February 2018
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February 2018
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Newsletter Article

Lessons From Mobile Games

Two of today’s most popular mobile games are Toy Blast and Candy Crush. Both games are appealing, addictive, and quite successful in keeping minds active. As an avid Toy Blast player, concepts become identifiable and similar for creating successful training models. The games entice players items that bring them joy—toys and candy—and players use relatively simple matching tasks to obtain these items.

Both games require repetition, and players may be required to perform the same tasks or levels over and over until the level requirements are achieved. There are also opportunities to compete with friends through multiple social media venues. Competition can become intense. If players are unsuccessful on any level, they can be penalized with lost lives and must try again to achieve success at the missed level.

Throughout each game, players receive incentives or opportunities to gain tools that will help them. The tools require only minimal effort to gather. As the games continue, players progress and can move to more complex levels and receive greater rewards.

As trainers, we can look to these games to help our programs become a blast that crush the competition. The following concepts will help.

Color: Just as Toy Blast and Candy Crush utilize primary colors, our training programs can employ items that trainees like in order to bring necessary color to the environment. Creating training program color can include providing food, opportunities for playtime, and activities that identify or include the elementary tools of learning—colors, stories, and crayons, to name a few.

Inclusive adaptability: As with Toy Blast and Candy Crush, our training programs must be adaptable to all types of people—young and older, short and tall, skilled and unskilled. Often times, we have multiple levels of capability in our training environments, and each individual, regardless of their skill level or circumstances must be included in the process. They must always feel a part of the activities and the learning process.


Repetition: While Toy Blast and Candy Crush players regularly repeat the same tasks, trainees must be given the opportunity for repetition to progress in their skill development. Repetition provides trainees efficacy and assurance of accomplishment. Trainees should be required to repeat learning exercises to ensure that application can be a success outside of the training environment.

Competition: Successful training programs allow for competition among participants. In today’s learning climate, competition should extend beyond the classroom and into social media environments. This approach provides continuous learning and application. Training scenarios are often applied to new required settings. Providing levels of training that trainees can achieve in the process gives an incentive to continue. While rewards should be provided in a competitive and individual setting to create inspiration in the trainees, also provide tools to assist trainees in their pursuit of success.

Unsuccess: Training should always developed produce “unsuccess” at times. It has been said that the difficult things are what learners remember the most. Therefore, include challenges or complicated tasks to promote purposeful strides by the trainee. If programs are too easy, trainees tend to consider them irrelevant.

Simplicity performance: Last of all, training developers should always remember that tasks for training should require and build upon simple steps. If all training programs begin with simple fundamentals, then levels of training can be strengthened with those fundamentals. In Toy Blast and Candy Crush, users begin by matching blocks. In later levels, they may have to match multiple blocks many times to accomplish the same objective. The same principle of starting simple and building as you go along is required with training programs.

© 2018 ATD, Alexandria, VA. All rights reserved.

About the Author

ASTD Field Editor Carol Decker is an associate professor of business administration at Tennessee Wesleyan College in Athens, Tennessee; 1.423.746.5270;

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