On Demand Webinar

How To Make PowerPoint More Engaging with Games

We hosted a webinar with our partner, eLearning Brothers on Mar 10, 2020. In this webinar, we explored how to make PowerPoint more engaging with games.

Let’s talk PowerPoint. You love it. You hate it. We get it, us too. We recently came across an amazing statistic: over 300 million PowerPoint presentations are made every day and the average PowerPoint presentation lasts 4 hours. Wait. What? 4 hours? Sadly, according to the Forgetting Curve, 90% of that beautiful (albeit long) presentation will be forgotten a couple of days later.

This article gives some great tips on how to communicate better using this ultra-popular tool (eg. less text, more images, shorter).

But, why not go a step further. Since the average attention span is hovering around 8 seconds, we need to really up our game to keep our audience engaged with (yes, you guessed it) a game! The Training Arcade® games are easy to create and adding one to a PowerPoint presentation is a perfect way to keep the energy and knowledge retention high.

What is the Benefit of Games?

When you think about training overall, you think about the fact that there is a lot of passive learning (eg. lectures, watching videos, reading training manuals). Games fall into the active learning category and along with learn-by-doing, discussion and re-teaching the material to someone else. Game-based training is more of a dialogue than a monologue. You can get your learners more immersed in the content and therefore more engaged. They are then able to retain the information on a much deeper level. Here are some points you need to think about before launching a game-based learning strategy:

Which Game to Choose?

There are so many games out there, it can be overwhelming. The first thing you need to do is map the right game to your performance objective. Ask yourself: how do you want your learners to improve? What are the skills you want to see improved? Here are 5 typical skills trainers often focus on:

  • Decision making
  • Sequencing
  • Visualization
  • Describing
  • Recall

Find games that align with those objectives.

What do you want the experience to be?

Do you want the experience to be collaborative or competitive? Or maybe you want both. You could have sales teams competing against each other in a room or even in an eLearning format.

How do you plan on using this?

Do you want it to be in a classroom setting with an instructor, or at a larger setting at a live event. Or do you want to make your virtual eLearning more engaging?

The 8 Games in The Training Arcade®

The Training Arcade® is an authoring tool with a library of pre-built game templates. There are 8 games in the library, each with a different game-play experience and each one trains different skills.

Branching Path Games

Our Scenarios games is a branching dialogue game where you can put different characters in different situations. You can tell a story that your learners can relate to. You can create different quests and different challenges. Ultimately the decision someone makes is going to take them down one branch or another. Feedback on the learners’ choices is provided along the way, allowing them to course-correct. With this game, you can leverage eLearning Brothers templates and library of assets or you can have The Game Agency help you build a more robust experience with video production, animation and / or voice over talent. This type of game is great for teaching decision-making skills. Using this type of game in an eLearning environment is a great way to help learners make choices, see what works, see what fails and ultimately give them the opportunity to master that challenge in a “safe” environment.

Sequencing Games

Our Sort-It game helps a learner identify the right category or the right order that something should be in. This is great for sales training, for instance, to help a pharmaceutical salesperson understand the process used when a doctor is prescribing medication. We’ve also seen quick-service restaurants (QSR) use this game to train new employees on an ingredient map and to be able to identify what goes into each of their meals and what order it needs to be prepared.

Visualizing Games

Our Recall game in The Training Arcade is perfect for training visualization skills. It’s an investigative game that tests the learner’s ability to retain details about something without knowing what to pay attention to beforehand. With this game, you can provide images or play videos that require the learner to recall what they saw.

Describing Games

Our Scramble game, similar to Wheel of Fortune challenges the learner to really think about the content on a much deeper level. If they are able to spell a term or unscramble a sentence, then they really understand the concept sufficiently.

Recall Games

We have 3 games on the Training Arcade that help with this type of learning. They are Trivia, Jeopardy®!, Jump and Match. These types of game mechanics bring popular game shows and media into the classroom for further engagement. There are several ways to structure the questions in these games; you can do multiple choice, text input, multi-select, image match, and polling or all of the above.

What do all These Games Have in Common?

First, all of these games provide safe zones, where players are encouraged to explore, practice, fail and ultimately master skills. When a player feels comfortable playing with the content whether it’s in an eLearning or classroom environment, the more you are going to get them to engage with the material and master it.

They also have 3 things in common, they all have rules, strategies, and goals. Think of the game of baseball, to ultra simplify it, the rules are 3 strikes, your out, the strategies are curve balls, bunting and stealing and the goal is the team with the most runs win. So when you create a game, you need to keep these things in mind to ensure your learners accomplish the desired goal at the end.

How to Build Games Natively into PowerPoint

Calvin Cummings, a PowerPoint developer at eLearning brothers showcases some of the templates you can use. The first game, he reviewed is called Maze Master. In this game, the player controls an explorer whose navigating his way through a maze. The player is presented with questions (on the training content) at each intersection within the maze. If the player answers incorrectly, he’ll be sent to a dead-end and will have to return to answer it again. If they answer it correctly, they move on to the next intersection where they are presented with another question. This game is quite simple to implement into a PowerPoint. This particular game can be done as a single-player experience or in group play. This is a fantastic way of using games in an ILT environment since it can create a dialogue. You can have your whole group going through a quest or challenge together. Like any branching path game, it’s just as important to go down the wrong path as it is to go down the right path because you learn what the consequences are of that decision.

The next game he reviews is a baseball game where if the learner answers the questions correctly, they are able to score points. Since this is a point-based system, the learner will be more motivated to gather more points to score higher. There is also a higher level of difficulty with this game and it also requires a bit more customization. This game is great for sales meetings where you can create competitions between districts.

The next game is an Escape the Office game. Where the learner has to find clues to move out of the room. The learner has to really explore and pay attention to their surroundings to find clues. You can take pictures of your own office so that the learners can really relate to it. Or you can find images in eLearning Brother’s asset library.

These games are very easy to share either by uploading them to your Learning Management System (LMS) or by sharing them via dropbox or Google drive. The PowerPoint does not have be shared in edit mode for the games to be played. As long as they can view it, they can play it. Here are some additional resources about PowerPoint at eLearning brothers.

How Can You Embed a Game from The Training Arcade® into PowerPoint

Live Slides is a great tool to use to take a url from a game you created in The Training Arcade and embed your game into PowerPoint. You can download the tool onto your computer. The icon shows up in PowerPoint if you have a PC or if you have a Mac, you can find it in your applications folder. You can then copy and paste the link of the game that you built in The Training Arcade into the search bar of a LiveSlides window and click to insert. In Preview you’ll see a black placeholder for the game but when you present, the game is visible and will launch to play. It’s a seamless experience from the slide right into game-play, making your PowerPoint presentation much more engaging.

How to Measure Your ROI

There are a lot of HTML5 games out there and several that you can build in PowerPoint and what they both have in common is how they take a passive PowerPoint presentation to a more active and interactive experience. That’s going to result in a higher retention rate.

The one difference with the games you build in PowerPoint and the web-based games you can create in The Training Arcade is the data. The Training Arcade’s robust analytics dashboard unveils individual and group patterns of play. Here are some of the metrics you can analyze:

  • number of users, sessions and questions answered
  • session length
  • game scores
  • % correct
  • ranks
  • behavioral trends

You can see this data real-time and pivot based on the results. If you see that there is one question that no one is answering correctly, you can pause the game and discuss. The analytics is also useful if you want to send out the game before an event as a pre-assessment to really understand what the learners need to understand better. We feel this is critical because the more data you have, the more you can ensure your employees understand the content and augment your training to focus on those nuances where you see learning gaps.

How does The Training Arcade Integrate into Other Platforms

The Training Arcade games can be embedded into just about any eLearning tool such as Storyline, Lectora and Articulate as a web object. The games are also xAPI ready and SCORM compliant so they can easily be uploaded into your LMS. They can also live on your website also. Lastly, they also all have single sign-on (SAML & OKTA) & user authentication.

Many organizations don’t have the bandwidth to create complex eLearning games, but still want to provide engaging content to their learners. We explored how to build games directly in PowerPoint and how to import games from The Training Arcade, an authoring tool with a library of pre-built game templates.

If you have the vision, creativity, and time to build your own games you will certainly see improved learning and comprehension outcomes in your organization.

Don’t have the time? Consider hiring The Game Agency or eLearning Brothers custom developers. Our bench of designers, developers, game engines, and robust library of static and video assets, pre-made courses and templates can help you push the limits on PowerPoint to make it fun, interactive, and data driven.

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