, "Games Teach!"

Plus we have added a few new dates and stops (stay tuned) we are also having a webinar event with Dan Bliton who challenges attendees to the game "Are you smarter than Karl Kapp". Dan will be hosting the game and conducting an interview with me on the 24th of May during BAH open webinar at 1:00 ET.

Recap of Week Four 

Week Four was an exciting week. We had many activities going on related to the tour. We had a very interesting stop with Mike Qaissaunee's post Gamification of Learning and Instruction. Mike gave the perspective of a technology educator and someone who is not an instructional designer and explained how gamification impacts him and the difficulties associated with gamification when your teaching load is heavy. 

Koreen Olbrish's The Shamification of Gamification  posting discussed how we should "focus on the challenge of educating the market, not vilifying a word." She also commented on the chapter she contributed to the book.

Larry Hiner at drlarryhiner talked about the Intersection of games, learning, and organizational psychology providing an interesting and thought provoking perspective.

Catherine Lombardozzi at her Gamification Whistle Stop discussed what someone will learn when they read the book and what people mean when they talk about “gamification” and the factors that transform engaging learning into game play.

Zaid Ali Alsagoff created a post called Gamify to Amplify the Learning Experience. He talked about gamification to of personal learning and sharing and the gamification of teaching. As always, he provided great graphics and visual insights.

We also had two book reviews one by Connie Malamed at eLearn Magazine and another book review by Jennifer Neibert of Learning Solutions Magazine. Allison Rossett mentioned Gamification in her interesting post titled My Commencement Address for the Workforce Learning Class of 2012.

And I somehow missed this before but Ruth Clark wrote a provocative piece called Why Games Don't Teach which discusses one research article that found the game used for learning didn't teach what it was supposed to teach. There are other studies, of course, that show that games do teach (many are cited in the book) and even serveral meta-analysis studies (studies of studies) that show games do teach. So, right now I say it depends on the study and research design as well as game-design as to how effective the game is for achieving desired learning outcomes.

One thing that Ruth Clark did bring up that I think is important is that "we [need to] cultivate a more refined approach to categorize the features of games that best match various instructional goals." I agree and have put such a hierarchy into chapter 8 of the book. That is where I identify types of games and which type is best for teaching which type of content. It's a start. If you have a chance, read Ruth's article. It is good to keep a balanced perspective when thinking about games for learning. They are not the answer to every instructional problem.

Thursday, May 10

My commencement address for the workforce learning class of 2012

I admit it. I love when people seek my opinion. That happened a lot in Denver, at ASTD 2012:

I am entering the field. What do I do to make a success of it?

Let’s pretend that somebody asked me to deliver a commencement speech in response to that question, preferably on a lush, ivy covered campus, near amiable watering holes.

Thank you for inviting me to share this wonderful occasion with the workforce learning graduates of 2012....

Let me begin by congratulating you on your career choice. I am sure you and your family are delighted—after all you could have chosen to go to law school. 

After years of clamoring for a seat at the table, C-levels are increasingly intrigued by what we can do for them. Pressure for growth, technology, and a competitive landscape create abundance and opportunity for workplace learning people. Every sector, from higher ed to pharma, is seeking candidates whose heads are screwed on right. What do I mean by right? I am talking about heads with an unrelenting focus on performance and results.

Everything I say then is from the vantage point of celebration. I think this is a bountiful time to be in our field. I think you can get in the door. That's not the primary challenge. What's difficult is to make the most of it once you are in place.

My advice to you as you commence this tasty career….

·       It’s not about how. It’s about why. Several years ago, I served on a committee to review submissions for awards at an international conference. We considered a four-day course for engineers soon to be tasked with serving as instructors. The course devoted itself to teaching them Instructional Design 101, with half of the first day spent writing letter-perfect, four-part objectives. And so on and so forth. My eyes glazed over. The engineers’ eyes would close entirely. Wrong stuff.

A more recent example came from online compliance training I was dragooned into taking. The topic was information security. Screen 3 listed the objectives. Only three of the eight had anything to do with my work and life. How would I endure the next 73 screens? Even animated pandas could not make this e-learning successful. Wrong stuff.

In our business, we begin with the end in mind. Heaven help us when those ends are wrong-headed.

·       It’s not about us. It’s about them. Sounds obvious, I know. But I can’t tell you how often I hear people say they want to put the program in the classroom because they themselves like to learn in the classroom. Or they are going to try out avatars because they are engaging. (Are they?)

One twenty-something told me that she intended to do coaching for supervisors and managers. I asked why. She said she thought she would be good at it and that coaching was a good way to help people. While eloquent about her preferences and capabilities, she never mentioned
evidence. Would coaching work in this case? Shouldn’t she review the literature on that matter? And what of her lack of experience as a supervisor and manager? The fact that she likes people is good but by no means sufficient.

It isn’t what you want to do. It’s what the work, worker and workplace demand. There’s the challenge and the opportunity.

·        It’s not any one thing. It’s many things, aligned, in systems. Forget shiny pennies. Mobile learning is an example of just such a penny. ASTD’s chief Tony Bingham loves it. I love it too. I’ve written about it. I see ample potential. But it is no slam dunk in and of itself. No single solution, not mobile or webinars or games or even gamification, is the answer. The value of each emerges within systems. Our goal is strategic benefit, such as making information available on demand, tracking performance, reminding of expectations, enabling tons of practice, or helping new customer service reps communicate with peers or coaches.

Take the job of retirement specialist. Consider the stress the topic provokes in customers. Think about how much there is to know to do this job, and then extend your vision to the attention that regulators pay to it. If you are tasked with developing and supporting these professionals, best not throw a single solution at it, no matter how nifty that solution is. Your program must involve intense and graduated lessons, lots of practice with diverse cases, coaching and feedback, assessments and self-assessment—and that’s the development part of it. Surely you would want to provide human and automated resources available on demand to deal with infrequent questions, lengthy procedures and updates.

Mobile? Games? Perhaps. Why not? What’s for sure is that there must be a concerted system. There’s the challenge and the opportunity.

·       The soft stuff is the hard stuff. A few weeks ago I visited Deloitte University with 75 learning leaders. Our focus was leader development. Eric Paul from Dell said to nods all around, "The soft stuff is the hard stuff."

And not just for leader development. The retirement specialist can’t just know about retirement, she must want to help. Same for the USPS. My postal deliverers know their job and then they do it with gusto. They stop back, wait a moment or two to get a signature, or brighten my day with a howdy. It’s knowing and doing and caring to exert effort. How do we influence that through training and development?

How will you systematize the development of minds AND hearts and bellies? There’s the challenge and the opportunity.

·         No matter how much you know today, success depends on your ability to learn continuously, forever. In the opening keynote at ASTD 2012, Jim Collins reminded us of the importance of humility.

Now, as you launch your career, it’s time to weigh the value of humility. If you are humble, you know that you do not know it all. Your humility opens you up to lessons, messages, ideas and surprises. You seek them.

Don’t just nod at me, graduates. What are you going to do to systematically assess and develop? How will you push yourself beyond your comfort zone? For starters, let me suggest that you join a local professional association, and an international too.
ASTD is a great choice, but not the only one. Consider ISPI and eLearning Guild. Find one I don’t know about.

Take advantage of the idea of a
personal learning network. Tour regularly in domains with which you are not familiar, where you will encounter approaches that are not old hat to you. I did it yesterday. This morning I contemplated all that went into the development and mobile support that enabled a British tree surgeon to save a tiny finch.

As you refresh your skills and perspectives, you will also inoculate yourself against burn out. There’s the challenge and the opportunity.

I think commencement addresses are supposed to conclude with an inspirational quote from someone like John Kennedy or Martin Luther King.  

Instead, I’ll turn to baseball. First, Pete Rose: “You owe it to yourself to be the best you can possible be—in baseball and in life.” Then there’s the speedy Lou Brock: “No one wants to hear about the labor pains, they just want to see the baby.” And finally, Yogi Berra, “I wish I had an answer to that because I'm tired of answering that question.” 

Actually, I’m glad I got to answer a question about advice for new grads-- and I hope my thoughts will also be useful for the old grads who stumble upon these words. That’s what I hope you will be in your career—useful. Just a word, and within it is both the challenge and the opportunity.

Allison Rossett blogs at allisonrossett.com. She taught at San Diego State University for more than three decades and now consults and speaks on matters relating to learning, performance and technology. You can reach her at arossett@cox.net and follow her on twitter: @arossett

Monday, May 7

Allison Rossett Guest Post: Evaluation—Words Into Action?

This is one of those topics that never goes away. It reigns supreme in just about every needs study for workplace learning professionals. We say we want to do more and know more. We are eager to check out more tools, and get a better handle on the situation. The topic—evaluation.
We speak fluent Kirkpatrick. When workplace learning and performance (WLP) professionals are asked about the four levels of evaluation, in the USA and beyond, they respond in unison: “Level 1 is reaction, 2 is knowledge; 3 is behavior in the workplace; and Level 4 is results.”
But knowing is not doing, not even close.
An ASTD benchmarking study looked at course evaluations by Kirkpatrick level. It turns out that while almost every course is examined for Level 1 and a third (a third?!?) are checked for Level 2, only 13 percent of courses are examined for Level 3, transfer behavior. Only about 3 percent of courses are held to questions about influence in the field—Level 4.
That data was collected five years ago.
Is it different today?
Technology has changed the shape of workplace learning and performance, shifting learning, information and support into the workplace, and enabling new ways of capturing and communicating data and meaning. ASTD’s own studies of practice, and others, show steady increases in the use of technology for learning and performance. Might this change the current landscape for metrics in learning and performance?
Jim Marshall and I set out to find out. These findings are preliminary. They scratch the surface. Only 110 people responded to our request for participation. We are eager to capture more views from diverse settings. We are eager to find out what you are doing.
Let me tease you with snippets our findings:
  • When we asked WHY our respondents gather data, most often they do it to determine participants’ satisfaction with their offerings. Sixty percent reported that they do this habitually. No surprise here.
  • We also measure to fulfill compliance obligations, reported as a habit by 48% of respondents.
  • Only 25 percent of respondents habitually assess to find out if the learning transfers to performance, and 11% have a habit of seeking data about strategic results. Chew on that.
  • No matter the keynotes or magazine covers devoted to integrating talent management with the learning enterprise, only 4% of respondents are investigating this matter.
Our curiosity extended to barriers to metrics.
  • Just over half of our respondents said they don’t because nobody asks for this data. Their customers are satisfied with participation numbers.
  • Another constraint is the pushback that comes when line managers and executives are asked to play an active part in answering questions about the influence of performance on the field.
These are interesting findings, I think. But we dare not consider them conclusive or actionable, not yet. The sample is too small. You don’t want to spend too long reflecting on findings generated from the practices and opinions of just over 100 colleagues. We need you to add heft to this work.
Our study focuses on why workforce learning people gather data today, how they hope to change and improve those practices, and what gets in their way. Please go to https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/learningmetrics to participate. Your responses are anonymous and very much appreciated. Participation will take only 10 minutes. One other thing—the questions should be interesting to you and will provide you with options for ways to think and talk about our work.
Again, thanks.

Sunday, May 6

Gamification Blog Book Tour, Week Four Stops and Week Two Recap

TODAY'S BLOG BOOK TOUR STOP:May 11: Zaid Ali Alsagoff Zaid Learn

And if you missed a couple of recent stops, check out Mike Qaissaunee's post Gamification of Learning and Instruction and Koreen Olbrish's The Shamification of Gamification . And Larry Hiner at drlarryhiner as well as Catherine Lombardozzi at her Gamification Whistle Stop.

The Gamification of Learning and Instruction blog book tour has been a lot of fun, with interesting comments and exciting dialogues and some in-person stops. Here are the stops for week four and a recap of week three.

Week Four:

May 7: Mike Qaissaunee Frequently Asked Q
May 8: Larry Hiner drlarryhiner
May 9: Catherine Lombardozzi Learning Journal
May 10: Brent Schlenker Elearning Development
May 11: Zaid Ali Alsagoff Zaid Learn

Recap of Week Three During the week, there was a review of the book published at Learning Solutions Magazine. You can read the review here. Enid Crystal of the New York Chapter of ASTD started off the week by summarizing my in-person visit to the joint NYU Higher Ed and eLearning SIG joint meeting. The meeting was a lot of fun. We started the evening by playing a game to get everyone familiar with the various elements of games such as challenge, roles and feedback. We then discussed various examples of gamification. You can read the posting here.

Next, the tour stopped by the Word of Mouth Blog, sponsored by Articulate. The tour stop was titled Using Gamification To Transform Your Learners from Angry Birds into Learning Ninjas. The post had to be moved from its originally scheduled date because of the long awaited release of Articulate's Storyline which was scheduled on the same day as the original blog tour stop on Word of Mouth. So we did a little switch. The posting is great with several clever examples of using game-elements to enhance instruction.

Cammy Bean at Learning Visions was the next stop. Cammy, as always, gave an insightful look at the subject of Gamification in her stop called Karl Kapp Book Tour: The Gamification of Learning and Instruction

We then skipped a stop. Hey, it happens.

And moved right to Friday which was an in-person tour stop date.  I stopped by the UL Eduneering event known as the Knowledge Summit and spoke about busting e-learning myths as we played a game called "Fact or Fishy". A link to my slides and resources from the presentation was posted on the UL Eduneering blog in a posting titled Busting Learning Myths: Fact or Fishy Here are some images from my in-person book signing.

If you are interested in the book, you can purchase a copy at the ASTD Book Store.

Tuesday, May 1

Introducing May Guest Blogger Allison Rossett

May’s blogger has been a steadfast friend and contributor to ASTD. Allison Rossett is knowledgeable about needs analysis, technology-based learning, persistence and engagement in a world with increasing amounts of technology-based independent learning.
Her official bio reads something like this: Dr. Allison Rossett, long-time Professor of Educational Technology at San Diego State University, is a consultant in learning and technology-based performance. A member of Training magazine’s HRD Hall of Fame, Allison serves on the Board for the Elearning Guild and Chief Learning Officer magazine. She was honored when ISPI selected her as a Member-for-Life and more recently when they bestowed the wonderful Thomas Gilbert Award on her. Allison served on the ASTD International Board and more recently received ASTD’s recognition for lifelong contributions to workplace learning and performance. Allison is the author or co-author of six books, several of them award-winners.
Recently, ASTD designated Allison a LEGEND, and she writes on her blog that she is still stunned by the label. Really? I’m stunned that it didn’t happen sooner because Allison absolutely knows a lot about a lot of complex issues. More important, people like to hear what she has to say. When I’ve needed help understanding something, finding resources for Learning Circuits, or bouncing around ideas, she’s one of the first people I email. Her responses are not only always insightful, they’re sharp and fun to read.
So, with ASTD International Conference & Expo this month, Justin and I wanted to invite a guest blogger who could cover a variety of topics. I instantly thought of Allison. Enjoy!