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

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

SOURCE: LearningWare
CONTACT: LearningWare Clint Roberts, 612-242-3721

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 or by contacting Mr. Hannan at

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 ( 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.”