Games and Learning marks my tenth and final class in my online graduate program and it's one I've had my eye on. I was sold on the title, really. I love games, puzzles, challenges, and competition and I absolutely believe that games are a part of learning and learning is a part of games. However, video games are not really my thing. I much prefer strategic board games, party games, or puzzles.
My interest in this class, though, goes beyond an affinity for games. I do sales training for a technology company. Thus far, this degree program has been a guided tour through every aspect of digital learning and, at each stop, I have looked for ways of incorporating the new-found learning into the workplace. The sales reps that I work with each day hail from all over North America yet they all seem to have very similar characteristics. Chief among those characteristics is a tendency to be competitive. It's a common trait among A-type personalities. In my experience, sales reps love to compete when it comes to revenue or earnings but we fail to adequately tap into this motivation when it comes to training. Therefore, my true motivation and curiosity for this course is to learn how I can use games as a learning tool.
I am a big fan of play, especially when it comes to playing with and/or against other people. I mentioned before that video games weren't really my thing. But really, I do enjoy playing when the video game is the medium for people playing against each other. (Right now, there's an online golf game that seems to being taking up considerable time for me and a handful for buddies.) In addition, I quite enjoy sports, board games, or even physical challenges. I believe what compels me is having a framework of rules which then requires a strategy to operate within those rules. What can be even more fun is creating the rules.
Making up games with my brothers was a big part of my childhood. There weren't a lot of kids in our neighborhood growing up so we only had each other for entertainment most of the time. We enjoyed most traditional games but often had to tailor the rules based on a given space or circumstance. To this day, my brothers and I still enjoy the creativity of making up fun. For example, even though we are all grown up and have families of our own (in different parts of the world), each of us has some type of box or container in our homes where we keep a collection of balls. These could be tennis balls, racket balls, stuffed basketballs from the carnival, rubber balls, etc. To this day, one of our favorite past times while visiting each other is to pull out the box of balls in the livingroom and invent some type of game or challenge (I know, I know, any mothers reading this blog are cringing at the thought of balls flying through the livingroom..). It's good fun. It's creative. And sometimes you learning something you didn't know before!