The SALT Washington Interactive Technologies Conference on August 17-19, 2011, at the Reston, Virginia, Hyatt Regency Hotel was a wonderful experience for the participants, as SALT conferences always are. Our presentation with Northrop Grumman found an appreciative audience, and a contest at our booth stimulated the creative juices of enthusiastic participants using our newest tool, the Serious Games Engines Bundle of 10, eLearning Architect.
Innovative Custom Serious Games
Walter Chandler, Northrop Grumman’s Technical Services Training Manager, and I presented a case study of our projects, Cyber Wingman™ and Cyber Protector™; Military Recruits Expect Serious Games and Innovative Learning Technologies. We described specific deployments on mobile devices, and our field-test findings which are useful for measuring the effectiveness of innovative learning technologies.
Participants who brought their iPad or iPhone could view the Stereoscopic 3D version of the movie trailer for the simulation games Cyber Wingman™ and Cyber Protector™, which Walter Chandler then demonstrated, to the attendees’ enthusiastic response.
We shared the steps taken to design, develop, deploy, and assess (field-test) the effectiveness of Serious Games and Innovative Learning Technologies in providing the required annual compliance IT Security training for Air Force and Army recruits and active duty military personnel.
Brock Dubbels, a learning architect and University of Minnesota researcher, explains serious games’ effectiveness this way: games “provide the opportunity to do something grand … exaggerate and elevate action beyond normal experience to make them motivating and exciting… Games raise our level of expectation to the fantastic and our biochemical reward system pays out when we build expectation towards a reward.” The military find that to be the perfect formula for combat ready soldiers’ training, particularly using simulation-rich, decision-based games.
Of course, richly interactive serious games are enjoying increased use for their effectiveness in every industry. As long ago as 2008’s Serious Games Summit, participants had observed that “Since fire drill training [is] expensive and paper-based training does not give the trainee the effective experience to face challenges, researchers are now building this type of interactive games where the trainees will interact in a virtual environment and learn specific objectives.” The 8th annual Serious Games Summit in March, 2011 focused on “on the growing application of videogames and videogame technologies for purposes outside of commercial entertainment. This includes projects using game resources or games for training, health, education, behavior change, science, advertising, and general productivity,” and hosted more than 19,000 participants. Former Home Depot Inc Instructional Designer James Hill has predicted earlier this year in a conversation at EmergingEdTech that “in 10 years organizational learning will be almost unrecognizable. More training will be done with virtual environments and ‘serious games’ than any of today’s delivery methods.”
And the Winners Are…
Of course, everyone who comes to our booth at SALT is a winner because they get to interact with cool, new technologies and simulation games. Our engineers and designers featured our CUSTOM products, numerous eLearning and IMI (Interactive Media Instruction) courses for various clients, as well as demonstrating eLearning Architect for developing custom games. Serious game designers and developers vied for prizes for the best learning games and assessments using our eLearning Architect Serious Games Engines Bundle of 10. Contestants had only 15 minutes to build their learning game. That kind of efficiency is the engine’s purpose, after all! With no prior knowledge of eLearning Architect, they produced some impressive games and assessments, demonstrating the tool’s intuitive usability, too. In fact, there were so many outstanding entries that two winners tied for the top prize: Sara Voit for ARMS and Drew Rabin for BAH. We also held a drawing for an iPAD, won by Anthony Griffin of Childrens Health Care. On the left, above, SALT’s Carrie Janssen Vespico is selecting the iPAD winner.
The biggest winner at the SALT Conference was William S. Peratino, Director of Innovation, Emerging Solutions at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. Will Peratino was the recipient of a most prestigious award, the “Eagle” Award, highest level of recognition, presented by the Federal Government Distance Learning Association.
We at Sealund have the honor of working with Will Peratino on several innovative learning solutions: http://golearn.gov/IT_Security_Network_Admin/OPM_Demo.html
What did you find useful in this posting? What more would you like to know about? What do you think you’d want to create with the eLearning Architect engine? Please share your comments.