Games Based Learning
12 May 2013
This blog comes from DPG Community member Angela Van Driel.
Angela is on the Certificate in Learning & Development Practice
and shares how she has used games to change the way she designs and
delivers content. Here's her story:
When I joined my company, it seemed
like the more information that we could cram on a slide the better.
One part of a course had over 70 slides (for just 1 part of a day
course, which was part of a week induction). When I was a delegate
on the course, I would go back to the hotel of an evening and sit
and wonder how the heck I was going to fit all the information in
my head, ready for my test the following day.
I did learn the information, in a parrot fashion, where I could
recite it to you, but if you asked me to explain what it meant, I
didn't have the faintest idea. So I decided to do something about
it. I asked if I could be tasked in changing the course, not taking
anything out but just "changing" the way we did it.
Needless to say, some were a little cautious at first but I
decided to go ahead anyway. I took the course apart, looked at what
the reps needed to know in order to do their job, then how I was
going to get that information across to them. I looked at all the
powerpoint slides, the self learn that they completed a week before
their induction course (more powerpoint slides) and totally
revamped each session. I also designed workbooks that sit alongside
the self learn, so the reps have something that they can refer back
to when needed.
As for the power points? The one session that had over 70 slides
now has 7!
Because of the way I now deliver the
There are no more daily tests! I now have one test at the end of
the week. The rest of my knowledge checking is done through
Here are a few:
I have designed and made 2
"thomopoly" games. One of them is designed for the first two
days of training, as this concentrates on just two areas. The
second is designed for the next two days of training and has group
games and chance questions, which could be about anything they have
learnt so far. I have included parts of the board where they "swap"
with another team or even go back to the beginning. As you can
imagine, it gets pretty intense and is great fun. It can be used
for as little as two people or as many as you need, as you can then
have teams. There are two ways to play; either rolling the dice and
moving that amount of spaces, or pressing the bell and each card is
awarded an amount depending on the difficulty of the question.
Everyone gets involved, as if you answered last time, then
it must be another member of the team next, and groups can steal,
if the team doesn't know the answer. The game was designed
from a template I found on the internet and after some bits of
photoshop you can see the results.
I took the template and gave it to my daughter, she works for
Max Spielmann and they put the image on to a photo board. The cards
I got from a template of the internet too and can change the
information to suit, or when the products up date. I laminated
them, cut them out and now have a full set of all different cards.
Both games cost about £50 in total to make which I think is a
really good buy.
I also use the "Al Morale" Game Show Plus software. This is a
"jeopardy" style game which the reps choose a category, then a quiz
value question. The higher the value, the harder the question. This
again is really easy to use; the team has an amount of time to
answer the question and gets the points. If not, you can throw it
open to the other teams. This too is great fun, as the arguments
that occur when someone gets it wrong or buzzes in too early.
Everyone has loved this too. It is also really easy to edit. I use
the demo version (as it is free) but once we decide to keep, we are
purchasing the license.
The next one is the catchphrase game,
where there is an image behind question boxes. The questions are
asked to each team and if they get the question correct, the can
have ago at guessing the image. This is a quick and easy quiz and
is easily updated and changed when needed. This is free from
bubble website and can be used in many ways.
My last exercise I designed
was a "Play your cards right", where when asking the value of an
item, the other teams had a choice to go "higher" or "lower" than
the previous team. The nearest gets to have a go at the cards. If
they get it to the end then they earn points for the team. My
husband knocked together the stand and I bought the cards for £5
My rooms before a course used to look blank, uninviting and a
little clinical. Now they look interesting and a fun learning
enviourment. The buzz coming from them during the course and at the
end of every night is fab, where before people were just worried
about what was going to be in the test the next day.
Taking away the tests and just having one was a gamble, so let
me share my results too. The first course that we ran using these
new methods resulted in the best scores we have ever achieved, with
extra questions in and harder answers. The reps after the course
have hit the ground running with the majority selling within their
first week, something that has never happened before. These people
are now continuing to grow and I have now planned in the following
"skill builder" courses, which will hopefully see them become even
Have you used games to help people learn?
What experiences can you share in the design of delivery
of a games based approach?
How are you being creative and reducing the number of
Power Point slides?
Angela Van Driel is currently undertaking the
Certificate in Learning & Development Practice with DPG.
You can contact Angela to find out moe about the approaches she is
using via her LinkedIn profile here
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