P08 B.Y.O.L.: Play to Learn—Designing Effective Learning Games

8:30 AM - 4:30 PM Tuesday, September 29


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 you can use in the development of learning games
  • How to create simple prototypes for learning games
  • How to use a play-testing process to do rapid iteration of a game design

Novice and intermediate designers and developers wanting to learn how to incorporate effective games into their learning initiatives.

Participant technology requirements: Participants should bring a laptop or tablet to use during workshop activities. If you 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

Dr. Karl Kapp has a worldwide reputation as a pioneer in the gamification of learning and instruction, having literally written the book on the topic. Karl is an expert in the convergence of learning, technology, and business. He was named one of LinkedIn's Top Voices in Education in 2017 and is the recipient of the 2019 ATD Individual Contributor Award. He works all over the world with Fortune 100 companies as well as start-up organizations helping them deliver meaningful instruction using a game-thinking approach. Karl is the author of several LinkedIn Learning courses and creator of several popular learning card games.

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