Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Gamification of Learning and Instruction

Karl Kapp’s new book “The Gamification of Learning and Instruction” launched this week – I was able to preview the book. It’s available on the ASTDBook store and Amazon. Make sure to use your Chapter Code when ordering the book to support your local ASTD Chapter - the Houston ASTD Code is CH7032.

From the book - The engagement achieved through games means that gamification is a concept that needs to be a part of every learning professional's tool box. Games provide meaning and context to learners, they provide a set of boundaries within a "safe" environment to explore, think and "try things out".

The four themes in the book are:

1. Describe and define the concept of gamification, dissect games to determine the elements that provide the most impact for the players and why these elements are critical to the success of the game.

2. Research and theoretical basis for the use of games and game-based thinking.

3. Matching game results with game design.

4. Actual design and development of the gamification of learning and instruction.

Full disclosure - I'm still working my way through the book.  What I’m appreciating through the book is the depth of the material, examples, and key takeways. I came into the book with my own ideas about gamification and what it means.  I’m getting a clear picture of the true power of game-based thinking including engagement, storytelling, visualization of characters and problem solving.  We’ve been using these elements in learning for a long time.  I don’t think we’ve considered them gamification.  One example given is “The Binary Game”  from Cisco (  This is a arcade game.  The idea is to teach people the basis of binary numbers.  The player leans the concepts while playing.  The patterns and strategies in game provide the ability to think in binary.  I think this book will help anyone who wants to understand how to bring “gamification” into their toolbox –finding methods to improve learning, retention and application of knowledge.  I’ll circle back with more thoughts once I complete the book!
Karl presented to the Houston ASTD chapter yesterday on this topic - his slides can be found at