813 Lessons from the Trenches of Digital Game Design

10:00 AM - 11:00 AM Friday, October 2

Games and Gamification


Yes, the interest in learning games has exploded, along with the interest in gamification. Many practitioners want to create digital game play experiences as opposed to “Click NEXT to continue” eLearning. But when you get started in digital, how do you do it? How “game-y” does something need to be to produce solid learner engagement while maintaining the integrity of the learning experience? What best practices should you follow, and what pitfalls should you avoid? How is the design process the same? How is it different?

This session outlines the tools and techniques to use when designing learning games, revealing several simple learning games—and mistakes made in creating some of them. You will be able to identify what to do and the common pitfalls to avoid when designing a digital game. You will walk through up to five different learning games, learning the factors that influenced the fun and effectiveness of these games. Finally, you will be provided a learning game design template to use in getting started in digital game design.

In this session, you will learn:

  • To identify what’s fun—and what’s not fun—in a digital games and how much fun is required for a game to be effective
  • The nine game elements (cooperation, competition, rewards, resources, chance, strategy, aesthetics, story, theme) and factors to consider when incorporating into your games
  • The three best practices in digital learning game design and three major pitfalls to avoid—and why
  • The why, what, and how of play-testing a game
  • The prototyping and game authoring tools available to those who want to dive into design and development

Intermediate designers, directors, and managers.

Technology discussed in this session:
Construct2, Flash, JavaScript.

Sharon Boller

President and Chief Product Officer

Bottom-Line Performance

Sharon Boller is president and chief product officer of Bottom-Line Performance (BLP), a learning-solutions firm she founded in 1995. Sharon has grown BLP from a single-woman sole proprietorship to a $3 million+ company with 30 team members. Under her direction, BLP created the Knowledge Guru learning game platform, a platform that has received numerous industry awards, including the coveted Brandon Hall Gold award for best innovation in gaming and technology (2014). Sharon co-teaches Guild Academy’s Game Design live online course.

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