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P21 Play to Learn: Designing Effective Learning Games

8:30 AM - 4:30 PM Tuesday, October 28

Raphael 1

Learning games are a hot trend—but why? What makes them work, and how in the world do you go about designing one?

In this workshop, participants will explore a variety of games to identify what makes them playable and then design their own learning games using a step-by-step approach to design. You will build a prototype of your game and actually play it—learning how to play test and how to iterate to improve the game’s playability and efficacy as a learning tool. You will leave the workshop with a coherent road map to help you design future games (whether those games are online or table-top games). You will also take with you a list of resources to help you further your learning and skill development as game designers.

In this session, you will learn:

  • How to use an evaluation checklist to assess a wide array of games for the quality and effectiveness of their game design and their potential applicability to a learning game design
  • To recognize and define 15 common game elements and 10 common game dynamics that can be used in the development of learning games
  • To create simple prototypes for learning games
  • To use a play testing process to do rapid iteration of a game design

Those wanting to learn how to incorporate effective games into their learning initiatives.

Technology discussed in this session:

Participant technology needs:
Participants should bring laptop or tablet to use during workshop activities. If participants are unable to bring a device, there will be an opportunity to share and work in teams.

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.

Karl Kapp


Bloomsburg University

Karl Kapp, Ed.D., is a professor of instructional technology at Bloomsburg University, where he teaches instructional game design, gamification classes, and online learning design. He is the creator of the web video series, "The Unauthorized, Unofficial History of Learning Game." Karl has authored or co-authored eight books including The Gamification of Learning and Instruction, its accompanying field book, and the widely popular, Play to Learn. He is the author of 10 LinkedIn Learning courses. Karl's academic and practitioner work explores the research, theoretical foundations, and practical application of gamification and game-thinking to organizational performance issues.

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