Saturday, May 16, 2015

Games and Trainings

Each time one downloads a new game app - the most likely reason is curiosity. Which is really, "Let me see what it is about." And in an area that we are interested in - that is the big pull. Do I care. If I do not, the existence of it is invisible.

Once you download, what sustains the interest for that immediate trial is the novelty - because it is different - either the genre or the treatment or the format or something like that. The second is the challenge - how easy or difficult is it. And the trick is for it to be exactly in the middle  - not too easy not too difficult. And from then on, it is all about sustaining interest - are we progressing while maintaining the level of interest and challenge and that the parents do not see it as a waste of time and so on so forth.

Until now, only two games have sustained our interest beyond 6 months. Take it Easy and Clash of Clans (now deleted because it was eating up too much time of parent and kid). Threes made it for a few weeks but the challenge got too difficult. Push Cars - we finished it all within 3 months and tried it for a second time. Dragon box  - a superlative app that makes maths as addictive as Clash of Clans. Morris Lessmore was a hit for a briefish while.

A bunch of programming games were downloaded on the premise of it being very exciting (parent) - but they were dismissed by the customer (kid). And so were many other games similar to CoC. Racing games were too fast. Word games too complex (for them). Some too slow. Some too clunky and so on an so forth.

Cut to training.

What makes a good learning experience? One is novelty - of the learning goal and method regardless of the topic. If instead of a person standing in front of you, you see a game board or a set of things or something different - how would that make you feel? The caveat - novelty for the sake of novelty is passe - the audience has to care about the topic at hand - and if that is not happening then one needs to know why and how to create that interest and so on (and perhaps eat humble pie that the audience does not care). (The easiest thing is to do what the audience cares about.) So, the novelty has to be established to take you forward to whatever the learners have come to learn. (I am looking for a strategy game - any new thing in a racing game won't attract me, but a new flavor of a strategy game will.)

The second is usually, "show me something new" and not new for sake of it, but new in a way that adds value to me. That is insight. Even if it is plain old presentation skills, give me insight, that  I can use. Clearly, a whats in it for me question. It doesn't matter which one you establish first - but both these need to be established as part of the experience. (Learning maths by stealth as an example)

Third, within the learning experience, stretch me. Make me think. Make me do stuff. Make me discuss, argue, experience. (all the above games fall in that category)

Fourth - have a bit of competition. Not too much, but just a bit. And make the competition on teamwork or collaboration or a skill that they have newly learnt. Just that make it as a group rather than individual. (Ditto)

All this will not work if the learner in question does not have a strong 'why am I learning this'. (like those programming games).

Developing thought!!

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