In addition to discussing Gamification, I also wanted to take one
of my January blog postings and talk about ARG.
The term ARG is batted around from time to time as a method of
conducting training programs but there is a lot of confusion around
Let's look at the terms, to help define the terms, I asked Koreen
Olbrish who is a self-described--opinionated and snarky
entrepreneur, instructional designer, learner and mom who has
experience developing ARGs and who blogs at Learning in Tandem for
her expert input.
She contributed an entire chapter to my upcoming book explaining
the two terms and has created ARGs and implement them
Here is what Koreen wrote in the chapter:
Alternate reality games (ARGs), also sometimes called pervasive
games or transmedia storytelling, are designed to combine real life
and digital game play elements. So that you are playing the game
in the real world but doing behaviors that are linked to the game.
Typically, Alternate Reality Gamess are "tracked" online but the
actual game play consists of real life activities. There are many
entertainment-based examples such as the games, I love bees, The
Lost Experience,Numb3rs Chain Factor and examples of ARGs for
social issues such as Urgent Evoke, World without Oil.
Here is a video explaining "I Love Bees"
There continues to be a lot of confusion in the term ARG--some
people use "alternate reality games" and "augmented reality games"
interchangeably. For a point of clarification, alternate reality
games refer to game play that integrates real life and online game
play through a storyline that seeks to engage learners in an
experience that seems real. While augmented reality enhances
reality or adds something to it. For example the yellow first down
line superimposed on the football field is augmented reality. Often
smartphones are used with Augmented Reality Games.
Here is an example of an augmented reality game.
The really confusing part comes in when augmented reality is used
as part of an alternate reality game. To keep them straight, think
about the meaning of the words; "alternate reality" seeks to create
a different reality for game play purposes. "Augmented reality"
adds additional information to real life environments and
Here is a great video from BMW that shows the potential of
augmented reality in the realm of training:
Here is one done for the military. Notice all the heavy and bulky
equipment...remember, cell phones used to be heavy and bulky as
well. The technology is shrinking and will soon be in a training
center near you.
So yes, you should begin to care about ARG, they have the potential
to be powerful instructional tools that can allow a true
performance support system. I think the BMW example clearly shows
how to mix training with on the job actions. The military example
could be used for teaching such skills as negotiations in a highly
sophisticated branching simulation or for teaching people how to
insert artificial hips or even how to deal with upset
Technology is driving a number of interesting advances in learning
environments. The important thing for learning and development
professionals to realize is that the basic understanding of how
people learn and what it means to motivate learners does not change
with technology. Now more than ever we need to know and put into
practice evidence-based guidelines for developing instruction.