Books on Games, Virtual Worlds, Simulations, Cognitive Studies, and Performance Improvement

In the cue-

Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World by Jane McGonigal


Neuromancer by William Gibson; an old science fiction/cyberpunk book, but where much of the thinking on VR/VWs got started. I guess Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson would come next.


The Gamification of Learning and Instruction: Game-based Methods and Strategies for Training and Education by Karl Kapp

Fun Inc.: Why Gaming Will Dominate the Twenty-First Century by Tom Chatfield

Infinite Reality by Jim Blascovich and Jeremy Bailenson
Note: great book. Well worth the read. Will post a blog once I digest my thoughts on this.

Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School by John Medina

The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right by Atul Gawande

Learning in 3D: Adding a New Dimension to Enterprise Learning and Collaboration (Essential Knowledge Resource (Pfeiffer)) by Karl Kapp and Tony O’Driscoll

Learning Online with Games, Simulations, and Virtual Worlds: Strategies for Online Instruction (Jossey-Bass Guides to Online Teaching and Learning) by Clark Aldrich

Previous Posts

Every Day is Game Day

Within the circles of instructional design and learning fields that I travel in I often  hear talk about incorporating games as a great idea but one that needs to be approached carefully with decision makers. The decision makers feel that game is a dirty word, one upon which much scorn will be heaped dare they use it. So they hide the term with a number of other double speak terms (interactive assessment, low fidelity simulation, etc.) lest their designs be revealed and made fun of.

This is all a bit ridiculous. Let me tell you my friends that every day is game day. Let’s just consider the following:

  • Game Theory: just do a quick search of the term using Google, Bing, or any search engine. Its origins and exploration can be found in military strategy, economic studies, biology, and other important bodies of knowledge. Serious stuff, eh? Of course you may remark, these are serious games but then..
  • 10,000 hours= time children are in school from 5-12th grades= time outside school children are playing games (how is that for an equation!). Where do you think that child’s attention is more focused? Further to this, survey research shows that today’s children now spend two hours per day playing video games or some type of simulation vs. one hour of TV (hey they’re watching less TV, so that must be good!). Ah, but you say that these are children and not adults…
  • 70% of the Apps on (Apple) Itunes purchased are games, mostly by adults (and yes, mostly by women); need I say more.
  • What is the most watched TV program on the planet? American Idol, the Eurovision Song Awards, the Olympics (OK, you were close)…No. It is the World Cup, with over 3 Billion viewers, that is almost half the world’s population.
  • Look around you. On the subways, waiting at the airport, on buses, and even occasionally (so I hear) at work, besides updating their Facebook pages (is it a game?) or answering email, people are playing games. Casual games, serious games, simulation games, competitive games, they are all there and people playing them are engaged, so much so that they miss a train, a plan, a bus stop or something else (yes, mea culpa) while engrossed in a game.
  • Open your ears. Games are part of our language: get in the game, who’s got the ball, take one for the team, we scored a touchdown, hit it out of the ballpark, here’s the playbook, trying to game the system, game day, we’ve got game, in the zone, top of their game… and the list goes on.
  • When a person is involved in a game they are more engaged vs. passively listening to a lecture.

My firsthand experience has shown that when I present a class with a lecture they tend to sit back vs. standing up and actively seeking information.

Are you game?

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