Instructional Design

Microgaming: When it Works and When it Doesn’t

Was Super Mario onto something? While saving Princess Peach may not do much for your corporate training, the idea of microgaming – turning lessons into short, interactive games for learners – could be the key to engaging your audience. From quick-fire quizzes to competition-based games, a little fun can go a long way in helping to motivate learners as they retain and practice their new knowledge. Of course, it’s not always appropriate. Here’s where it works – and where it doesn’t.

Microgaming Works

  • When you need to test your learners’ skills after a more traditional approach. If you’re unsure if your audience has truly grasped a new concept, using microgaming is a quick way to see if your message was received.
  • When learners aren’t obtaining any new information, but simply need to brush up or test out of a certain subject. Playing a quiz game or going head-to-head with an opponent can help learners remember information from a previous training session.
  • When you want learning to be a daily occurrence. Picture a quick game that displays upon computer startup: It’s a simple way to incorporate microlearning into your learners’ daily routine with minimal time.

Microgaming Doesn’t Work

  • When there’s a lot of material to cover. Microgaming should really happen in five minutes or less, so if the material requires more time, a different medium should be used.
  • When the material or skills need to be demonstrated. Take first aid and CPR training, for instance. They need to be shown by a qualified instructor, rather than used as a gaming mechanism. Save microgaming for snippets of information, not demonstration.
  • When the material is serious in nature. Sexual harassment courses or serious customer service discussions aren’t really cut out for a competition-based game, so keep it for the lighter information and material.