How to Increase Learner Retention from Compliance Training… and Reduce Boredom


OSHA. HazComm. HIPAA. Hazmat. PPE. These acronyms don’t exactly arouse a feeling of fun, do they? No one wants to take compliance training, yet a huge percentage of corporate learning is centered around compliance. What gives?

As a L&D professional, it’s your job to make sure your organization can do the following:

  1. Comply with necessary standards.
  2. Help learners acquire compliance-related information they must know “cold.”
  3. Help learners find and locate relevant compliance information as needed.
  4. Make compliance training as engaging and effective as possible within a limited budget.


To accomplish these goals, we must think both about retention and engagement. Focusing too much on a fun, novel approach can lead to training that is not linked well to learning principles. Meanwhile, training that focuses just on teaching the necessary material can lead to learner boredom, burnout, and tune-out.

The best compliance training will connect these two extremes.

Increase Compliance Training Retention

1. Space out the learning and repeat concepts over time: Research shows that learning is seldom a one-time event. Use the learning principles of spaced repetition to provide both micro and macro spacings of your content. Make sure concepts are reinforced over time to aid in long-term memory acquisition.

2. Provide immediate, meaningful feedback: Most compliance training contains a posttest… and learners must reach a certain score to be marked as complete. We recommend also including a pretest, or some sort of Q&A in the solution design. During this pretest, provide immediate feedback and allow learners to retry questions they answered incorrectly. This way, they will embed the correct information in their long-term memories.

3. Use narrative story and scenarios to anchor the learning: Karl Kapp has an excellent blog post on how fantasy elements and story can aid in learning. By anchoring content to a story or fantasy element, it becomes more memorable and possibly even emotional.

4. Branch scenarios by job type: We wrote a similar blog post on this subject on the BLP Lessons on Learning blog, and it was there that we first shared our approach for branching scenarios in compliance training. By providing people with different job types a relevant experience, less of the content will be boring to them. They will also retain more of what they learn because the content is relevant.

Increasing Compliance Training Engagement

1. Use a serious game: Yes, research shows games are effective for learning. One of the reasons for this is the feeling of “fun” they create for players. For foundational knowledge topics like compliance, a game engine such as Knowledge Guru works well.  The game’s story, aesthetics, and mechanics are all created and you can focus on inputting your questions and answers into the game. The immersion and engagement of a serious game is a distinct advantage over merely using a gamification platform.

2. Gamify your content: Gamification has unique benefits as well. You can often add simple elements like points, badges, leaderboards, and levels to static eLearning content to create a motivating experience. Attaching external rewards to a gamification platform (or serious games) can also motivate learners to complete training they would otherwise find un-inspiring.

3. Include a test-out option: This was yet another feature of the Avoid the BBP’s gamified course we created for a Fortune 500 client. Senior employees had taken the same training year after year… and they would find the content boring no matter what format it was in. We built a test-out option in to allow so learners can remain in compliance but skip the course if they have the necessary knowledge.



The Corporate Learning Guide to Spaced Repetition and Feedback Loops (Free Download)

There are many causes for ineffective training, but one of L&D’s greatest enemies is forgetting. If learners fail to embed new knowledge into their long-term memory, they will be unable to apply it on the job. When training is treated as a one-time event, tangible results will be limited.

You know there’s a problem. But what can you do about it?

We’ve put together a free guide highlighting the research-based approaches of spaced repetition and immediate feedback. Research has repeatedly shown that using these techniques can increase retention of new knowledge and skills. By basing your own learning designs off of these principles or using a solution that already has the learning principles built in, you can greatly increase what your learners will remember.

What’s in a name?

Spaced repetition goes by several names in the L&D world. You might have heard this technique referred to as spaced learning and repetition, interval reinforcement, distributed practice, the spacing effect, or something else entirely. We have chosen to use the term “spaced repetition” for the purpose of this guide.

Who’s this guide for?

Any business professional looking for one of the following outcomes through a corporate learning program:

  • Less accidents
  • More sales
  • Better customer service
  • Faster new hire on-boarding
  • Fewer mistakes

What’s in the guide:

  • The five corporate learning content areas (accounting for 55% of total training) that benefit the most from spaced repetition approaches.
  • Five common learning solutions that fail to help learners retain knowledge.
  • The real story behind the forgetting curve, and what the latest research has to say about Herman Ebbinghaus’ theory.
  • An introduction to spaced repetition, including “micro spacings” and “macro spacings.”
  • The difference between feedback that helps learners remember and feedback that doesn’t.
  • A case study of an organization that used a spaced repetition solution and achieved tangible business results.


How Do Serious Games Work in a Large Enterprise?

How do serious games work in a large enterprise?

Organizations of all sizes are turning to game-based learning, serious games, and gamification to solve a range of learning and development challenges. For some, the challenge is one of engagement; learners are tired of traditional eLearning and programs are seeing diminishing returns. For others, it’s about retention; learners do not remember what they learned after completing training, therefore wasting its value.

Serious games can be a part of the solution to increasing engagement and retention. But the real issue here is finding a set of solutions that meet the unique needs of the organization. Focusing on those needs first before selecting a type of solution (such as serious games) will lead to optimum results.

Large enterprises need to…

  • …fight learner fatigue from existing eLearning programs. Large organizations are more likely to have been using eLearning for a longer period of time, increasing the effect learner burnout has on the program.
  • …select platforms that are scalable and modular. With large volumes of content and training going out in many different locations, a platform must be selected that can continuously grow with organizational needs.
  • …help learners efficiently master a large volume of foundational knowledge. The majority of corporate learning content involves Bloom’s verbs like identify, remember, understand, etc. Solutions should make the process of acquiring this knowledge painless and even motivating.
  • …allow an internal team to collaborate on the solution. Most L&D functions will have multiple “authors” developing training. An enterprise-ready solution is needed.
  • …measure the success of learning solutions through meaningful analytics. Are people learning what we need them to learn?

Take a Research-Based Approach

A growing body of research has been published supporting the use of games for learning. A number of studies show how games can outperform traditional forms of instruction, while other studies demonstrate the measurable increases in engagement and retention. If you or someone else still needs some convincing, have a look at some of our favorite sources:

  • eLearning Guild: Gamification, Games, and Learning- What Managers and Practicioners Need to Know. (Link)
  • Learnovate Centre: (Research Report) The Use of Serious Games in the Corporate Sector. (Link)
  • Karl Kapp: The Gamification of Learning Instruction (link) and The Gamification of Learning and Instruction Fieldbook (link)
  • Sharon Boller: (Yes, our president!) 4 Ways Serious Games Link to Learning (link)
  • Learning Solutions Magazine: Case study, The Gamification of Sales Force Training (link)

The Benefits of Serious Games

Serious games work by unifying the cognitive and affective domains. Most corporate learning is dominated by the cognitive domain, tapping into our capacity to think, plan, and ascertain. eLearning does an excellent job of exercising these cognitive skills… but they are not the sole driver of job performance. The affective domain, or emotions, of learners are usually left untapped by most learning solutions.

By giving players meaningful goals, narrative thread, and feedback, games can evoke strong emotions in players… and if the mechanics of the game are carefully linked to the cognitive processes learners must perform on the job, there is great potential for learning. Retention can increase significantly when emotions drive learners to master the game and acquire new knowledge.

Because of the many benefits, serious games are being used in a wide range of industries, as part of training for most corporate learning content areas. And while topics complex soft skills training and leadership might call for an immersive serious game, content areas such as foundational knowledge, compliance, product knowledge, etc can also benefit from a game-based solution. For knowledge that is more declarative, the mechanics of a serious game can be used to increase overall interest, engagement, motivation, and retention.

12 corporate learning content areas

 How to Get Started

Corporate learning stands to gain a great deal from serious games, specifically game elements and mechanics such as narrative, rules and feedback loops. L&D should include games (or other gamified solutions) in the mix when the goal is to improve knowledge transfer, change attitudes and behaviors, improve processes, or onboard a new hire.

And while our clients at Bottom-Line Performance often require a customized serious game to meet their needs, we’ve found that a game engine like Knowledge Guru is ideal for organizations who need to produce a large number of games on foundational topics. If you’re just beginning to pilot game-based solutions, consider requesting a demo of Knowledge Guru to see the enhanced features available in the Enterprise Edition.


Breaking Up With SCORM: It’s Not You, It’s Me

SCORM vs Experience API

Many organizations are ready for learners to stop clicking next to continue, but still need to track what formal training those learners have completed. They’re limited by the constraints of SCORM, so their L&D efforts start to look the same year after year.

These organizations know that a post-test score and completion certificate tell a small part of a learner’s story. They want to track more of what’s being learned… and take action based on the data.

In short, they just aren’t feeling the sparks anymore with SCORM. It’s time to break up, but how do they break the news?

The truth is, it’s really not SCORM’s fault that they need to move on. It’s the organizations that changed after all. They’re different people now! And by they, I mean we. The needs of all of us have changed in the workplace. It’s time for the training we complete to change, too.

What’s Wrong With SCORM?

Rather than rattle off the technical changes and benefits of the Experience API (we’ve done that in other posts over on the BLP website), let’s focus on the various needs and situations that would make an organization consider bagging SCORM.

SCORM can’t track activity completed in mobile apps: You’re mostly limited to a desktop computer, and you must have a continuous internet connection to track via SCORM. Organizations that are thinking about mobile learning are quickly discovering that the existing standard just won’t support them.

SCORM doesn’t take advantage of the granular data available in immersive solutions: You want to design a serious game and use it in your training…  and you want to take advantage of all the interactions learners will have in the game. There’s so much more to track even in a simple game (like Knowledge Guru) than just completion. Are learners earning badges? Scoring points? What sections are they completing? How many times are they returning to play? Basic data points like this are easier to track with the Experience API.

SCORM can’t help you make smart decisions: Because all you get is completion and post-test scores, it’s hard to make adjustments to an L&D program based on the results of a SCORM-conformant eLearning course. We end up repeating the same mistakes because we can’t collect the data that would justify a new approach.

The basic differences between SCORM and the Experience API are outlined here:


Tips for Breaking Up

If you’re used to tracking all of your eLearning with SCORM, it can be a pretty jarring thought to leave it behind or,  scandalously, leave data in a variety of decentralized places.

Here are a few tips for piloting a solution with Experience API… and starting the “break up” process:

Identify a learning challenge, and plan a pilot: What problem could you solve with a learning solution? What type of solution would you imagine is needed to solve the problem?

Pick a new tool: Find a technology solution that is Experience API-compliant. All the major eLearning authoring tools (Lectora, Captivate, Storyline) are Experience API-ready. ZebraZapps by Allen Interactions is also a good candidate. And yes, if you want to create a serious game, Knowledge Guru is Experience API compliant. All of these solutions are easy to set up with the Experience API.

Pick an LRS: WaxLRS by Saltbox and Watershed LRS by Rustici are two leaders in the market today. They both provide easy connectivity to the tool of your choice… and some impressive ways to visualize the data you generate.

Run a small pilot: Connect your tool of choice to the LRS and launch a small-scale solution to a limited number of learners. Spend enough time in the LRS you choose to set up some valuable data reports and see if you can narrow down the data that means something to you.

Tracking the learning with Knowledge Guru

Our eyes light up when a customer or potential customer asks us about the reporting capabilities of Knowledge Guru, because they’re pretty darn cool. You can see the success rate for every learning objective and question you create in the game… and you can also generate individualized reports for learners to see how they fared on the learning objective. Since all of the content in Knowledge Guru is carefully mapped to a learning objective, it’s easy to measure the real learning results of the solution.

And while the tracking dashboard is entirely self contained (you don’t need an LRS if you don’t want one), it plays very nice with LRS’s. See this tutorial for help connecting Knowledge Guru to an LRS.


Have a story about how you are beginning to break up with SCORM and move to new solutions? Let us know!

ASTD Techknowledge Post-Conference Resources

We had a terrific time talking about the power of games for learning at ASTD Techknowledge. Between Sharon’s “Lessons from the Trenches” presentation and our “Powerful Learning Games Presentation” that we co-presented, we had plenty of opportunity to discuss serious games with you. See the event slides below:

Lessons from the Trenches of Digital Game Design

Powerful Learning Games You Can Build In a Day

We also told you about a new guide by Sharon called 4 Ways Serious Games Link to Learning. Download that resource by clicking below.

4 Ways Serious Games Link to Learning

Lastly, we referenced a Game Design Document you can download as a sample for creating a Knowledge Guru game. Download that here.

Knowledge Guru Adds New Enterprise Edition and Racing Theme Pack


The Knowledge Guru team is kicking off 2014 with two exciting new additions to the Knowledge Guru product: an Enterprise edition and a Racing theme pack.

New Enterprise Edition

I like to say that Knowledge Guru is ideal for 50 learners, or 5,000+… and that statement has never been more true. With the release of our new Enterprise edition, we’ve added new features large organizations will love. You can…

Host your games with us on a dedicated VPS server: Your games get their own dedicated server space. You can now support thousands of players (or tens of thousands) with ease.

Create and remove your own game shells: The game administrator can easily create, edit, and delete individual games. Change details like the game’s title and URL in seconds.

Add and edit game authors: Have a team of instructional designers? With the Enterprise Edition, you can assign them log-in credentials for individual games. Sending (and re-sending) log-in information to your authors is easy, too.

Select your own theme pack at game creation: Choose between Fantasy, Business (male or female), Racing, or a custom theme we create for you. Each time you create a new game, you get to pick the theme.

Run reports for usage across all games: Quickly see how many players are using each game you’ve created… and the correct response percentage for questions across your games.

Contribute to our product development roadmap: We give our Enterprise customers the dedicated support and resources BLP is known for providing our custom eLearning clients. As an Enterprise customer, your unique needs and suggestions will play a big part in guiding future releases and upgrades to the game engine. We’ll give you the inside scoop on planned enhancements and work with you to make sure Knowledge Guru works in your organization.

See a sneak peek of the Enterprise edition below:

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And while our Enterprise edition has us excited enough… we didn’t stop there.

Racing Theme Pack

Knowledge Guru customers now have even more choices when it comes to designing games. Our new Racing theme pack is now available to all Knowledge Guru customers… and it brings a whole new look and feel to the Knowledge Guru experience. Instead of climbing mountains and delivering scrolls to become Gurus, your learners are striving to be Racing Champions. Correct responses earn points, spare tires, and sponsorships… and each topic has its own race track.

This theme pack is just a preview of the many new theme options coming in our Spring 2014 release. New theme packs are automatically made available to existing customers when they are released… so subscribers will only have more choices as the year continues!

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See it all Live at ASTD Techknowledge 2014

Knowledge Guru is a Silver Sponsor at ASTD Techknowledge… and we are launching our new Enterprise Edition and racing theme pack at the conference. There will be multiple opportunities to see us this week:

Knowledge Guru - ASTD Techknowledge

In the Expo: We’ll be showcasing our Knowledge Guru game engine in Booth 303 of the Expo. Visit us to win a copy of Karl Kapp’s new Gamification of Learning and Instruction Fieldbook. Learn more.

In a hands-on demo: I will partner with Sharon Boller to give Powerful Learning Games You Can Build in a Day on Thursday, January 23rd from 12:55 – 1:25 pm. Learn more.

In sessions: Sharon Boller will give Lessons from the Trenches of Digital Game Design on Wednesday, January 22nd from 1:15 – 2:15 pm. Learn more.

In Leanne Batchelder’s session: On the custom side of our business, Leanne Batchelder will deliver Gamify Online Safety Compliance Training: A Roche Case Study, on Thursday, January 23rd from 3:15 – 4:15 pm. Learn more.

Want to See More?

You can schedule a demo of Knowledge Guru.

The 12 Corporate Learning Content Areas… and Where Games Fit

Corporate Learning Content Areas

When it comes to game-based learning, 2014 is the year of theory moving into practice. An increasing number of organizations are planning initiatives to include games in their learning solutions. The research has been validated and plans are being set.

But if you’ve never designed a game before, or tried to include a game in your training, where do you begin?

The answer, of course, depends on the type of training you are developing. The 2013 ASTD State of the Industry report includes a wonderful table with the twelve most common content areas found in corporate training. Some of these content areas are rather broad, but they are a great starting point for visualizing the types of training we frequently develop. The content areas are shown below:

12 corporate learning content areas

The type of game you might create will vary widely for each content area. I’ve included a general suggestion or two for each content area below, but the list is not exhaustive! Use the suggestions as a starting point.

Managerial and Supervisory:

Soft-skills training often (but not always) works best in face-to-face situations. Why not use a role playing game to give learners situational practice? Rote Q&A, points, and badges will be of less value.

Mandatory and Compliance:

This is the sort of information we need to know, or our organization needs us to know. Since it often requires memorization, compliance training can be tedious. Consider a game that puts the content in a fun setting and employs some research-based learning principles to help people memorize the information faster.

Processes, Procedures, and Business Practices:

Processes and procedures are often foundational knowledge, just like compliance. Gamifying the process of basic memorization will work well here, but make sure you add context when possible. Even a game centered around Q&A can have context if you add highly relevant scenario questions.

Profession or Industry-Specific:
This topic is admittedly broad, so our suggestion for a game should really be “it depends.” Assuming the subject matter is applied, your game must be a realistic simulation of the work environment, or at least of the cognitive task being performed.
Sales training is often face to face because of the interpersonal element. Why not try a tabletop board game? If you need to train virtually, some vendors offer highly immersive digital games where players hone their negotiation and persuasion skills. These approaches can also be helpful, as long as they are not overly simplistic. Since you are designing a game for sales reps, why not make it competitive?
IT and Systems:
The subject is highly technical, and the information often must be memorized. Give learners a game that rewards them for being thorough and helps them reinforce their knowledge through the game’s mechanics.
New Employee Orientation:
New hire training is often basic and foundational. Elements like badges and leaderboards are helpful here because new employees can see how they stack up with others and even form some social connections.
Interpersonal Skills:
A tabletop board game is ideal for soft skills training… especially one that involves scenarios and active communication with other players.
Executive Development:
So many things go into executive development. Resource management and territory acquisition games are excellent for developing strategic thinking.
Customer Service:
A simple card game with customer scenarios can work well here. If the customer service environment is often rushed (such as for food service workers), consider adding a timed element to the game.
Basic Skills:
Basic skills are another type of training that often falls under “foundational knowledge.” Points, badges, and leaderboards are a good start, as you are trying to keep people motivated to learn what they need while knowing that the content itself is not so exciting.
Other (Quality, Product Knowledge):
People need to know it… and this type of training often involves either memorization or knowing where to locate the right information when needed. The game should either employ learning principles that help people memorize quickly (spaced learning, repetition, feedback), or reinforce where they should go to locate the information.

How FrieslandCampina Uses Knowledge Guru to Increase Engagement (Interview)

I’m convinced that Knowledge Guru customers are a highly creative bunch. Why? They found the game because they were looking to deliver training differently. They wanted a bold, new approach to corporate learning. It comes as no surprise that these same people find creative ways to implement Knowledge Guru in their organization, extending the value of the game beyond what’s included in the subscription.

28d8de279fe9a2a244ad27061a249a4cOne such individual is Mathias Vermeulen, an L&D professional at FrieslandCampina in Belgium. Mathias learned about Knowledge Guru when we launched the Game Creation Wizard at ASTD International, and he was an early adopter of the tool.

Before I share Mathias’ interview, I want to spare you the suspense and reveal one of the secrets to Mathias’ successful implementation of Guru: story outside the story.

We published a post last week about promoting a serious game to learners, where we revealed how ExactTarget used a multi-faceted internal marketing campaign to remind learners to play their Knowledge Guru game. Mathias is also reminding players to play, but with a low-tech approach that is high on creativity.

Each week, Mathias sends an email like this to players (translated from Dutch):

Every week, new players enter the Guru’s arena. This week’s top 3 remains the same, but Knori, Streefje and Katleen amongst others still have some levels to go. They can still beat the mysterious Royvalle. And where is the Sales Retail team, as the Out-of-home team takes the charge in this battle. Are they afraid? Who can beat them? Register now and play!




Mathias is seeing high levels of engagement from players by combining his creative approach to story (including the use of a “mystery player”) with the Knowledge Guru game engine. Learn more about how Mathias is using Knowledge Guru at FrieslandCampina in the interview below:

Who is the game for?

We currently have two Guru games, one Safety Guru (is being tested by a selected panel) and one Dairy Guru. The Safety Guru’s target group is everybody working in our production facility (appr. 250 employees). The Diary Guru has been rolled out in our Sales & Marketing office (appr. 40 employees), and in our production plant for appr. 100 employees.

How it is part of a learning solution? What other pieces are involved in the training?

Since we’re working in a dairy industry, knowledge of dairy and its nutritional values, treatments (UHT, AA, …) are very important. So with Dairy Guru, we try to get people more engaged concerning dairy, our basic product. We used to organize formal trainings on this matter, but retention of knowledge, engagement and motivation were rather poor. This game is a standalone learning solution, but it’s embedded  in our ‘Ambassadorship’ program we rolled out this year.

Safety Guru is built to get people more insights on safety procedures and is part of our e-learning on this topic. People will have to do the e-learning and one of the main modules is the Safety Guru. Reason here is that we listed more than 50 safety rules and instead of using plain text and images and bullet points, we are convinced that the Guru game will be more effective. Also with the tracking in the back end of which questions were answered wrong, we are able to work harder on these questions in future learning activities.

 What results do you hope to produce from Knowledge Guru? What do you want the learners to know or do after playing?

First of all, I want people to have fun learning about rather ‘boring’ topics. We’ve put a lot of effort in the past on these topics but until now we hadn’t found a good balance. We hope that the Guru can break through this barrier. I’m already convinced, and the people who played it also share that thought! For example, yesterday, our production manager tested Safety Guru and he is – let’s say – a traditional learner. But he came into my office and said he had a great time and he saw lots of added value in this approach.

And we hope that in the future, we will have less safety incidents and that people realize how important safety is for themselves and for their colleagues. Regarding the Dairy Guru, we hope that people will see that dairy has a lot of nutritional value and is a key element in our daily life and in our business.

What have been the keys to successful implementation for you? (I’m guessing the weekly emails are part of it)

The key is communication, because playing games and learning are for a lot of people two different things. So we still have to encourage people to try it out; we have to ‘fight’ against the disbelief and the objections. Patience is also needed, because you can’t really force people. Sometimes, It’s taking one step back, and then two steps forwards. The weekly emails make sure you create a buzz around the game, people wonder who player X or player Y is.

What advice would you give to others on creating their first Guru game?

Like any other learning solution, you have to think about what your objectives are. Then, you start creating and creating, before you test it. Testing is crucial, because you get more insights on what could go wrong and what learners need and don’t need. Think, create and test and then test again.

Do you have a story if a successful implementation of Knowledge Guru in your organization? Want to be featured? Get in touch.

5 Great Serious Games and Gamification Blogs to Follow


A while back we did a post listing 100 Great Game Based Learning and Gamification Resources. Since then we’ve done an occasional series called GBL Picks to try and curate information for you. Like we’ve mentioned before, we are out to educate the whole community as much as possible on using games for learning—from designing your own learning game to case studies on the efficacy of games.

So in line with that mission, we recommend these five great blogs about serious games and gamification (besides our own of course).

Gamification Co.

We’ll start with the blog that will keep you in the know. Gamification Co. obviously focuses on gamification, and doesn’t include much on game based learning. But one of the best things about Gamification Co. is that on top of the usual “5 tips for doing X” type of posts, they often have really relevant news related posts. If a major company like eBay or Verizon tries gamification, they’ll have a post about it right away. If a hot new startup app includes game elements, they will let you know.

The other major reason we’re including this blog is their affiliation with GSummit, one of the biggest conferences for learning about gamification. They’ll frequently post speaker videos from the conference that are full of great information.

Kapp Notes

You’ve probably heard Karl Kapp mentioned on this site before, and his blog is a must-read in the gamification world. Karl partnered with BLP President Sharon Boller to write a book on learning game design. They have hosted learning game design workshop all over the US.

His credentials alone land him on this list of recommended blogs, but the content is great as well. Between tips from Karl himself and the resources he shares, you are bound to learn something about games.


Edutopia is a huge resource for the K-12 world. They have a blog dedicated exclusively to game-based learning. Despite the website’s overall focus on K-12, this blog frequently posts great content and research that applies to games in every environment, not just the classroom. A great example is this recent post by Matthew Farber. Overall, this is a great resource for instructors in all environments looking for research and advice on using games for learning.

Jordan Shapiro

Forbes contributor Jordan Shapiro has had quite a few articles get shared out in our GBL Picks or on the Knowledge Guru Twitter feed. He consistently writes great articles on edTech and game-based learning. He always brings an interesting perspective to the table by looking at the social implications of using games for learning on top of the usual commentary about their efficacy. A great example of his writing is this post titled Beyond Design Thinking In Education And Research.

He always has great facts and figures, but you can expect a much more philosophical approach from this blog. His posts will be particularly interesting to anyone with a real passion for games and using technology to teach.


The final blog on our list is more about games, and less about serious games. However, whenever a post comes up about serious games, you can expect it to be great. That’s why, just like Jordan Shapiro, Gamasutra posts have wound up in GBL Picks and on our Twitter feed numerous times. Here’s a great example of a Gamasutra post about serious games. Author Andrzej Marczewski breaks down a few different categories of serious games so that the overly broad term can have a little more meaning for instructors.

That’s our list of five great serious games and gamification blogs to follow. Make sure our blog is one you’re following, and have a look at Sharon Boller’s Learning Game Design series as a great starting point. She’ll break down every step that goes into designing a game for learning and teach you about what makes games effective teaching tools along the way.

Want to use games for learning? Knowledge Guru can help with product knowledge, sales training, processes and procedures, and more.

GBL Picks: Being an Advocate for Games, 7 Great Games, and Games for Social/Emotional Learning


The Knowledge Guru team is obviously very interested in the future of game based learning, and right now that future is bright. But not everyone is as informed about the industry. We are setting out to change that. We’re on a mission to educate the Instructional Design community and the decision makers in Training and Development about game based learning and its true potential.

As part of that mission we’re bringing you GBL picks, a series of curated resources on game based learning and gamification. We’ll explain why each resource is important and how the information in them can be used to shape opinions on game based learning. So now, without further ado, here are this week’s GBL picks:

Pick #1

5 Simple Things Educators Can Do To Promote GBL

This week’s GBL Picks has a few articles focused on educators in a school setting, but the ideas still translate perfectly into the corporate word. In this first article, the author highlights five ways to promote game-based learning. Games need advocates in the learning realm because there will always be people who think games are frivolous—and that’s where you come in. You should be out there joining forums, playing games, and being an advocate. A great suggestion in this list is to start small. If GBL is a completely new thing for your organization, then try running a small pilot program. This will get the ball rolling in the right direction for more creative and engaging learning.

Pick #2

7 Great Educational Apps And Games

This slideshow made it on the list mostly because of Step 1 in Sharon Boller’s Learning Game Design Series: Play and Evaluate Games. Any of you reading GBL Picks should be playing a lot of different games all the time. This is a list put together by Forbes contributing editor Jordan Shapiro who frequently writes about game based learning, so I think it’s a good place to start. Download a few of these games and gamified apps and poke around. See if you learn something about how you want to build your learning game.

Pick #3

Video Games and Social Emotional Learning

Our last article takes a very in-depth look at games as they relate to social and emotional learning. Video games are great at teaching players to healthily manage emotions, self-motivate, understand themselves, and (the part you’re probably most interested in) solve problems. Games like Portal 2 keep the mind sharp and alert through hours of unique, mind-bending puzzle solving. This game emphasizes the importance of navigating a new environment carefully and recognizing and utilizing the materials available in a game. I’m sure you can already see the potential for soft-skills training. Check out the article, it has a lot of research and cites some good sources—a good way to wrap up this weeks GBL Picks.