GMail can be so much more than just your online mailbox.
When I have talked about using game-based learning, I have always tried to help people understand that even very short games, what we'd refer to a 'casual games' - can carry the same impacts (while covering smaller slices of content) than big, huge games. Casual games are a huge segment of the game world - think World of Warcraft is impressive with several million subscribers? Try the casual sector with somewhere over 80 million players.
This article from IGDA does a good job of laying out the case for casual games for training for both implementers and developers. For those looking to implement tech-mediated game-based learning, the reasons look like this (heading + excerpt)
"Unless your organization had a large workforce in their early twenties, such as large commercial retailers, the coming shift in demographics made little short term sense. Sure, eventually your entire workforce will be video game savvy, but that tipping point is still a long way off. The reality today is that a significant portion of workers needing training are not video game literate. Moving to games modeled on triple-A console titles might not be the most effective way of reaching large groups in need of training."
Play time and structure
"When time is a scarce commodity, casual games are better suited to offering compelling experiences in short play sessions than the more time-commitment heavy console and PC games."
"The type of game experience that casual games provides is not compromised by small code footprints or browser based delivery. Games that try to be like a triple-A titles, on the other hand, may feel compromised if they are stripped down to network delivered size."
"With this new costing model, customers are aware that they must make tradeoffs. They are willing to take 2D graphics over 3D graphics. They can also live with less sophisticated AI models within the game. The scope of the game can be scaled down to a point where it focuses just on the training essentials."
The reasons for developers look like:
While I am heartened to see this article come along and recommend you reading it, I also see additional battles ahead. I mean, if the term "serious games' garners resistance - I can't wait to go forward with 'casual games.'
If you use this slide, STOP. Then go read Will's research. Then tell all your friends who use this slide to stop. And just to remind, also stop telling that story about the Chinese character for crisis being a combination of danger and opportunity - 'cause that one isn't true either.
"LANDSTUHL, Germany — Army Spc. Shawn Roberts must play video games. It’s doctor’s orders. Every week he goes to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center and plays games on the Nintendo Wii to help him recover from injuries sustained in a vehicle accident in Kuwait last April."
...Poor Mr Keen, now he can add the huge numbers of professional mapmakers who will lose their jobs with all these amateurs creating map-based content. Oh wait a minute, no he won't - because this could actually result in more jobs for cartographers. I really want Keen to explain how dynamics like the ones discussed below are bad in some way.
"In the process, they are reshaping the world of mapmaking and collectively creating a new kind of atlas that is likely to be both richer and messier than any other.They are also turning the Web into a medium where maps will play a more central role in how information is organized and found."
"I.B.M., at a conference in Washington today, is announcing that it will begin offering its employees in the United States specialized savings accounts for training and education. The “learning accounts” will be modeled on 401(k) retirement accounts, which began in the late 1970s. Workers will put up to $1,000 a year into the accounts, and I.B.M. will contribute 50 cents for every dollar put in by the employee. Under the I.B.M. plan, the employee decides how and when to spend the money, held in an interest-bearing account. When an employee leaves I.B.M., the individual takes the account."
How smart is IBM looking right now?
I have really been impressed with the latest updates Pageflakes has made in its Blizzard release. I have even been thinking about trying it out for a while (I'm currently a Netvibes user) but holy cow - talk about some user design issues!
IMHO (as a user), the purpose of a web-based aggregator/webtop is for me to be able to add content (by that I mean feeds - the ability to organize these feeds into pages is a secondary experience). So on Netvibes, it takes me 2-3 clicks to add a new feed and the main button is out on the front bar in a prominent location. Great, very useful.
Over on Pageflakes - I need first to somehow intuit that I need to click on the flake image.
That just screams "add a feed" doesn't it? Once on to the next menu, I need to again figure out that for me to add my own feed instead of selecting a pre-made flake, I need to click on the "browse flakes" button over on the far right (the first big flake button is on the far right - so I'm already getting tired of traversing the page). Then, for the first time, I get to see the "Add RSS Feed" button...yes that's still like same number of clicks as Netvibes but on Pageflakes, two of those clicks are ones that required me to actually consult the help menu to figure out. The help menu? I needed to consult the help menu to figure out how to add a feed? Come on guys!
So then because I wanted to switch for a while, I had exported my OPML file from Netvibes. I tell Pageflakes to import the file and instead of just sucking up all my feeds, I get this pop-up menu which requires me to click on every single feed in order to add it. How about this....if the feed is in my OPML files, just take it for granted that I want it imported OK?
That's when I quit. I still like Pageflakes and hope the best for them but judas do a little more design work on the user side OK?
First, if you haven't read Wikinomics, you should. Second, let's assume you have or maybe you haven't and you want a free taste; either way - head over to Socialtext and pick up your free copy of Chapter Nine: The Wiki Workplace.
After you finish reading that chapter, then head over to Wikinomics Wiki (powered by Socialtext). This is the home of the Wikinomics Playbook - aka the unpublished chapter of the book. It is being written collaboratively and I think the process and the rule set that they have in place there, can serve as models or starting points for corporate or institutional implementations of Wikis.
So got some time to kill, er I mean want to see some creative work in Flash-based games? Take a trip over to Kongregate. Yes, I enjoy The Last Stand but there is also The Fancy Pants Adventure. The point is that this site is one of those places that can really highlight the range of games that can be created using something that almost all learning/training departments already have on hand - Flash.
That being said -it should also highlight that want you probably don't have on hand is someone who understands Flash from a game creation standpoint. You don't need to pay even $5K for a great game engine and try to figure out how to turn a whole course into a game - you can look at courses and find moments when games would make sense and then turn a couple of young, eager Flash developers loose.