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ATD Blog

Q&A with Koreen Olbrish

By and

Wed Jan 02 2013


On January 29th, in San Jose, renowned speakers and authors Karl Kapp and Koreen Olbrish are conducting a specially-designed one-day workshop on game design and gamification. Recently, Karl sat down and interviewed Koreen about the event.

Karl Kapp: You are conducting a workshop at the ASTD TechKnowledge Conference, what is the topic of the workshop and why did you choose that topic?


Koreen Olbrish: The title of the workshop is "Game Design and Gamification." The title is important in that it calls out that there is a difference between the two. Thinking about what your goals are will help you determine whether a game is the best approach, or if gamification might be a plausible solution to a learning or performance objective.

Karl: What types of things will attendees learn?

Koreen: We want attendees to focus on the design decisions that are critical to games for learning. We'll be talking about things like game mechanics, design considerations, storyline, rewards and achievements, and designing for failure. There's A LOT to cover in one day!

Karl: Does an attendee need a computer or laptop to attend?

Koreen: No technology is needed to attend; this session is going to focus on game design, so bring your best critical thinking and design skills!


Karl: Why is this topic important to learning and development professionals?

Koreen: As learning professionals expand their thinking of how people learn, most realize that games are a powerful learning tool. While traditional learning methodologies might cover many of your learning needs, there are some performance objectives that can't be taught through didactic content presentation. Games are an important tool for learning professionals to understand, both how it can support learning and what types of learning for which games are best suited.

Karl: How do games and gamification help people learn?

Koreen: Games and gamification provide external motivation for behavior, they allow for repeated practice for incremental skill improvement, and they can provide real world context that mirrors complex performance environments. These features are somewhat unique to games and can help push people from simple knowledge acquisition (or "I know this”) to performance improvement (or "I can do this!")

Karl: What is the most important thing I should know if I am planning on attending the workshop?


Koreen: Be ready to DO things. We'll be talking a lot about design, but we won't just be talking. Also, plan on telling us about your favorite game :)

Karl: How does someone register for this event?

Koreen: You can register through the ASTD TechKnowledge 2013 conference registration page. Looking forward to seeing you there!

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