Four types of Course-Takers
Many professionals and trade specialists are required to complete a number of CEUs each year. Some aren’t happy about that, while others frame it as something other than an intrusion on their holidays. You may recognize these four types of people that will be taking your courses:
This speed-clicker zips through the course pages to get to the quiz as fast as humanly possible, and then guesses on each of the questions. Educated guesses, mind you, as he has a degree from a top University, don’t you know! When he gets just enough wrong to fail the quiz, he uses the answer-elimination skills he honed from playing colored-pegs game of Mastermind growing up to change the wrong answers in the fewest moves possible. If he can’t get his entire hour of CE credit completed in less than three minutes he’s disappointed in himself and will try harder next time.
Not quite as able to deal with the idea of being a cheater as the Blow-By, the Skimmer will read all the main section headers and maybe the first or last sentence of many paragraphs, often mumbling to himself while picking out a few keywords and phrases here and there. In his mind, he’s imagining that he’s selecting exactly the items that’ll be covered in the quiz. Good chance, anyway. He misses being able to use his old yellow highlighter marker.
This type of person will read the course materials more deeply than the Skimmer, but only because he loves to disagree, deride, and otherwise poke fun at the statements, presumptions, and claims in the materials. He knows this business better than some course-writing academic hack! Old school or new school, his school is better than your school, and he’ll let the whole office know about it.
The Seeker actually wants to learn about the subject presented in the course. For him, the course is too short to really be satisfactory. He reads through the entire course in much less than an hour and then maybe supplements with a couple Google queries (which bring up listings of competing products!), but he still doesn’t find the geeky-goodness depth he was hoping for. He leaves the course feeling kind of unsatisfied.
How do in-course games help?
Adding a game or two to your courses switches the brain from passive learning to active learning; from skimming to pass eight out of ten questions to applying concepts and knowledge to a challenge scenario and practicing real decision making and selection patterns. This really shifts the perspective of the learner and is a much different learning experience than reading text, viewing some slides, or watching video (passively).
But does it manage all four types of course-takers? Well, let’s see how things play out, taking them in reverse order.
The Seeker on Games
The nice thing about an in-course game is that you can play it once to completion to pass, or you can play it a dozen times, trying various strategies and approaches. You can fiddle with inputs to see how the output changes. A seeker can find much deeper satisfaction in a course with a game he can play with for as long as he wants. That kind of positive, engaged experience adds to the impression the course makes, you can bet on that.
The seeker gets to spend more time in the course and try out as many scenarios as he or she wants in the course game(s). It is a much more satisfying experience for them, and this positive experience increases chances of using the information and concepts later.
The Skeptic on Games
He can criticize the course text, slides, and stats all he wants, but if he can’t win the in-course game, he’ll just look like a dufus. If he wants to prove he knows what he’s talking about, he’d better be able to ace the game the first time out! The shoe is suddenly on the other foot, and when he’s declared a winner in the course game(s), he can’t help but feel like a buddy of the product. A smarter-than-your-average-bear buddy, yes, one that knows just how he’d do things better, but a buddy nonetheless. You’ve given him the chance to prove he’s right, and he was declared victorious. A much better outcome than the last PDF course he took, which ended up as nothing more than snipe fodder.
The Skimmer on Games
He still skims the material, but when he reaches the game, the important concepts and information will become much deeper learned and remembered as he figures out how to apply it to solve the game challenge. Most CE game designs offer in-game supplemental information for easy reference and reinforcement, so everything appears to run at his speed and work the same way he does. Games support whatever pace and depth the learner prefers, while still providing active learning on key concepts and information.
With a CE game, he spends much more time in the course than he did when he was just skimming headlines. He learns more, too.
The Blow-By on Games
Guess what? The Blow-By guy is going to be the only type of learner that will avoid CE courses with games in them. Why? Because he can’t finish them in 3 minutes. He can’t speed-click his way through the in-course game(s), and that means he isn’t happy.
He isn’t going to learn anything from the course, which is pretty much on par with where he was with the old, text-based courses, too. Nothing changes with this guy with CE games: you didn’t get him to pay attention before and you won’t get him to pay attention now. So there’s no real loss by adding games here; you didn’t get him before and you don’t get him after.
Bonus: The Under-45 Crowd
The Blow-By’s will avoid the CE games, but you know who won’t? The video gamer generation. They love games, and they will choose courses that have games over those that don’t every time.
This growing audience segment includes the firm leaders and senior designers of tomorrow. As the Boomer generation retires from running their firms, it’s these guys that’ll be taking over. And that’s starting to happen now. You want these established folks and future leaders in your courses, and you want to meet them on their terms and cater to the way they like to learn.
And in-course games is the perfect way to do it.
Contact us today. Let’s chat about how CE games can work in your courses -- be they new courses or refreshed courses. There’s no obligation, and we’ll be happy to answer all your questions. You’ll be surprised at the new low cost of development and impressed with the buzz and preferential selection your courses will get. Let’s talk today!