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A Spoon Full of Gamification Helps the Learning Go Down

“Gamification” has replaced terms such as “sustainability,” “getting a seat at the C-level table” and “ROI” as the hot trend in learning and development.  Just what is “gamification” and is it truly effective?  Or is it more of a passing fad?  Or worse, is it simply a gimmick?

In an effort to try to answer some of these questions for myself, I recently began reading The Gamification of Learning and Instruction: Game-based Methods and Strategies for Learning and Education by Karl Kapp.  I haven’t finished the book yet, so unfortunately I don’t have well-formed answers to my own questions.  (If you happen to have answers to some of the questions I’ve posed above, however, please post your thoughts in the comments section… the person with the most comments will earn one Train Like A Champion badge!)

One of the first examples of gamification offered by Mr. Kapp came from an idea to get more people to take the stairs in Sweden.  If you haven’t heard this story, take a quick peek at the video below.  The idea definitely seems to make taking the stairs more fun!


The world of training is all about changing behaviors.  The question I constantly ask myself is: how do I engage my learners and offer them experiences that help them want to learn and do things differently?  Thus my venture into the world of gamification.

Is gamifying the learning experience simply a gimmick?  And so what if it is?  After all, adding a spoon full of sugar does help the medicine go down.  And a sick child can’t get better without taking her medicine.

It’s gamification week on the Train Like A Champion blog.  On Wednesday, I’ll share some thoughts I have about how Bloom’s Taxonomy intersects with the world of learning games.  On Friday, I’ll share a case study of an attempt to “gamify” strategies to effectively work with older youth in the foster care system.

I’m sure you have some thoughts.  I’d love to read what you have to say about gamification (sound design? gimmick? passing fad?) in the comments section.

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