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Play to Learn: Everything You Need to Know About Designing Effective Learning Games
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About the Author
Sharon Boller is president and chief product officer of Bottom-Line Performance (BLP), a learning solutions firm she founded in 1995. Sharon has grown BLP from a single-woman sole proprietorship to a more than $3 million company with 30 team members. Under Sharon's direction, BLP created the award-winning Knowledge Guru platform, which enables users to author and distribute game-based learning solutions. This platform earned the coveted Brandon Hall Gold award for best innovation in gaming and technology in 2014. In addition, BLP has earned numerous other awards for custom game-based solutions, including Horizon Awards and LTEN Awards.
Sharon frequently speaks on game-based learning and learning design topics at the local and international level for eLearning Guild, ATD, Chief Learning Officer, Training magazine, and other industry groups. She is the author of numerous articles on game-based learning, learning science, and instructional design, as well as a book featuring team-building simulations and games, Team Training. Her latest book, co-authored with Karl Kapp, is Play to Learn: Everything You Need to Know About Designing Effective Learning Games (ATD Press).
Karl Kapp is a professor of instructional technology at Bloomsburg University in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, where he teaches subjects related to games, gamification, and learning technologies. He is the director of Bloomsburg's Institute for Interactive Technologies, which works with organizations to create interactive instruction, including games, gamification solutions, and simulations. He is also the founder of The Wisdom Learning Group, where he consults internationally with companies, helping them devise strategies around technology-based learning, game-based learning, gamification, instructional design, and learning technology strategy development. He is also co-founder of the educational games company 2K Learning.
Karl is passionate about sharing his knowledge and teaching others. To that end, he has authored or co-authored a half a dozen books, including The Gamification of Learning and Instruction and The Gamification of Learning and Instruction Fieldbook. Karl's latest book, co-authored with Sharon Boller, is Play to Learn: Everything You Need to Know About Designing Effective Learning Games (ATD Press). He is a TEDx and international speaker on the subjects of games, gamification, and learning innovation. You can follow his widely read blog at http://karlkapp.com/kapp-notes/ or follow him on Twitter @kkapp.
Top customer reviews
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My suggestion is to read through the book once to get the full picture. Then put it aside. Sleep on it, Let your brain synthesize the information. Then start the book again. This time, do all the exercises and identify a small project where you would want to apply your magic to. Also, connect with others at the organization, create a game club if you don't have yet. Designing and developing learning games is not a one person job. This book will help you start but without doing it, you will not go far.
If you haven't attended their workshop yet, I would strongly recommend it.
I love game design, but I have seen so many horrible "slap some points into it" attempts at gamification that I'm cautious any time learning and games come together. This is NOT one of those shallow attempts at marrying games to learning. Rather than simply trying to cram a few game elements into a learning experience, this book actually walks you through linking your desired learning outcomes to game design from the get-go. In other words, you wind up with solid game-based learning solutions rather than another cheap Jeopardy knock-off.
The writing is easy to comprehend, even for those new to gaming or learning design. It's also chock full of handy templates and checklists that help in designing your own game-based learning.
You have provided an incredible product and service to the multitude of communities that have relied upon your expertise and knowledge in: elearning, serious games, sims, and gamification.
I pray you receive significant recognition and awards; and become exceptionally wealthy because of this milestone in the emerging field. This book could be the foundation for the field exploding, now that others can so easily understand the concepts and components, where the sum is greater than the parts.
Regardless of your background or previous experience, if this subject interests you at all, this is the book to get. I highly recommend!
L&D Manager and Gamification Enthusiast
I found the chapters on prototyping and playtesting particularly helpful. With tips for creating paper prototypes and step-by-step directions for playtesting a game, each chapter includes several illustrative examples. If you’re thinking about creating your first learning game or you’re an experienced designer looking for some new ideas, I would highly recommend it.