Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Happy Holidays from LearningWare

Happy holidays to all our customers, friends, family and trainers everywhere. This past year has been one of tremendous growth and excitement for LearningWare as we launched two new products, gave presentations in Orlando, DC, Minneapolis, San Diego, Chicago--to name a few, gained new partnerships, added fresh talent to our team, and made a lot of changes big and small to the look and feel of our website, newsletter, Linked In group, Facebook page and more.


It's also been a great year for training and development. As many companies have cut back in various departments, it is more critical than ever to make sure that employees are learning and retaining information. Now that the recession of last year is lifting, somewhat, we're seeing a renewed enthusiasm for the training departments and ongoing interest in making training more engaging, effective and fun.

It's with that goal in mind--making training more engaging, effective and fun--that we've been able to meet so many new customers this year, continue to meet the needs of current clients and renew old friendships. Thank you to each and every one of you for having the dedication to your learners to use game shows while educating. Thank you for your input and feedback--our customers have been tremendously valuable in determining our development paths. Thank you for your ongoing support and your business.

Most of all, thank you for being a part of our LearningWare family.

We've got a lot of exciting things coming up in the new year that are going to continue to revolutionize games and game shows in training--both in the classroom and online--so stay tuned.

Happy Holidays!

Your friends at LearningWare.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Webinar Experiences Survey: Full Results

The Webinar Experiences Survey Results
By: LearningWare, Inc.

November 12th, 2009, LearningWare sent out a survey to a large database of (mostly) trainers--asking them basic questions about their experiences within webinars. Some of the results we got were expected, others were unexpected in scope, while others completely surprised us.

Let’s take a look at some selected results:
It’s not surprising that webinars have replaced in-person meetings. Not only is webinar technology growing--and it will naturally gain new adopters--but it’s also an economical, efficient choice in an economy where budgets are tight and companies are becoming more globalized. This seems to support the reasons for using more webinars: attendees can be at their desks, saving money on travel, while bringing people together from around the world.
Respondents ranked the following issues (each issue ranked individually) on a scale from 1-3. A “1” meant that the issue was a MAJOR issue--where a “3” was not an issue at all. All of the items were at least minor issues--with little to no interaction, technical problems and boring presentations ranking as the most major issues.

But not knowing what attendees are doing--a “minor” issue--might be more critical than previously thought:
Here’s where results got interesting. While fewer people played computer games or visited social networking sites than expected, a whopping 80% checked their email during a webinar (not unexpected, but unexpectedly high), 65% worked on other projects and 67% muted the call to have other conversations. But perhaps most shocking: 51% left their desks and 35% went to the bathroom! So participants in a webinar were not even there.

The next statistic, then, is not surprising at all:
55% believe that webinar training is not as effective as classroom training. And boy, did this question ever get people talking. We included a section for elaboration, and here is what some survey takers said:

It may be more efficient and the cost savings may result in additional training taking place over he span of a given year, but there is something lost in the interaction between facilitator and participant. Gauging participant interest and retention, along with maintaining their attention, is extremely difficult.

If used the right way. Interaction and design are key. Without interaction, you lose participants. Designing a webinar so participants stay engaged is challenging, but necessary.

So what could make webinars better?
With a whopping 82% of people responding that more interaction would make a webinar better--the call to action is clear. But are people currently using the sparse interaction tools available to them?

Only 11% are using interactive tools in every webinar--with a whopping near-30% NEVER using interactive tools.

While we suspected that accountability and attention were lacking in webinars, we were surprised at the extent that our suspicions were correct. It’s clear that webinars are here to stay--as companies continue to globalize and do more on a smaller budget. It’s also clear that action needs to be taken to keep webinars engaging and make them as effective as a face-to-face meeting (all while people are sitting in front of one of the biggest sources of distraction: their computers).

For full survey results, visit www.learningware.com/WebinarSurveyResults.html.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Recent Webinar Survey Shows Attendees Not Paying Attention; Seek More Interaction

Some of the statistics from the recent Webinar Experience survey were expected, like 38% of respondents reporting that webinars have replaced in-person meetings. But other statistics shockingly outline webinars' faults. For instance, 67% of webinar attendees mute the conference call to have other conversations.

Minneapolis, MN (PRWEB) December 3, 2009 -- LearningWare Inc., a leader in classroom and elearning training solutions, recently conducted a very revealing Webinar Experiences Survey. The survey validated the trend of webinars continuing to replace in-person meetings, but also showed that attendees' minds, and bodies, may be elsewhere during said webinars.

The survey revealed that:

35% of attendees had gone to the bathroom during a webinar.
65% of attendees had worked on other projects during a webinar.
67% of attendees had muted the conference call to have other conversations.
81% of attendees regularly check their email during webinars.

More and more companies are replacing traditional face-to-face meetings with virtual, online webinars. According to the survey, a third of those in-person meetings and trainings have been replaced by webinars, while (according to Frost and Sullivan) webinars have increased by 20% across the board since 2008. It makes sense—it saves time and money in a world where offices are more likely to be decentralized and travel budgets have been cut.

But one survey respondent states,
“(Webinars) may be more efficient … but there is something lost in the lack of interaction between facilitator and participant. Gauging participant interest and retention, along with maintaining their attention, is extremely difficult.”

With a lack of face-to-face connection, it becomes increasingly difficult for the webinar leader to know what’s going on in the minds of one’s attendees on the other side of the webinar screen. This lack of accountability, combined with attendees sitting in front of one of the biggest sources of distraction (their computer), makes it no wonder attendees’ attention is elsewhere and webinars are, therefore, less effective.

When asked if webinars could be as effective as in-person training, one of the respondents stated,
“If used the right way. (But) Interaction and design are key. Without interaction, you lose participants. Designing a webinar so participants stay engaged is challenging, but necessary.”

Approximately 80% of respondents said more interaction is the number one solution to increase effectiveness, but only 12% of people surveyed regularly use some kind of interaction tool (i.e. polling, whiteboards, etc.) in their current webinars.

While webinars are a cost-effective meeting and training solution, there is definitely room for improvement. Adding interaction that keeps participants accountable for their attention could be the first step to revolutionizing a medium that is currently flawed, but clearly here to stay.

To see the full results of the Webinar Experiences survey, go here.

About LearningWare:

Since 1995, LearningWare has been producing software templates that have been proven to increase content comprehension and retention. AllPlay Web is their newest product—designed to make webinars more engaging and effective by using interactive competition. Their flagship product, Gameshow Pro, is in use in over 40,000 corporate and educational classrooms, and has been receiving rave reviews.


Thursday, December 3, 2009

News and changes and gurus and more!

There have been a *lot* of changes and additions and all-around great things happening at LearningWare lately. To keep you apprised, here's a quick summary:

We got a new website!

We started a Game Show Gurus group on Linked In! (Feel free to join!)

We relaunched our monthly Game Show Espresso Newsletter with a totally new design--including more articles, information, an ask-the-experts section and more!

And a reminder: We're also on Facebook and Twitter, so friend and follow to get the latest info on LearningWare products, news, game show tips, and more!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Webinars for the Hard-of-Hearing

With any new technology, there are always growing pains--additions need to be made, functionality needs to be modified, etc.

When conducting a recent survey on Webinar Experiences, we were left with this comment after the question, "Are webinars as effective as classroom training?":

"It can be for many people. However as a hard of hearing person, I have difficulty hearing what the other attendees are saying or asking. I depend a lot on reading lips and I can't see their lips. I am sure it is the same for other hard of hearing or deaf people. Not often is it captioned."

With webinars often relying solely on the prowess of the presenter, and then incorporating PowerPoint presentations as per usual, it's easy to see how information can be lost in the telling. It's a consideration that, I'm guessing, not many presenters take into account when scheduling their webinars. Certainly, the comment raised a point in my mind that I had not previously considered.

Webinar interaction is often limited to presenters asking questions and soliciting responses from attendees. It can be easy, then, for a minimally-interactive webinar to become a non-interactive webinar for the hard-of-hearing or deaf community.

Perhaps as the technology evolves and webinars become more and more popular, captioning will become ubiquitous and interaction will take place on-screen instead of only verbally (AllPlay Web performs this function--using competition to engage attendees without relying on verbal-only interaction). It will be interesting to see how accommodations for attendees with varying abilities will evolve.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Professors Use Game Shows to Review for Exams

[Reprinted from The Chronicle of Higher Education]

Professors Use Game-Show Format to Help Students Review for Exams

Salt Lake City — When it’s time to review for an exam in her entry-level computer-science course at Montgomery County Community College, Patricia Rahmlow divides the students into teams, hands each team an electronic buzzer, and cues the Jeopardy theme music.

Thanks to a software program that can display a series of questions in a style similar to the popular TV trivia game show, she turns review sessions into competitions. Ms. Rahmlow, an assistant professor of business and computer science, and two of her colleagues at the college described their experiences with classroom games in a session at the League for Innovation in the Community College’s annual technology conference this week.

She said that students now look forward to what used to be a drag. Before she started using the software, she said, “I had never had students ask me, When are we going to do the review?”

For the presentation, she divided session participants into teams and demonstrated the game, using trivia questions on the history of computing, U.S. presidents, and other topics. The buzzers were simple, with just one button. Their wireless signals told the software which team buzzed first.

One drawback of the technology quickly became clear: Winning sometimes just depends on who can click the buzzer fastest. One team always seemed to buzz in first to keep others from getting a chance to answer. Still, everyone in the room seemed attentive and eager to win, even though there were no prizes. (For her courses, Ms. Rahmlow gives the winning team ten points extra credit on the test.)

The demonstration used a system called Gameshow Prep. [A K-20 version of the popular Gameshow Pro.] But presenters also pointed out alternatives, including some that are free online.

Several attendees said they were already using game-show-like approaches in their own courses. One of them was Bill Yarrow, an English professor at Joliet Junior College, who said he had given the midterm for his Shakespeare class in the form of a Jeopardy game in which each student answered individually rather than as part of a team. He used a feature built into the Angel course-management system that his college has installed on campus. —Jeffrey R. Young

Friday, October 23, 2009

Case Study: Game Shows in Retail Training

The following is an interview with Karen Carlson, a former trainer for the Best Buy corporation, and now an independent Training Designer and Facilitator.

Tell me a little bit about your background.
I worked for Best Buy for nearly 19 years, half in the retail stores and half at corporate. My training background mainly lies in developing and delivering engaging training sessions for retail leadership. Topics ranged from company culture to diversity to leadership development to facilitation skills and more.

Why game shows?
Why not game shows?!?

What caused or inspired you to bring game shows into the training space?
I love to play games myself and always enjoy a little friendly competition. I found game shows and other interactive forums to be a great way to measure if learning is truly taking place without having to do former exams. What would you rather do: take a “final exam” or play a game?!?

Tell me a little bit about your trainees and training group?
Most of my trainees were new or existing leaders within Best Buy who were about to open a new store. Most participant were under age 30, likely even under age 25. My training groups ranged in size from 30 – 150 people from across the United States.

There's a new push to "engage the Millennial generation" entering the workforce, how do you feel, or how have you seen, game shows work with the Millennial audience?
Game shows are perfect for the Millennial audience. They have grown up on games, likely computer games. They are highly competitive and full of energy. The game shows play right into this. They are a way to learn while having fun. Getting a question right or winning the game also gives their self esteem a little boost.

What was the game show experience like in your training classroom?
I created the questions (usually using the Jeopardy-style [Categories] game) based on the content of the 4-day training program. I facilitated the game as a closing activity on the last day of class, again to see what learning had taken place AND to end the event on a high-energy note. With large groups, I had the teams rotate so each person would at least get a chance at answering a question. If I saw that certain questions were consistently missed, my coworkers and I would reexamine the content to see if we weren’t landing that message appropriately or if the question simply wasn’t well written. The game show was always a very popular part of the program.

Getting into Gameshow Pro, specifically, what games did you use, and what are some examples of how they were used?
I usually used Categories [Jeopardy!-style] as it seemed to fit my larger group size better. We also used this in some of our department meetings to spice them up a bit, especially if a new initiative was rolling out.

What impact do you think game shows have on trainees/training?
It showed the trainees that training does not (and should not) simply be a download of information from one person to the others AND that training is fun! If you let the trainees know ahead of time that there will be some sort of a quiz, they are also likely to pay closer attention and take better notes. Since my audience would have to go to their home market and train their new employees, it also provided good examples of how they could bring life and interactivity to their training sessions – even if they did not have access to Gameshow Pro.

What advice would you give to other trainers either using game shows, or considering using game shows in training?
Keep doing it, or start doing it if you aren’t already! Everyone wants to learn, but no one wants to be bored by learning. Collaborating and interacting are important and necessary skills in today’s world. Game shows are an arena where these skills can be practiced in a fun, safe, yet somewhat competitive environment.

Anything else you'd like to share?
Anyone for a game of Scrabble?!?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Game Show Effect

The Game Show Effect

The remarkable way that game shows transform an event.

I, personally, am a little surprised every time a client is blown away by the effect of a game show on their event. Not that game shows aren’t amazing—it’s just that I’ve seen maybe hundreds of game shows at live events, and they’re consistently, predictably amazing. I suppose I’m a bit used to it.

Our client came up to me at the last show and said with awe and wonder,
“I cannot believe what a difference the game show made—it was like every time we introduced a round the energy in the room just shifted. All of a sudden they were all up and awake and looking at the screen and their keypads and whispering….”

I smiled and nodded knowingly and in agreement—because that kind of experience is what happens every single time we bring a game show into a live event.

The Barnyard Bowl: An AllPlay Case Study.

The aforementioned comment was made by an executive at Kemps—a nation-wide producer of all kinds of dairy products. Live Spark—our sister company—had designed the one-day event to have a game show running throughout the day.

They took our AllPlay software, and customized the screens, logos, timers, etc., to give it a totally unique and custom look for Kemps—but the base premise of the software remained the same: everyone in the audience had their own keypad to answer the questions in the game show.

They were broken into teams—It’s Local, It’s Fresh and It’s the Cows (put together, all three teams form the Kemps slogan)—by the colors on their randomly-distributed keypads.

When a question and answer options were displayed on the screen, everyone input their answer on their keypads, and the percentage of correct answers was then added to the team score. This was displayed as an empty glass filling with one of Kemps’ major products: milk.

Each team had from the time the custom cow-timer at the bottom of screen started until she reached the barn to lock in their answers.

We played 4 complete rounds of three questions each. The first two rounds, the percentage of people that answered a question correctly on the team was added to the team score.
In round 3, points doubled.
In round 4, they tripled—so that even a team who was behind had a chance to catch up till the very end.

The game show ran throughout the day, and incorporated questions from the previous presentations.

The effect of the Barnyard Bowl was immediately and consistently visible. Each time a round was announced, the audience would sit up in their chairs; bodies leaning forward, reaching for their keypads and murmuring amongst themselves. It was like pressing a “refresh” button for the room, recharging everyone’s batteries after occasionally-dry presentations. After a question, the right answer would be revealed—inspiring cheers and discussion. Then, when the scoreboard came up and the glasses started to “fill” with the percentage of right answers, teams would cheer. Then one glass would stop and the others would go on, causing the cheers to get louder. Then the other glass would stop, revealing the top-scoring team for that question, and the room would erupt in cheering and clapping.

Rounds were played sometimes before and sometimes after lunch and/or breaks, reinforcing information and preparing the audience for content to come. But the greatest thing was walking out to a break after playing a round and hearing the halls a-buzz with game show talk. Audience members were talking about their teams, the questions they had just answered, and the content within the game show (and related presentation content). This means that the presentation material wasn’t just left in the room and consequently forgotten—in addition to energizing the audience and being a heck of a lot of fun, the game show was also reinforcing information and improving content retention.

At the end of the day, after the last round and as people were leaving, comments were flowing:

“That was a lot of fun!”
“I loved the game show!”
“I hope we do that next year, too.”
“We should do that in our normal meetings.”
“I’m glad we had a game!”

The thing is--we hear this each and *every* time we use a game show in a large event like this--whether it's a simple Jeopardy!-style Gameshow Pro game, or a customized AllPlay game.

The client came up to me after the event,
“The game show was a huge hit!”

And that speaks for itself.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Custom Game Boards: FireApps

Gameshow Pro already comes with 4 or 5 eye-popping game board skins, but every now and then we get a request for a customized design. We are more than happy to customize a customer's Gameshow Pro software to reflect a theme, their company design, a special event, or even their personal style.

The following screen snaps are examples of a custom skin that we made for FireApps including the game board, team display screen and question display screen:

You can find out more about game skin customization under LearningWare Creative Services, or by contacting info@learningware.com.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

"I'll Take Learning for 500" Book Review

Review for "I'll Take Learning for 500: Using Game Shows to Engage, Motivate and Train"

Reprinted from Training Media Review

I'll Take Learning for 500, by Dan Yaman and Missy Covington, Book, 2006, Pfeiffer & Company.
Support: CD-ROM. Review by Travis Russ Rating: 3 and a half stars

Field trainers and instructional designers are always looking for innovative techniques for engaging their learners and motivating them to retain training content. Game shows have proven to be particularly useful at accomplishing training objectives.

For years, classroom trainers have used game shows like Jeopardy, Family Feud, and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire to review course content. These nontraditional learning methods have proved generally effective at helping participants retain the material as well as fostering exciting and motivating learning climates. Until now, few books have been available to help trainers use games shows to their fullest potential.

Fortunately, Dan Yaman and Missy Covington have written I’ll Take Learning for 500: Using Game Shows to Engage, Motivate, and Train to fill that gap. The book is a reference guide for trainers and designers that allows the reader to quickly locate information and tips about creating and hosting classroom game shows.

The text is divided into four sections. The first, “Game Shows and Learning,” includes frequently asked questions, a list of critical differences between classroom game shows and TV game shows, a description of brain-based theory that underlies game shows, and the busting of popular myths about game shows.

The next section, “Designing a Game Show for Learning,” includes the nuts and bolts of design, including brief descriptions of popular shows, an explanation of how to select and customize a TV game show for the training classroom, and how to establish rules for the game.

The third section, “Writing Effective Questions,” highlights the types of questions that can be asked during a game show, tips for writing effective (and fair) questions, and strategies for writing questions with multimedia clues. The last section, “Conducting a Game Show,” gives valuable tips for being the host of a classroom game show and maximizing participant learning, logistical details regarding game show setup, game show software and hardware peripherals, and criteria to evaluate success of the game and your performance as the host.

The book also contains a “Resources” section chock full of helpful books and sources for software, hardware, and professionally produced materials for game shows. Finally, one of the most attractive features of this book—the biggest selling point that is also the most underplayed—is a CD that contains a demo of Gameshow Pro, software for creating professionally designed electronic question boards and scoreboards.

This book exhibits several positive characteristics in critical categories. First, it is generally quite effective at holding the reader’s interest. Game shows are a hot topic as trainers are frequently using them in the classroom and always looking for and better ways to leverage this learning methodology. Yet, few resources inform trainers how to use them appropriately and to their fullest advantage. The authors have made a concerted effort to close this gap.

The authors have written a readable text by minimizing technical jargon and writing in an accessible manner for a broad training audience. They are quite effective at dispensing advice that can be easily understood and used by the intended audience.

Second, the self-study value of I’ll Take Learning for 500 is quite high. The reader learns what the book promises to teach. It is generally quite successful at helping readers:
(1) correctly choose and design/modify a training game that will help their participants achieve the training objectives;
(2) integrate multimedia into the game show for superior creativity and innovation; and
(3) learn the ins-and-outs of playing a fun and entertaining game show host while also being an educational classroom trainer.

Third, the content of this book will likely be quite valuable to new as well as experienced field trainers and instructional designers. The authors provide a large number of practical best practices, strategies, and suggestions that are extremely action-oriented and realistic to implement in the typical training classroom and will enhance learning outcomes.

However, the authors primarily talk about how to use established game shows (e.g., Jeopardy) in the classroom. Experienced trainers and instructional designers would benefit more from the introduction of new, innovative game show formats. Chances are, veteran trainers are already using (or have used) well-known game shows. And students may perceive some of these “classic” game shows as outdated.

Newer game show formats could reinvigorate the energy and enthusiasm of trainers and participants alike. So the instructional value of this text will likely be higher for new trainers versus those more established in the field. However, I should note that I’ll Take Learning for 500 does include a helpful section for customizing a game show to fit one’s own needs and offers a number of hints and tips for using game shows in the classroom that experienced and new trainers will find helpful.

Although new trainers and designers will find I’ll Take Learning for 500 more useful than veterans, I strongly suggest that all instructional practitioners have this reference guide on their bookshelves. The depth of quality information as well as the accompanying CD makes the price of the book commensurate with its value. All readers—novices and veterans—will learn something they didn’t know about designing and hosting classroom game shows. The Gameshow Pro software demo introduces readers to a tool that can create professional-looking game shows as a capstone to learning events—a benefit to both trainers and participants.

Title: I'll Take Learning for 500
Rating: 3 ½ stars out of 4

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Using Game Shows as an Instructional Tool

Using Game Shows as an Instructional Tool

As more and more corporate and K-12 instructors gravitate towards interactive and attention-grabbing instructional techniques, many are starting to see the intrinsic benefits of using game shows. Our experiences, and those of hundreds of instructors, have shown that when learners play game shows their energy levels surge, they pay attention, and they remember more of the instructional content.

Game shows are an appealing medium—they provide healthy competition, have entertainment value, and are a cultural staple both in the U.S. and internationally. However, many instructors are unable to come up with a practical and justifiable way to use them. They are sometimes met with resistance from skeptical supervisors and financiers. What follows are a few of the most frequently voiced objections and our time-tested responses.

"Game shows aren't serious enough-they're just for fun." Training and teaching is a serious business. It's critical that learners absorb and retain content. Game shows are fun, but they're not just fun for fun's sake—they can engage learners so instructors can get serious messages across.

Using game shows can be a way to convey sensitive or serious material in a way that doesn't intimidate learners. This informal training tool opens up discussion around a topic and can "break the ice," making learners feel at ease in the training session and with the material at hand.

"Our employees or students would never buy into, or get excited about playing a game show." Game shows appeal to learners of all ages. We've personally conducted game shows that were "expected" to fail because the audience "just won't get into it." We've never had an experience (with any audience, ever) where the game show didn't appeal to a majority of the audience. There are a few reasons behind this:

  • Everyone loves to compete; people love to show what they know and see if they can answer given questions.
  • Game shows are a medium that people of all ages can relate to—nearly everyone has seen a game show in some format. They're easy to understand and pick up without complex instruction.
  • Game shows appeal to all learning styles—they allow visual learners to see the question and surrounding information; auditory learners to hear the question and discuss answers; and kinesthetic learners to ring in, cheer, and participate.
"Our content is too complex to fit into a game show format." Information is more readily absorbed when broken into smaller chunks and information groups—as is required in a game show format. We've seen game shows used successfully in every type of training situation—from learning about the American Revolution, to rocket science, to OSHA standards, to general corporate policies and procedures.

"We just don't have time to do this with all the other information we have to teach and assessments we have to give." Any type of training and instruction requires a method of review. Learners need to hear information multiple times in order to retain that information. Game shows can be used in place of an "ordinary" review, or can supplement an already existing review process. Game shows can incorporate pre-existing review exercises like role-plays, quick question-and-answer sessions, and learner demonstrations.

Game shows can also take the place of a formal assessment—many game show software programs allow instructors to record results by individual learners. This method of assessment can be less stressful and more accessible than traditional paper-and-pencil methods.

How to Use Game Shows
Game shows are used most frequently in three basic ways: previewing information, reviewing information, and as an energizing event. How an instructor uses a game show depends on the type of content they're presenting and the structure of their information session.

Using game shows as a preview mechanism in a training session can make trainees aware of their gaps, generate curiosity for an upcoming topic, and let instructors know what they need to cover in depth (and what they can skip over). "Family Feud"-style game shows work well for previewing information since you can ask questions that have multiple answers. For instance, you could build interest in a topic like customer-service policy by asking: "What are our customers' top-five complaints?" When previewing information with game shows, be "forgiving" about right or wrong answers, and consider eliminating (or minimizing) penalties for wrong answers.

Game shows are among the most powerful content-review tools around. They're great for assessment and test preparation, or for just a quick recap. Use game shows as a quick review immediately before an exam to alleviate test anxiety and refresh learners' minds. Review after a long training session to "cement" the content in trainees' brains and to provide an emotionally compelling final event.

Almost any game show can be used to review information, but for a quick-fire review session we like to use a Jeopardy!-style game show. This rapid question-answer format allows instructors to cover a lot of information in a short period of time, and as point-levels increase, they can increase the difficulty level of their questions. "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire", Tic-Tac-Toe, College Bowl, and "Wheel of Fortune"-style game shows also work well for reviewing information-and most can accommodate both short-answer and multiple-choice questions.

There's nothing wrong with using a game show to simply raise the energy level in a classroom or training session. Play a quick, fast-paced game show (like "Jeopardy!") with content that may be one level easier than you would usually use. The purpose is to "warm up" your audience and give them a positive, successful experience—not to stump them. We've also played ice breaker game shows that have nothing to do with the content at hand-using current-event or pop-culture trivia.

A Unique Experience
However an instructor chooses to use them, game shows provide learners with an experience unlike anything else. They motivate learners to pay attention during a training session, they engage and captivate the audience like no other training method, and—most importantly—they are a tool with which instructors can deliver and elaborate on their content. Most instructors know that teaching isn't just about standing up and lecturing anymore—today's learners crave interaction and excitement. As a result, game shows are a practical addition to an instructor's toolkit.

About the Authors
Dan Yaman, CEO, and Missy Covington, Communications, of LearningWare, Inc. have created and consulted on thousands of game shows in hundreds of training scenarios over the years. They are also authors of the book, I'll Take Learning for 500: Using Game Shows to Engage, Motivate and Train.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Top 5 Reasons to Use AllPlay Web!

The Top 5 Reasons to use AllPlay Web in your Webinar

  1. Adults need to be re-engaged every 5-7 minutes.
  2. Competition captivates and motivates learners.
  3. Team play builds camaraderie and fosters networking--even in the virtual space.
  4. Specific, measured interactions makes attendees accountable for their attention.
  5. Game formats have been proven to increase content retention and comprehension.
But don't take our word for it. Sign up for a webinar and see AllPlay Web in action today!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

To Poll or to Play

To Poll or to Play

How AllPlay Web goes beyond polling to create interactive webinar experiences.

When LearningWare first saw the need for more engaging webinars, we did a lot of research into what was already out there. Our experiences with webinars thus far had left us flat. For the most part, they were just another presentation as usual; only there was no accountability, no interaction, and no effort made to re-focus attention.

We did find that there was a measure in place in some webinar technology (i.e. Webex, Gotomeeting, etc.) attempting to solve this problem: polling.

But polling has been around since the advent of webinars, and it hadn’t yet solved the problem of disengagement. Polling is a nice start, but it only goes a portion of the way in creating truly interactive webinars—whereas game-based technologies (like AllPlay Web) are a revolutionary tool in the webinar space.

Why is this such a radical shift from simple polling technology? Well, there are five major differences between polling and playing in a webinar:

1. Scoring

Yes, polling can show how many people answered a question a certain way—but to what end? The score in a game format is added question-by-question, keeping the attendees invested in the game. This cumulative score also allows a presenter to reward attendees based on their total answers throughout the webinar. (This reward may be as simple as prestige or praise, but it can also be something like a small gift certificate or promotional item.)

Concrete scoring can also allow presenters to track how much everyone is learning and retaining.

2. Competition

Competition engages webinar attendees like nothing else. There are now stakes involved in answering questions (whether the aforementioned reward is valuable or not). When attendees know that they’re going to be tested on the material—and that they’re going to be competing with peers—they have an incentive to pay close attention to the content at hand.

People are naturally competitive—whether playing by themselves or in teams—and a game format capitalizes on this friendly competition to wholly captivate a webinar audience.

3. Teams

Unlike polling—game formats like AllPlay Web allow people to play in teams. This is significant for a few reasons:

  • The team structure makes attendees accountable to their peers. One doesn’t want to be “that guy” who lowers the team score—so they engage with the webinar content.
  • When people are grouped together they are more invested in interaction. They’ll speak up, participate, and become active attendees.
  • In a team, an attendee is no longer one person in a sea of dozens or hundreds. The team allows for a small-group experience—even in a large webinar.
  • Teams build relationships and networking. Even if a group is scattered across the globe, being on a team will allow them to interact with their peers on a personal level that one usually doesn’t get in a webinar.

4. Structure

Unlike a poll—which doesn’t have a particular structure throughout the webinar—a game can frame a webinar presentation. Ask questions at the beginning to preview information, then pause the game and go into content. Use the game again to bring up and teach additional points. Then elaborate more on presentation content. Then, wrap up the webinar with a final, rousing game round—reviewing the content.

Not only does it keep attendees engaged (and attendees need to be reengaged every 5-7 minutes), but it’s continually reinforcing key points—boosting the learning potential in a webinar.

5. Visual Appeal

A webinar is a visual medium—hosts can put a lot of work into their PowerPoint presentations and graphics. Most existing polling functionality in a webinar is very rudimentary. The game format is visually captivating, and allows hosts to add graphics, sounds and a game feel that reengages attendees.


Don’t get us wrong—we believe that polls have their time and place (which is why we’ve included a polling feature within the AllPlay Web software—that merges smoothly with the game questions). Sometimes you want to solicit opinions where there is no right-wrong answer. Sometimes you might just want to throw out a single, quick question. There’s no denying that polling software is useful and a step up from no interaction—it’s just not a fraction as engaging as a game format.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Brighten Boring Webinars: AllPlay Web Write-Up

AllPlay Web is getting nice buzz around the industry already--and we couldn't be more excited.

Recently it was featured at smallbiztechnology.com. The complete text is below as well:

August 6, 2009

Brighten Boring Webinars: Add Game Shows to the Q&A!

I've attended and/or participated in many webinars - as I'm sure you have as well. Most, compared to an exciting, live and face to face event are quite boring.

The speaker speaks, some questions are asked, a poll might even be given, the speaker continues, there's time for audience question and answers, and the webinar is over.

If you like to do things "out of the box" and make a splash and a bang AND you do webinars you've got to take a look at LearningWare's Allplayweb.com web site. LearningWare sells software for the creation of customized game shows for classrooms and other uses, Allplayweb.com showcases its new services to liven up webinars with a game show experience.


We all love to learn, but we also love to have fun (or be entertained) while we learn. It's exciting.

Furthermore, we retain information better when the education (be it a sales pitch, product demonstration or staff meeting) challenges us to respond to what we've learned.

LearningWare also has software, QuizPoint, which lets you create online quizzes and games to test content retention, review material and engage every learner. You can create, post and host a complete suite of quizzes and games. You can then invite users to play your online game!

All the time, companies need to innovate and be a step ahead of the competition. With tools like this, your webinars and educational or sales presentations will definitely be different and beyond your competition. I hate to sound like a cliche, but especially in this recession, it's even more important to INVEST in technology that can directly affect your bottom line. Boosting sales in a webinar or increasing employee attentiveness in a weekly webinar will definitely boost the "bottom line".

Monday, August 17, 2009

We're on Facebook!

You can now become a fan of LearningWare on Facebook!

Not only do we post extra stuff there like screencaps, previews, pictures, links, news, articles, interviews and more, but it also includes an automatic feed from our Twitter page and this blog (so apologies to Facebook fans to whom this post is a bit redundant).

It's all the latest and greatest with LearningWare AND using game shows in training--all in one place!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Millennials and Game Show Training

Millennials (those born after 1980, or so--depending on which research group you ask) are entering the workforce in droves. This is only going to increase over the next few years as "Boomers" retire and job positions open up.

This means that the Millennials are coming--and trainers are having to find new ways to engage them.

Recent research has discovered something particularly unique to Millennials:

The love to collaborate.

Positive or negative, collaboration is the lifeblood of the Millennial generation. They grew up working in teams and getting constant feedback from teachers, parents and peers.

This is why, when we've spoken to trainers, game shows are absolutely critical in the training classroom. Why game shows, though? Why not just some other interactive activity?

Game shows:
  • Are cross-generational. A Millennial can play a Categories game along with a Boomer or a Gen-X-er. It's a familiar format for all generations currently in the workplace.
  • Capitalize on competition. They're a friendly, non-threatening way to introduce competition into a training classroom; raising the stakes and increasing accountability.
  • Encourage team work and collaboration. Peers play together on teams, so everyone is involved and interacting with each other.
  • Are incredibly engaging. The Millennial generation is used to interactive activities and multimedia. The training-by-powerpoint-only method is particularly ineffective in the group that wants to be entertained and engaged while they learn.
  • Reinforce content. "I was learning, but I didn't know I was learning," was a comment from a high-school student we interviewed a few years ago. Game shows reinforce training content and increase retention of material by over 62%.
It's true that Millennials aren't the only generation that wants to be engaged, but with the advent of Millennials, more trainers are thinking about reinventing their training--and game shows (like Gameshow Pro) are a great start.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Case Study: Using Game Shows in the Government

Training Software Brings on Spirit of Competition in the Government Sector

Gameshow Pro Puts The Fun into Functional Training

The government - it turns out - likes to have a little fun, even while getting down to business. Gameshow Pro, by LearningWare, provides both a fun and worthwhile training session for a government agency in California, and the classroom environment has never been the same.

The curriculum has been rounded out, the return on investment (both time and money) has been reached and the overall experience is lasting.

“It is an excellent and a great addition to our active teaching tool box. We have been told that the friendly competition and depth of questions has supported overall learning,” one government trainer noted.

Gameshow Pro has been used widely amongst various government sectors, a development that has been made possible by the unique game show software’s ease and enjoyment of use, for both trainers and trainees.

“Other organizations we work with have purchased the software based on their experience in our courses. They use it much the same way we do, as a tool in a traditional face-to-face education environment,” the government trainer said.

In a time-crunch world, it’s a breeze for trainers to put presentations together. That, combined with a trainer’s ability to quickly track the class’ success rate after each course, makes it a valuable component for teaching.

“From a faculty position, it has been a wonderful tool for summary learning after a multiple-day course.”

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Hilmerson Safety Gets Star Tribune Write-Up!

We're happy to pass on this link from the local Minneapolis Star Tribune:

Tough Cookie Doesn't Let Safety Crumble

In the write-up: Deb Hilmerson of Hilmerson Safety talks about her experiences in safety training. Hilmerson Safety uses Gameshow Pro as an exclusive game show software solution in their safety training--making their training the most engaging around!

One can also purchase safety game modules for their Gameshow Pro software through Hilmerson here.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Follow us on Twitter!

Well, we're twitterpated (to steal a word from the movie "Bambi").

You can now follow LearningWare on Twitter!

Get updates, exclusive tips, news bits, and whatever's on our mind in 140 glorious characters.

Follow us on Twitter here:


Monday, July 20, 2009

Jane's E-Learning Pick of the Day: AllPlay Web

Jane Hart is a Social Media & Learning Strategy Consultant with a 25 year track record of helping business and education understand how new technologies can be used for learning as well as to improve job and business performance and implement them successfully in their organizations.

AllPlay Web is Jane's E-Learning Pick of the Day!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Press Release: LearningWare Looks to Create the Ultimate Webinar Experience With Engaging Software Solution

Today's marketplace calls for new AllPlay Web product to make Webinars more interactive and produce measurable results.

MINNEAPOLIS, Jul 14, 2009 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- LearningWare, a leading provider of training and education software has launched AllPlay Web to make Webinars more interactive, engaging and measurable. This software allows facilitators to insert quiz and survey questions--in either a game show or poll format--into their webinars. This capitalizes on interactive competition, captivating attendees--who all respond at their own computers using virtual keypads.

Additional details can be found at http://www.allplayweb.com.

The product launch couldn't be more timely. Every day, an increasing number of companies are using Webinars -- they're efficient and cost-effective in a world where offices are becoming globalized and travel budgets are being slashed.

"Webinars are transforming the way people are meeting and conducting business," said Lou Russell, President of Russell Martin & Associates, a participant-centered training solutions company. "More and more I see training moving from a corporate classroom to a company webinar."
In fact, the Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE) 2009 Business Travel Spend Survey indicating 71 percent of respondents will spend less on travel in 2009. Webinars are clearly the trend in communicating with employees and customers. According to Frost & Sullivan, the number of Webinars given increased 20 percent in 2008, alone. But as the world is introduced to the obvious benefits of web conferencing, the deficiencies also become apparent.

"A Webinar is a great way to reach people, but the problem is that it can be a one-sided presentation with no measure for learning," says Dan Yaman, President and Founder of LearningWare and co-author of I'll Take Learning for 500.

AllPlay Web Transforms Webinars

LearningWare first introduced the unique, effective game show training format 15 years ago with Gameshow Pro and its products have been used in more than 35,000 corporate and government classrooms. Now, the company brings its expertise from the classroom to Webinars with the AllPlay Web software.

AllPlay Web turns Webinars into a interactive experience by transforming passive attendees into active participants. Instead of simply viewing a presentation, attendees engage in a game experience around Webinar content using browser-based keypads.

Russell, who is also the author of "The Accelerated Learning Fieldbook", conducts numerous webinars on a variety of learning-related topics, but says they have limitations.

"Audience members need to be re-engaged continuously," Russell said. "Research proves that learning is a social activity. Finally, technology has evolved to the point that social interaction is honored in an online environment and not just restricted to face-to-face instruction. I am excited that I now have AllPlay Web to increase the value I provide to my customers."
It's a simple concept with big impact; facilitators create questions and answers in the AllPlay Web software, attendees respond to the questions in a game format during the Webinar, and the software tracks how each participant answered each question for measurable results. AllPlay Web engages participants' sense of competition, it creates accountability, it reinforces the Webinar content, and it makes the Webinar fun and engaging.

"AllPlay Web was developed with a wide range of people in mind. From trainers to educators to sales managers to business owners," said Yaman, "The applications are endless."
The software works with every Webinar provider, including Webex, Gotomeeting and Elluminate. Pricing options vary depending on number of users and depth of service agreement. Webinar attendees do not need additional software to participate.

LearningWare offers frequent Webinars for first-hand walkthroughs. For more information - including videos - please visit www.learningware.com.

SOURCE: LearningWare
CONTACT: LearningWare Clint Roberts, 612-242-3721 media@onesimpleplan.com

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Online Training's Got Game

Dan Hannan, a safety trainer and consultant, who uses Gameshow Pro for his clients recently wrote an article on using games in safety training.

The article, which highlights both Gameshow Pro and other virtual or manual gaming devices for safety training, is available here: Online Training's Got Game.

The text is also mostly intact here:

Online Training's Got Game

Constructed and used properly, gaming activities are highly effective tools for educating on virtually any topic. We can all probably remember having fun with family or friends playing board games, card games or something else on a rainy day or late at night. For me, I got caught-up in the Trivial Pursuit craze of the mid and late 1980’s. In fact, I can still remember several of the questions that I answered incorrectly en-route to loosing—and that was over 25 years ago. That is the power of a game—engaging, entertaining, extremely memorable—and and all the while they’re educating. Take these principles and apply them to some aspect of the working world, say health and safety, and you have a formula for creating “knowledge with staying power”.
The potential power of gaming activities for learning purposes, or game-based learning (GBL), became was realized about 10 years ago. Since that time, many white papers have been written touting increased retention rates of training material where gaming activities were used. The use of custom custom-developed, interactive video games for workplace training has earned the term “serious games”. Video game simulation training is now being utilized on everything from retail sales to flying drone airplanes on a battlefield. Virtual environments enable employees to interact and engage in situations in advance of “going live”. This allows an employee to learn about them self—; their ability to make decisions, be confronted (by other characters), it tests their knowledge in a very engaging way, and they can ultimately learn from a variety of different simulated interactions.
Apart from training simulations, video gaming has become a multi-billion dollar industry. To better understand the entertainment and learning potential of this media, Microsoft Research and a consortium of university partners have formed the Games for Learning Institute (G4LI). G4LI is, a multidisciplinary, multi-institutional gaming research alliance seeking evidence to support games as learning tools for math and science subjects among middle-school students. With its research, G4LI hopes to identify which qualities elements of within video games engage students and then develop relevant, personalized teaching strategies that can be applied to the learning process. The consortium partners include Columbia University, the City University of New York (CUNY), Dartmouth College, Parsons, Polytechnic Institute of NYU, the Rochester Institute of Technology, and Teachers College.
“Technology has the potential to help reinvent the education process, and excite and inspire young learners to embrace science, math and technology,” said Craig Mundie, chief research and strategy officer at Microsoft. “The Games for Learning Institute is a great example of how technology can change how students learn, making it far more natural and intuitive.”

What Makes a Good Training Game?
The author Sivasailam Thiagarajan has identified what he considers to be two critical laws that support the use of gaming activities for effective learning. They are:
1. The law of emotional learning states that events that elicit emotions result in long-lasting learning. This law suggests that people learn best when they are happy or sad or angry and they do not learn well when they are in a state of boredom or apathy. The playful elements of gaming activities add powerful emotional elements.
2. The law of practice and feedback states that learners cannot master concepts and skills without repeated practice and relevant feedback. This law emphasizes that passive understanding of content does not guarantee recall and application.
Based on the laws stated above, the desired recipe for a successful game should result in something that evokes emotion (preferably fun or happiness) and can be completed with some repetition (without getting old) to reinforce learning objectives. In the realm of video gaming, the game is working if physiological changes are taking place—heart rate increases, breathing increases, sweating, etc.
Unlike game shows on TV where information seems very “trivial”, games used to support training offer the ability to bend the rules and encourage discussion. Whether your application or need is a team-based classroom style game or a one-on-one activity, there are several elements to be mindful of when choosing and building a game to get the most out of it. These include:
  • Teams or every person for them self: —Team participation offers the opportunity for a collaboration of knowledge and the gathering of “skill sets” to solve a problem. This fosters teamwork and does not alienate or single-out someone for a lack of knowledge. Teams do, however, limit someone from “hiding-out in the back of the room” as all parties are accountable to their team. One-on-one “quiz” review or video simulation allows for individual performance to be tracked.
  • Easy, Hard or Impossible—: The quality and level of difficulty of the content being covered should be selected carefully. If the questions are too easy or too difficult, participants check-out. It is a good practice to make sure you know a bit about those attending a training session and prepare the game accordingly. Are the participant’s novices in their knowledge or veterans in their vocation? A game that allows the a progression of content from simple to difficult usually works well and offers a “little something for everyone”. Having the flexibility to customize game content and other aspects of game-play is beneficial.
  • Game-play dynamics and you, the Host—: The host is responsible for preparing and managing game play activities. This aspect is often overlooked and can make or break the game show experience. A host lacking in energy and not willing to foster participation will result in a less less-than than-entertaining time. The host is responsible for the pace of game play, being the “judge” in the event of a dispute and for ensuring that learning principles are reinforced (i.e. extended discussion on topics and reflection back on training completed).

Low-tech Alternatives
Although computer based game programs add extra visual and entertainment sizzle, not all games need to be high-tech. Low-tech alternatives exist and can be just as effective as a computer aid. Lego’s©, for instance, offer a great use of multi-colored and multi-shaped blocks to teach the art of communication between two people. With a common barrier between two participants, one describes the “structure” that is built to the other that cannot see it. The objective—to create the mirror image identical in shape, color and space. Not so easy unless you are listening and communicating properly. Want to sharpen your eye at hazard recognition—how about the age-old hazard hunt?. A photo is prepared (real or doctored) in which multiple hazards exist. The objective—identify all hazards. Twists on this activity include a team competition, timed for speed and extra points for those that can cite the regulatory standard that is being violated.

It appears that games, especially those that have a quick pace and are visually stimulating, speak well to the learning tendencies and needs of those younger persons entering the workforce today—no doubt groomed by Xbox, I-pods, the Internet, text messaging, etc. A properly constructed and used implemented game activity is an effective learning tool that results in increased retention of training content. Gaming activities add fun and entertainment to the training experience—something that everyone (from all generations) appreciates.
After all, Plato said “You can learn more about a man in an hour of play than in a year of conversation”.

About the author
Dan Hannan, CSP, CHMM—has been an EH&S professional for 18 years and has been providing training for nearly that long. Mr. Hannan is Vice President of Hilmerson Safety Learning Systems (HSLS). HSLS develops computer game-based learning tools to enhance safety training for the general and construction industries. More information about HSLS training tools can be found by going to www.hilmersonsls.com or by contacting Mr. Hannan at danhannan@yahoo.com.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Case Study: Just What the Doctor Ordered: Learning With Game Shows

Dr. C.W. Gowen supports game show learning format to improve focus and retention.

After finding out about LearningWare in the mid 1990s, Dr. C.W. Gowen has been using the LearningWare game show software product, Gameshow Pro, to train resident doctors at Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters (CHKD) and Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS). This unique training tool has been successfully implemented in the pediatric resident training program.

“The residents really enjoy the gaming formats. They like working in groups to answer questions and competing against other teams.”

Dr. Gowen said his residents have played Gameshow Pro Categories (Jeopardy style), Question Bowl (Quiz Bowl style) and the AllPlay game. “The various teams compete against each other and everyone seems to retain the information much better,” he said.

Since the incorporation of games into the curriculum, more and more of the EVMS departments have asked about the tool, resulting in broader use around the facility for the residency programs. The innovative training technique is used weekly and has helped improve the residents’ pass rate for the Pediatrics Certifying Examination.

“We have incorporated Jeopardy and AllPlay into our Grand Rounds. Quite often, the pediatric residents will compete with the OB/GYN residents. Our pediatric faculty and community pediatricians even play against the residents.”

For the past 10 years or so, Dr. Gowen’s program has hosted the Virginia state competition, which includes teams from each of the five residency programs in Virginia (University of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University, Inova Health System, Navy, and CHKD). Each fall, teams compete for the Williamsburg Cup playing AllPlay and answering questions about pediatrics. CHKD residents are the current champions - having won four of the last five years of competition.

Dr. Gowen also included the game formats and sample games at the annual Accreditation Counsel for Graduate Medical Education (www.acgme.org). The lecture was attended by more than 400 people and received much positive feedback about the use of games in curriculums.

“There were lots of great comments and questions from those in attendance. Hopefully, many purchased the games after they returned to their home programs.”

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

LearningWare has a new website!

In case you haven't seen it, you should head on over to www.learningware.com and check out our new, totally redesigned website.

Not only is it spectacularly awesome looking, but it also has a bunch of new features designed by trainers, for trainers--like our new Learning Center.

The Learning Center includes:

  • Tips for being a better game show host, structuring your game, changing the rules and using game shows in training.
  • Expert interviews with Thiagi, Bob Pike, Lou Russell and more.
  • This blog--which will feature case studies, articles, game show tips and anecdotes, and LearningWare news.
  • And more to come--including more case studies and videos!
Head on over and check it out--and don't forget to give us your feedback!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Case Study: Unique Hospitality Training Method Leaves Them Wanting More

Industry Vet Mark Eggers Keeps Employees In The Know, When It Matters Most

As a veteran of the hospitality business, Mark Eggers knows how important customer service is. Now more than ever, the competition for the consumer buck is stiff and the hospitality experience overall has to be second to none. This all starts with training and development – the learning experience has to be engaging, cost-effective, and worthwhile, so it really can spell success. Some say “enjoyable training” is an oxymoron, but Eggers thinks the opposite, in part because of his key training tool –Gameshow Pro by LearningWare.

Eggers has been a trainer in the hospitality industry for more than 10 years. He uses Gameshow Pro, which puts his training curriculum in a game show format to encourage better engagement. In fact, he’s used Gameshow Pro the last four years, and he’s found it to be a lasting experience.

“It was great for the employees because you could take training material and make it more engaging with better knowledge retention. Many times the employees wanted to keep playing after we were done,” he said.

The hospitality industry is a several billion-dollar industry. A large part of its success relies on what employees take away from their training sessions and into their day-to-day roles. The ultimate goal is extraordinary customer service and a wonderful guest experience. That is why Eggers uses Gameshow Pro in his traditional classroom training regularly. It ensures knowledge retention with the trainees and rounds out the learning process.

“Gameshow Pro is like the cherry on top of the sundae. It adds the finishing touch to a session,” he said.

New AllPlay Web Video

We'll be back to the game show training tips shortly, but for now, we wanted to share the following video with you. It's a short walk-through of the new AllPlay Web software. Let us know what you think!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Extending an Invitation

Recently, we were at ASTD conference delivering a workshop on using game shows in training called, appropriately: "I'll take Learning for 500."

We ended with a slide that said "You've got a friend in the business." It had the contact information for both Dan Yaman, the founder and CEO of LearningWare, and Missy Covington, the communications director. (It even included Dan's cell phone number!)

What we meant by that was that the participants in the workshop could contact us up any time to ask questions about using game shows in their training sessions--even if they weren't using our software. These questions could range from hosting the game to creating the questions, to setting up the room for a game show...anything game show related in training, and we'd be willing to help.

Because we're *that* passionate about using game shows in training, we would like to extend this invitation to you.

x207 for Dan
x237 for Missy


We're dedicated to making your training successful using game shows. So give us a call today, and start revolutionizing your training.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Cure for the Common Webinar

My first webinar experience took place about 3 years ago. We were producing a live training event through our sister company, Live Spark, and wanted to get a solid grounding in our client's content so we sat in on one of their new product rollout webinars.

Webinars, at that time, were relatively new-ish. "How fantastic," I thought,"I can get up to speed quickly without having to leave my desk."

As the webinar progressed, however, my enthusiasm was quickly sapped. I'm not a particularly distraction-prone person, but after about 5 minutes I found myself (somewhat ashamedly and automatically) checking my email...checking the news highlights...trying to squeak in a little copyediting...

The webinar was a great way to reach people, but the problem was that it was just another deadly-dull-and-dry presentation. Not only that, but if it had been an in-person presentation, I would have been required to *try* to pay attention (or at least maintain that placid look of wakefulness). There wasn't even that level of accountability.

I don't blame that client. I've been in many, many other webinars since--and while they have been presented with varying degrees of skill, my mind was still left to wander...to email...to the news...to my other tasks...

There is just *no* way to ensure that attendees are paying attention. And if my mind is wandering, you can bet that every other attendee is experiencing brain check-out in mass as well.

More and more companies are doing webinars now--they're efficient and cost-effective in a world where offices are globalized and travel budgets are slashed. But if people aren't learning the webinar information--if they aren't engaged, if they aren't paying attention, if they aren't accountable--then webinars aren't a cost-effective solution, they're a waste of time.

Clearly, there was a problem here that needed a solution.

Hey, LearningWare had been the expert in making training engaging, memorable and fun for over 15 years... surely we would be able to come up with something to fix this new webinar problem, right?

Right.That's why LearningWare came up with AllPlay Web.
AllPlay Web lets you create a professional, fully-automated and engaging game show experience within your webinars. You can review and preview content, refresh the audience, and--most importantly--keep everyone engaged and accountable.

They have to pay attention to the presentation--their sense of competition is engaged and there might be a question on the material later.

They have to stay with you on the webinar instead of checking their email, because there is actual, tangible participation required on their part: registering their answers using their own keypads.

It's fun. It's engaging. It's memorable. It turns a common webinar into an interactive experience--truly making the webinar a cost-effective training and communication solution.

AllPlay Web even tracks how everyone answered, so you know where the knowledge gaps exist in your training. You can even ask survey questions.

We've just launched it in a beta version, it's awesome, and you should find out more about it here.

No, seriously, go check it out. Because not only is it absolutely revolutionary, but it's the first thing that's kept me on track--as a participant--during a webinar, *ever*.

And that's a pretty amazing feat. :)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Quiz Point Reviewed by ILEETA

The International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA) recently reviewed LearningWare's QuizPoint in its "Use of Force" Newsletter. The article can be found here, but we've also copied the text here:


with: Lt. Harvey Hedden
What an instructor knows is not nearly as important as what his student knows as a result of the instructor’s work. Law enforcement officers don’t really like being tested, but many agencies see cognitive testing as a valuable assessment tool to determine if an officer possesses important concepts, as well as a proactive defense to civil litigation, especially in the area of use of force.

Many trainers have developed PowerPoint presentations that permit the student to answer questions. The biggest limitation of these tools is that there is no means to keep individual scores.

Private industry discovered some years ago that they could make testing more palatable by making it a game. Our competitive nature means students study harder and recall more important information when learning is reinforced by competition. Even more mundane subjects are remembered because it could mean a higher score. Most of the officers you train have played some sort of video game – and many still do – making them ideal candidates for this type of testing.

Learningware is a company that has developed two such testing platforms. Their original product GameshowPro, has recently been augmented by a new product called QuizPoint. Like its predecessor, QuizPoint uses a form of television’s Jeopardy game. The game’s software allows an instructor to include pictures, video and audio clips – before, during or after a question. QuizPoint also allows for a variety of testing options, including timed responses and directing the student to corrective information.

I found the QuizPoint software easy to use as both an instructor and a student. The quizzes are created by the instructor with software provided by Learningware and then uploaded to the companies’ secure web site. The quizzes are hosted on-line and the games are flash based, meaning the student can access the test from any web browser without downloading software. Users must have a user name and password.

The student’s responses are recorded and kept on file for later retrieval. Leaningware provides a Learning Management System that allows the instructor to see results by exam, question class or student. The system is also ideal for remote learning because the exams and records are web based. QuizPoint can also provide aggregate test scores to help you identify problem learners, and you can post top scorers to maintain the spirit of competition.

QuizPoint is currently being used by California P.O.S.T. and examined by a number of other agencies. For my preference, alternative templates currently being developed by Learningware will also be a welcome addition, especially for some of our more serious subjects where the game show format may not be most appropriate.

Learningware.com offers free trials of QuizPoint so you can determine if the product can help you. Learningware also offers government pricing – a license for up to 250 students currently costs $2,000. For further pricing information, you can contact Learningware at 800-457-5661 or speak directly to the Government Services Representative at 866-433-5139.

Looks like QuizPoint is already making waves--and we're glad to hear it!