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 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 web site. LearningWare sells software for the creation of customized game shows for classrooms and other uses, 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.”