Tuesday, March 24, 2009

5 Game Show Myths that Simply aren’t True

Simply saying “Game Show” can evoke a strong reaction in your training classroom—or amongst peers and superiors. Because everyone has experience with game shows in some form, everyone comes to the classroom with their own vision of what a “game show” should be like. Unfortunately, a lot of the time this vision doesn’t compliment training, and leads people away from using game shows in a training situation. Fortunately, the most common “myths” or misconceptions associated with using game shows can be easily corrected.

Myth #1: Game Shows Wouldn’t Appeal to my Trainees.

Truth: So your trainees are serious. They’re white-collar executives, they’re blue-collar miners, they’re doctors, they’re temps, etc. That definitely doesn’t mean that they won’t like game shows. Game shows provide an opportunity for your trainees to express their knowledge, compete, socialize and take a break from the ordinary. We’ve seen a lot of groups that no one would have pegged for “game show contestants” really get into the game show. This is because game shows aren’t just a novelty—they appeal to the fun side of everyone—no matter how “serious” or “technical” the person.

Myth #2: Game Shows Won’t Work for my Subject.

Truth: Game shows work with almost any subject you can train. Game shows can be adapted to fit both fact-based and brainstorming content, as well as both hard and soft skills training. We’ve seen trainers use game shows for everything from (literally) rocket science to harassment training. Game shows can help you facilitate complex subjects by breaking them down into smaller “chunks” within the game show, and can aid in discussion of “sensitive” topics by breaking down barriers and allowing everyone to relax.

Myth #3: Game Shows Take Too Much Time to Create.

Initially the act of creating a game show can take up to a few hours. However, software (like Gameshow Pro) can make this process quicker by giving you templates with which to create your game. Once you’ve created a game or two, creation becomes faster. You may also “refresh” an already-created game by adding in new questions, adding a few extra elements to a question, or simply rearranging the question order. Gameshow Pro version 4’s Question Library allows you to drag-and-drop questions into a game show, meaning that creating a game can literally take as few as 5 minutes.

Myth #4: I Don’t Have Time for a Game Show in My Training.

Truth: Most trainers do some kind of content review—so why not make that review more effective? Your training is too important NOT to be remembered. Use the time when you would normally do an oral review to do a 5-15 minute game show. (In fact, when compared to oral reviews, game shows increase exam scores by over 60%.) Game shows don’t have to be long to be effective either. If you have 3-5 minutes, insert a few questions from the game show to review and perk up your trainees. You can either have the short segments stand alone, or you can add up the teams’ points from all the “mini” rounds to get a final score at the end of the training session.

Myth #5: We Just Can’t DO that Kind of Thing Here.

Truth: We’ve been taught that training is serious business. That’s absolutely true and it’s also why it’s so important to deliver training in a memorable way—even if the way in question is a bit unconventional. Game shows don’t have to be tacky, loud or over-the-top—they can be tailored to fit your company’s culture. Sometimes doing little things like changing the game’s name to “Review Activity” can change the perception of the game show within the company. Game shows don’t “fit” only a particular brand of training, they can be modified to fit YOUR training.

Bonus 6th Myth: I Can’t Be a Game Show Host.

Truth: As a trainer, you’re already the face of your company or department. You’re delivering content, ensuring compliance, and putting yourself “out there” every day, even if you’re not physically in front of trainees. Almost anyone can be an effective game show host whether they’re more introverted or more extroverted. The key is to play to your own style. If you’re not a flamboyant person then that’s not going to be the hosting style for you. If you REALLY don’t want to host the game show, you can create a game show and have one of your peers host, or you can even get trainees to take turns hosting questions and you can contribute training content as needed.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Tips for Using Online Games

In honor of our newest product, QuizPoint, we’re dedicating this issue of Espresso to using online games.

Online games can be a great way to unite learners from different locations and globalize your training classroom. So without further adieu, the top 5 tips for using online games:

1. Use Teams.
Playing a game online can be a largely individual experience. Regardless of location, group trainees into teams. This will give them the experience of playing as a competitive unit, and learning with their peers despite the relative isolation of online. Teams can compete against each other to get the highest collective scores. And speaking of scores…

2. Display Scores.
Have a continually updating leaderboard (displayed before or after the game—or both!) that shows which trainees or teams lead the group in highest scores. Trainees can check this scoreboard as frequently as they wish to see if they’re still at the head of the class. This keeps the spirit of competition alive, and engages trainees in the game. Trainers may choose to give prizes for the top ranking players.

3. Retake tests for mastery.
Consider allowing trainees to re-take quizzes or games online. This allows them to master the material at hand and continually improve their scores. Plus, it allows them to pick up questions that they missed, and reinforces questions that they already answered correctly. If you decide not to let trainees re-take the tests, be sure to review questions after the game. Trainees need to know why they got a question wrong, particularly in an online format.

4. Make use of tracking features.
Many online game and quiz programs feature Learning Management Systems (LMS) that provide detailed trainee results. These allow a trainer to see which questions were consistently missed, which trainees had the best scores, and in which areas the entire class (or particular persons) need further instruction. These features can be immensely helpful both with the current trainees and in designing or revamping the next training course.

5. Utilize the online component and links.
Incorporate media and links into your game show. After players answer a question, it’s a great time to direct them to additional resources or information. You can link to online PDFs, pictures, video clips, the company website, etc. Some programs also allow you to input your own sounds and pictures offline as well. This changes an online game show from a review activity or a fun competition into a truly involved and interactive learning experience.

Bonus: Use online game shows for fun.
Online games don’t always have to be intrinsically linked with your training content. Since they’re such a good way to unite people in different locations (and even countries), use a “fun” game with company trivia for a team building activity. Games and quizzes can also be used to address cultural considerations and build awareness for traveling employees.

Another bonus: Try out QuizPoint for free for 30 days. Visit this link to download a trial version of the new online game and quiz creator software.