Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Blog Book Tour: Karl Kapp's "Gamification of Learning and Instruction"

Blog book tour stop 3: I was lucky enough to get my hands on an advance copy of Karl Kapp’s new book, “The Gamification of Learning and Instruction” (Pfeiffer) (also see the book's Facebook Pagejust in time for a long plane ride. What a delight! In an age when there’s so much confusion about this in the field, Kapp offers a timely, common-sense view of realities and possibilities.  Among my own frustrations are those in L&D (and, ahem, marketing) who are swept away on tides of badges and points without really understanding the instrinsic motivation and factors critical to successful, meaningful gamification.  (More about that? Take a look at the incredibly popular new game Draw Something, in which the only "rule" is an implicit one and successful play requires collaboration, not competition. Fifty million downloads within 50 days of release. And there isn’t even a winner, ever. )

Kapp pitches the book at just the right level, making material relevant for more experienced gamers as well as for those to whom all this would be rather new.  Several chapters offer basics about game elements and play, while others offer reviews of theory and research regarding games for learning, player types and patterns, and snapshots of ways games can support workplace performance of particular types of tasks. Chapters open with  questions, which provides a nice advance organizer for the information to come.

The author has called in some big guns in terms of expertise, with Alicia Sanchez providing a chapter-length case study from Defense Acquisition University, and a chapter on virtual reality games from expert Koreen Olbrish.   I love that Chapter 11 is written by high school senior Nathan Kapp, the author’s son, who  brings a particularly relevant perspective as  he “has been playing video games his whole life."

This is an excellent resource for those seeking to make sense of the gamification craze and apply gamification principles to create better learning experiences. 

Friday, April 06, 2012

How Can We Know What We Don't Know?

Last month's "Nuts and Bolts" column "Buy or Build? and hte decisionmaking folwchart included there, sparked an interesting comment from a reader: " Sometimes organizations go to great trouble and expense to build (often inferior) eLearning in-house becasue they don't really know what their other options are." I explore this further in this month's column:   How Can We Know What We Don't Know?