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

Monday, April 23, 2012

Attending the ASTD International Conference? There's an app for that!

If you are attending the ASTD International Conference in Denver May 6-9, download and start populating the ASTD Events app - Android or iOS (iPhone/iPAD) available.  You don't have to carry around a paper schedule! Only drawback I see is I loaded the app on both my iPhone and iPAD and it looks like they don't sync up. 

Features include:
  •  Native universal app: Great for iPAD and no wifi connection required to access the conference program, visual schedule or animated maps.
  • Now View: Stay informed about hot issues, program changes, upcoming sessions, Twitter feeds and organizer messages. 
  • Contact Sharing: Easily share your digital business card information via QR or Bump technology.
  • Programs: Browse the entire event program to build your personal schedule, take notes, share with integrated social media and more. 
  • Session materials: Access session handouts and slides. Take notes and email them as part of your trip report for reference.
  • Exhibitors and Sponsors: Browse or search exhibitors and easily find their location on the expo floor.
Check it out: 

YouTube Video:

Harnessing the Power of Mobile in Education and Training Today

May 8, 2012

10:30AM to 11:30AM Pacific Time

Judy Brown
Mobile Learning Analyst, mLearnopedia

There is a lot of talk about mobile in our field today, and even more questions: What really is mLearning? Why is mLearning important? Who is developing and deploying mLearning, and what is working? How do I get started with mLearning? Judy Brown — a learning expert who believed in the potential of mLearning long before it was really possible — addresses common questions about mLearning and to explore opportunities for mLearning moving forward.

Register Now -