Last week I had the honor and privileged of being one of the keynote speakers at Elliott Masie’s Learning2015 Conference in Orlando, FL. The conference was a great flurry of activity and provided many wonderful chances to interact with great people and to discuss the concepts of games and gamification for learning.
The conference kicked off with Elliot talking about the state of learning and the innovative techniques and activities that are happening around elearning. Always the showman, Elliot started the conference with great fanfare and excitement.
One of the first keynote speakers at the event was Sal Khan of Khan Academy spoke about how he got started and his trajectory from “friendly cousin” helping family to learn to someone being referenced by Bill Gates to shaking up the foundation of modern (or ancient) educational systems. He talked about how even a learner who gets 95% on a traditional test she still misses five percent of the content and the class moves on rarely going back to pick up the missed 5%. If that missing of 5% occurs over time, even the best students who routinely get A’s will cumulatively end up missing a great deal of content.
Khan’s argument is for mastery and the use of data to determine how a student is doing and to provide personalized instruction to the learner. This points toward advancing students based on knowledge acquisition and “proving” acquisition of the necessary knowledge rather than advancement based on the gross and inaccurate measurement of a grade.
After Sal Khan spoke, the next speaker was Jennifer Golbeck who gave an excellent but rather scary presentation. She spoke about how big data in Facebook and other platforms has been used and is being used to predict our behavior and information about us sometimes before we even know it. As an example, she talked about how How Target Figured Out A Teen Girl Was Pregnant Before Her Father Did.
Jennifer and Elliot then talked about how the big data might be used from a learning perspective. Could systems predict what learning a person might need by where they click in a system, how they navigate from an internal web page to web page and then strategically provide learning nuggets and pieces needed before the employee even knows they need the training or learning intervention. Sounds like science fiction stuff but if Target can predict pregnancy based on buying habits and Facebook can predict if you are a “wealthy” consumer than why not? It is not as far off as we might believe.
After the keynotes I gave an interactive presentation on games and gamification for learning. We defined gamification, looked at the elements of games that contribute to the learning process and explored how best to implement gamification into an organization. My presentation was called “Gamification of Learning & Instruction: The Good, the Bad & the Ugly.”
Here is a description of my session.
The term “gamification” has roared into the collective consciousness of the learning and development field within the last few years, but what does it mean from strategic, tactical and individual learner perspectives? Can gamification really impact learner behaviors and attitudes? Can gamification drive performance and move beyond “sugar coating” boring content? Let’s explore the research, best practices and case studies pointing to the effective use of gamification, plus debrief a few doomed implementations.
– Where is the “learning” in gamification?
– What are the elements of good, effective gamification projects?
– How does gamification complement, augment or replace existing training initiatives?
Some of the resources I referenced in my session:
Gamification of Learning Lynda.com Course
-Chapter One: The Gamification of Learning and Instruction
-Three “Non-Traditional” Gamification Elements for Learning
-An Elusive Definition of “Gamification for Learning”
-10 Best Practices for Implementing Gamification
The next keynote I was able to attend was by Steve Wozniak who is the co-founder of Apple Computers. Steve and Elliot talked about the history of technology, how Steve created a computer in his garage and why he was so creative in his ideas–the Woz, wanted to build a computer because he enjoyed working with the equipment and loved the “beauty” of the technology.
He spoke of the convergence of technology and art and how he has always been curious about how technology impacts our lives. He is an optimist about technology and has a great history of rolling with the punches and exploring technology and creating interesting outcomes. He is the geek’s geek and did not disappoint in his reflections on the impact of technology on society and himself.
I was fortunate enough to briefly meet him after the keynote and get is autograph on his book called iWoz.
My focus then turned toward my keynote discussion with Elliot. He wanted to discuss gamification and the impact of gamification on learning professionals. However, before I could be on the big stage, I needed to have some “anti-shine” make up applied. I’ve been through this before at Lynda.com but this is the first time Disney make up artists tried to make me look good.
Elliot and I had a wide ranging talk about gamification. We discussed intrinsic vs. extrinsic motivation, the need for engaging learning and how to do gamification “right” and not mis-use resources or opportunities to use gamification. We talked about the need to apply proper design and how to craft both content and structural gamification to achieve the right learning outcomes.
We discussed how gamification is still in its infancy and how much more work is needed to be done from a research perspective to determine the best use of game elements to help achieve desired learning outcomes.
At one point, Richard Culatta from the US Department of Education came on stage and we answered questions about what game design makes effective learning. We discussed how it is not a simple task to create meaningful games but that once created, they can be powerful for learning.
One of the most interesting outcomes of the talk was the infographic/sketchnote drawing from an artist who expertly captured the key concepts of the gamification discussion.
It was a great chance to talk to many learning professionals about gamification and how to implement it intelligently.
Finally, we got to relax and headed to Epcot where I met up with Louise Biggie, his wife and some of his colleagues. Always a great time with Louise. We had dinner in “Italy.”
Then I met up with Andy Marris of Learning and Develompent Manager of MRA—The Management Association and we rode a couple of rides. Great way to end the conference.