Game-based Learning Toolkit

Our goal is to allow people to better communicate and understand each other. This allows them to become empowered, happier and more effective in the tasks they choose to pursue.

The experiences and workshops we deliver are designed to take people out of their day-to-day comfort zones and place them in a voluntary space that allows for a greater and deeper learning experience. Using the various tools, mechanics and elements within the gamification and game-based learning process, we aim to immerse the user fully into that voluntary space. Thereby allowing us to more effectively deliver learning, training and specific knowledge transference.

Our objective is to improve and promote soft-skills and solve team-oriented business challenges, with this in mind, we are always focused on the end-user, the participant of the experience, and are dedicated to working with our clients to ensure that the end-user gains the fullest benefit of anything we deliver.

æStrangers's approach

Every project is unique, and every client is different, despite the fact that we have ready-made experiences, each can be tailored and personalised to your needs and requirements. Each partnership offers new opportunities and challenges, we therefore pride ourselves on our flexibility and our methodological approach to every project.

Gamification tools, game-play, game mechanics & game elements

With these tools, mechanics and elements, we are able to determine what each point in any experience offers and requires in order to achieve the desired effects and behaviours in the participants. Some can be applied independently, and others can work in conjunction with each other to create an outcome that is greater than the sum of its parts.

This outline provides us and our clients a framework of how we work and how we are able to deliver the intended results of our experiences. For each new project we analyse and apply the correct tools for what you need. Below is the full overview of everything we use.

Design exploration

Customer Exploration
Company Exploration Session
With you we explore who you are, what you offer and where you fit. Together we brainstorm and prototype experiences that fit your needs and requirements.
Identify Key Stakeholders
Identify Key Stakeholders
We will interview users and key stakeholders to discover their needs and requirements. And through this gain understanding of how best tailor experiences to them.
Resource determination
Resource determination
Through a collaborative deep dive and research into your company, which includes survey’s and interviews, we will determine what resources are best suited to delivering an experience you desire.
Quantitative and qualitative product & service research
Quantitative and qualitative product & service research
Using both data gathered from surveys, analytics and through interactive observation we can determine the most beneficial actions and outcomes for your customised experience.
Industry & Competitor Analysis

Separate from the exploration sessions, we will conduct out own research on your industry & competitors and combines these with any research that you have done as well, to develop a better understanding of the type of experience you require.

Brand Perception
Brand Perception research

Along with the industry & competitor analysis, we will also explore your brand perception. By sending out survey’s to current users and researching with potentials, we will aim to determine how our experiences can aid in improving your position in the industry.

Business Objectives

Team & Audience
Team & Audience

Through stakeholder and user interviews, we can determine the why’s and wants of your players and company. This knowledge will help us aid you determining the correct objectives and desired outcomes that you need from our experiences.

Define & List Goals/Objectives
Define & List Goals/Objectives

As we explore the goals and objectives that you want and need, as well as those of your players, we can start to define which are of the highest priority right now. We generally aim for 1 to 3 high priority goals, to be able to deliver the best possible outcomes.

Audience Objectives

Connecting Business Objectives
Connecting Business Objectives

While we work with you, we will start to connect your business goals with those of your audience/players. Ensuring that these align is the key to a successful experience for everyone.

Persona Creation

During the development of a tailored experience for you and your players, we start to create persona groups to better identify motivations and needs. We do this through database research and analytics information of your users and stakeholders.

Persona Models

To better develop persona groups for your tailored experience, we will use various tried and tested persona models in gamification to esnure we are hitting the right motivators for your players.

Database & Analytics research

Using your databases and analytics research, and augmenting them with our own research, we will be able to create more accurate persona representations of your players and target audience.

Behaviour Analysis

Through qualitative and quantitative research, we will explore what current behaviours the persona groups exhibit and determine with you what the best methods are for moving them to the desired behaviours within the experience.

Refinement - Subgroup Creation

As we develop the experience and gain more information on the users, we will start to refine the person’s into subgroups to better target their needs.

Persona Interviews

During the creation of the persona groups, we will conduct interviews with ‘representatives’ of those groups to check and reference our assumptions against the reality of the individual’s wants and needs.

Learning Objectives

Teamwork
Teamwork

Each experience focuses heavily on teamwork and the inherent skills required to make it effective. Your users will further develop and apply: communication skills, collaboration, negotiations, compromises, delegation, etc.

Critical Decision-making
Critical Decision-making

Our experiences deal with critical decision-making skills and how to develop them for improved decision making based on incomplete or limited information.

Working under pressure
Working under pressure

Almost every experience has a limited time aspect to it, incorporating real deadlines with specific requirements that need to be achieved in the given time frame. Thereby creating a realistic state of stress and pressure for your players. 

Time & Resource Management
Time & Resource Management

Many of the experiences incorporate resources as a mechanic, thus teaching your players the skills required of how to best divide tasks and resources, and to achieve the maximum possible success in the time given.

Problem-solving

Many experiences require your players to solve various complex challenges and puzzles that involve research, data analysis, lateral thinking and collaboration to complete successfully. 

Data gathering & analysis
Data gathering & analysis

The ability to do research, gather information, analyse and comprehend the data in an appropriate way so as to frame it with reference to the experience, and that it can be used effectively.

Strategy Development
Strategy Development

Key part of various experiences is that they require players to develop plans and strategies and to be able to execute them effectively and successfully.

Learning Benefits

Intrinsic Motivation

Each experience is designed to be an immersive one that encourages engagement with the inherent learning objectives and with the other players.

Just-in-time learning

As each experience is in real-time and live-action, players will gain immediate & applicable knowledge and skills that are relevant in the moment and beyond.

Experiential learning

With real-time events, players are placed in to quick and efficient feedback loops to better embed their learning.

Risk-free environment

These experiences offer an opportunity for experimentation with fictional consequences, allowing your players to fail often and learn rapidly from those failures safely.

Quantitative skills

Your players will be able to develop & improve their quantitative skills in an unpredictable and practical team environment.

Independent learning

Players are encouraged to be autonomous in their learning objectives and needs, thus leading to a more personal, deeper and meaningful learning experience.

Variational learning

Each experience offers various alternative means of engaging different learner and players types, thus allowing for a broader learning experience across all participants.

Behaviours & Actions

Win Condition Creation
Win Condition Creation

Win conditions are an essential part of any experience as it allows players to aim for something and to give the relevant feedback as to whether they were successful or not. It also allows us to determine whether the desired actions were taken or not.

Fail Condition Creation
Fail Condition Creation

The Fail condition may even be more important than the Win condition element. With a failure there is more learning involved and more data as to the reasons why the desired actions and outcomes were not reached. Allowing for better iterations and progress for all.

Experience Journey Mapping

Discovery phase
Discovery phase

The discovery phase is where and how your players will come into contact with the experience. This is the first impression and will determine the level of engagement from your players.

Onboarding phase
Onboarding phase

The onboarding phase is where your players, once engaged, will start to learn the basics of the experience. It can be seen as the tutorial phase. 

Scaffolding phase
Scaffolding phase

The scaffolding phase expands upon the previous phase, cementing the learning that your players have gained and taking them through the experience proper with ever increasing levels of difficulty and complexity in the challenges that they face.

Adept phase
Adept phase

The adept phase, also known as the mastery phase or endgame, is the stage where your players will have mastered what is required of them during the experience, and have achieved a successful outcome.

Theme Choice
Theme Choice

Having the right theme for your experience can make difference between whether your players engage or disengage. Therefore we thoroughly explore what is the right choice for the outcomes you desire.

Platform Consideration
Platform Consideration

Choosing the right platform is incredibly important for the success of your experience. Together with you we explore whether an analogue platform or a digital platform is best suited for what you want to achieve with your players.

Motivators

Purpose
Purpose

Purpose is in the intrinsic driver that resonates the most with your players. It is the message, the reason, the story that speaks to them on a personal level and engages them fully in the experience.

Mastery
Mastery

Mastery is the acquisition, progression and steady improvement of a skill that player will go through in pursuit of a goal. Mastering a skill is what empowers players and motivates them to continue.

Autonomy
Autonomy

Autonomy is the freedom of choice for your players. It is a balance between the availability of a choice and the ability to make a choice. Having this freedom motivates players to explore an experience with confidence.

Esteem
Esteem

Esteem is how the player perceives and feels about themselves and how others feel and perceive them. These perspectives motivate players in act in ways that create value and deliver value from others.

Belonging
Belonging

Belonging is the social element that players find when they engage with each other. It is the motivation to communicate, collaborate and seek out like minded individuals to be continue an experience.

Safety & Needs
Safety & Needs

Safety and needs is the delicate balancing act where players are weighing up the risk versus the value of an experience. Limitations, scarcity, agency and urgency are the motivators most employed here.

Feedback

Game Mechanics
Progress
Progress

This is the clear visual indication and/or understanding of how far your player is on their journey within the experience.

Mystery Box
Mystery Box

A mystery box is the pseudo-physical manifestation of curiosity and surprise combined. It can be very satisfying but also very addictive.

Curiosity
Curiosity

This is the sensation and drive of your players to continue to discover and explore an experience. It must be stimulated continually for it to remain effective over the long-term.

Timers
Timers

Timers are effective methods in creating urgency and agency in your players by giving a clear visual and cognitive understanding of a deadline drawing closer.

Scarcity
Scarcity

Creating limitations and rarity within an experience is another method of creating urgency but also in forcing careful decision making due to possible finite loss.

Strategy
Strategy

Strategy in essence is the ability for high level decision making based on limited information executing with confidence in order to achieve a desired outcome.

Consequences
Consequences

Each action has an equal and opposite reaction. Understanding and experiencing this is a valuable method for feedback and is one that many players need to go through.

Sunk Cost
Sunk Cost

The more investment is placed into something, the greater its value becomes. Players will experience that value comes in many different shapes and that not all things can or should be valued equally.

Exploration
Exploration

Exploring and discovering new paths, objects, and ways of thinking is and should be the core of any experience for a player. It is a necessity in feedback and learning.

Easter Eggs
Easter Eggs

Easter eggs are unknown but welcome surprise rewards for players that explore and go the extra mile or go off the beaten track. They are the best rewards for those who are adventurous.

Unlockables
Unlockables

An unlockable is something rare that players can only receive by meeting the pre-requisites for that something. It is a strong way of creating value through investment and surprise.

Customisation
Customisation

Players will always be more invested in an experience in which they are allowed to express their own uniqueness. Customisation in the environment or avatar, or anything else increase investment and engagement for the player.

Boss Battles
Boss Battles

Boss battles are the defining moments in a players journey where all their previous knowledge and experience must be consolidated and tested to determine whether they are good enough to continue on with their journey.

Access
Access

This is a catch-all term for the effect of allowing players access to content and experiences. Opening up content and features improves engagement, collaboration, communication and investment in the players for the system.

Collecting & Trading
Collecting & Trading

One of the strongest methods for creating relationships and promoting communication is by having a system of collecting and trading items, service or information in an experience. Players are de-facto forced to engage with each other in this way.

Gifting & Sharing
Gifting & Sharing

Allowing players a method of altruism is a strong motivator and incentive to create communities and relationships. And it allows for players to reciprocate the good deed/intention, further cementing relationships.

Voting
Voting

Voting is the name for a system with which players can be given a voice and be heard. The intention is for equality of opinion in a community, and that all voices should be heard and considered. Use this feedback mechanic with extreme care.

Game Elements
Tutorials
Tutorials

The experience should experiential to learn. Players no longer wish to learn by reading through long streams of text, an experience is better if the player is able to learn by doing and build upon that.

Guides
Guides

Guiding is a feature of just-in-time learning, where players are escorted along the experience in case the miss something or get lost along the way. Players should never feel as though they are being left behind.

Theme
Theme

Theme’s are similar to genre’s, in that they are the overarching feel of the experience. A theme dictates the aesthetics, the methodology to an extent and the story of the players experience.

Narrative
Narrative

Narratives are the stories within the experience. If the theme dictates the feel, the narrative is the linear unfolding of how the story of the journey is experienced by the player.

Teams
Teams

Teams are social constructs within the experience. These can be systemic or organic within the experience, allowing for either promotes community and belonging for your players.

Social Network

As communities and relationships are important for players, having online and mobile social networks where players can keep in constant contact is another method of promoting engagement and social investment for them.

Status
Status

Status is the manifestation of esteem, as players enjoying seeing themselves and by others as valued individuals. This another method of creating meaning and engagement with time investment and adds an element of belonging through the social interaction of reciprocal value.

Challenges
Challenges

All players want to be challenged, testing their knowledge and to be able to apply it. Challenges are the primary learning mechanic within any player experience. And can vary depending your players needs and abilities.

Quests
Quests

Quests are a sum of challenges with a clear overarching end goal. Linking a series of challenges creates a larger narrative for the player that they can more clearly and easily engage with.

Levels
Levels

Levels are a method of determining a players progression through an experience. It is a clearer system of progression as various intrinsic and extrinsic effects can be created around a leveling system.

Experience Points
Experience Points

If you wish players to have a more personal, and detailed method of tracking progression, then experience points allows them to specifically see what activities generate points towards an eventual end goal.

Leaderboards
Leaderboards

If you wish for your players to be able to compare themselves to others in a very direct and visual manner, then leaderboards are the fastest of achieving this. The recommendation to always have the leaderboard be a comparison of the immediate best and worst players, rather than the overall out of everyone.

Badges
Badges

Badges are a visual indication of an achievement. Though each badge should be connected in value to something that was learned, experience, tested and earned. Without these your players will see little meaning in receiving a badge.

Economy

Many experiences allow for rewards to be virtual currency, or exchanged for virtual currency, these can be used inside a virtual economy, increasing investment and engagement for your players but also a sense of community. Collecting, trading, gifting and sharing are additional mechanics within this one.

Rewards
Random
Random

Random rewards can surprise players, dramatically increasing their engagement through the mystery of what the next reward may hold. But this mechanic is best used sparingly.

Fixed
Fixed

Fixed rewards may not be as exciting as randomised rewards; however they offer an established point to which players can aim and be assured of what they will receive once they accomplish a task.

Timed
Timed

Timed rewards can be fixed or randomised, the additional mechanic for these is that players are given a sense of urgency and agency in achieving a task that is given to them. Even the most mundane task can be made exciting with a timed reward.

Certificates
Certificates

Certificates, much like badges are a visual depiction of an earned achievement. Certificates have the added connotation that a player is receiving a more legitimised representation of a specified achievement, adding in the Status mechanic into this one.

Design

Gameplay
Space management
Space management

Spatial understanding and the ability to strategically asses spaces is what space management refers. In certain experiences, players will be forced to consider their environments or limited spaces and how best to use them for the objective required.

Resource management
Resource management

Resource management is the most common form of where players must strategically handle the limited resources, they are given in order to use them to the maximum potential and still achieve the main objective of the experience.

Puzzles

Puzzles are a method of creative problem solving that allow for players to apply their knowledge in an unconventional way. Puzzles incorporate various mechanics and challenges in order to test the players current applicable knowledge.

Dispensability
Dispensability

Allowing for flexibility, volatility and continual change is requirement in any experience. Dispensability is needed feature in allowing players to fail and be able to dispose of that which caused the failure, learning from it and improving upon it while moving forward.

Competition
Competition

Competition creates urgency and agency in players, as many have the intrinsic urge to prove that they are more successful at a task than their peers. Adding this into an experience will create a move aggressive motivation within players.

Collaboration
Collaboration

Players who collaborate are able to achieve outcomes greater than if they were alone. Promoting both communication and community, this feature is at the core of many experiences.

Prediction
Prediction

Often players are given limited information, either perfect or imperfect, complete or incomplete. And depending on the situation they will need to make a decision due to time or resource limitations, and these decisions will often be predictions based on the limited information they have.

Building
Building

Building is a creative endeavour and a collaborative endeavour at times. This feature incorporates several others, such as space & resource management, collaboration and at times competition if multiple teams are involved.

Survival
Survival

Survival again is a combination feature that can incorporate both collaboration and competition, as well as resource management. In general it is typified by a sense of urgency, in that if survival is not achieved, then death is the result of the failure.

Loss Aversion
Loss Aversion

Loss aversion is a powerful motivator as players do not wish to lose what they have earned and what they perceive to be of value. With the threat or consequence of loss, players will go the extra distance to avoid this outcome.

Technology

Simulation
Simulation

Simulations are effective vehicles for allowing your players to enter a different world and experience. Simulations can be either digital, virtual creations or physical, role-play experiences – either is effective for specific needs and outcomes.

Voice Interface
Voice Interface

At times an integral part of various other technology offerings, voice interface allows for a more direct connection and greater accessibility for your players.

Virtual Reality
Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality is one of the most immersive technologies when you want to engage your players. It is also the most demanding in terms of development.

Social Media
Social Media

Social media has become part of the fabric of society and is a powerful method for allowing players to connect with each other, anywhere, any time and with anyone.

Robots & Chat Bots
Robots & Chat Bots

Automation is useful when you need to interact with players regularly. Incorporating bespoke robots and chat bots into your experience will grant a desired level interaction with your players, while freeing up your time.

Product Design
Product Design

Any offering or experience for you will be done through a rigorous and tailored product design methodology, in order to ensure a high-quality deliverable that is specific to you and meets your needs.

Platform
Platform

Depending on the experience you wish to deliver, the platform will vary from digital to analogue to whatever you require in order to engage your players successfully.

Neuro Interface
Neuro Interface

As technology becomes ever more integrated, neuro or neural interfaces will become more prominent when your players will interact with various technology offerings. Taking these technological possibilities into account will grant you an edge when delivering your experience to your players.

Mobile
Mobile

Every experience delivered to you players should have a mobile component. Players will demand and expect it, as they all wish to be constantly connected, as well as have the ability for just-in-time learning and instant applicability of their learning.

MMORPGs
MMORPGs

MMORPG’s have been around for a while, and there is the possibility of leveraging their multi-community models and community areas to improve the engagement and communal feeling for your players.

Escape Rooms
Escape Rooms

On the more analogue side of the technology spectrum, Escape Rooms are ideal environments to promote problem solving and collaboration for your players in your experience.

Board/Card game
Board/Card game

Board and card games are easy to use and understand modes for delivering experiences to your players. Requiring almost no advanced technology on a basic level and having everything in a box allows for a greater ease, accessibility and engagement for a multitude of players.

Augmented Reality
Augmented Reality

Augmented reality allows your players to be even more immersed and engaged in your experience, by adding a digital aspect to your analogue experience. Through AR a broader learning can be delivered to your players.

Playful Experiences
Playful Experiences

Allowing your players to role-play, play with objects or free-play is a very a liberating experience for them, as it allows them to enter spaces and perspectives they wouldn’t normally, enabling them to learn better and to retain more of the learning.

Metrics

HEART Framework
HEART Framework

The HEART framework, developed by Google Labs, is one of the better methods of measuring human interactive experiences. Since it allows for you to determine the goals posts, signal recognitions and metrics yourself, you can measure your players Happiness, Engagement, Adoption, Retention and Task Success of your experience.

Before vs. After testing
Before vs. After testing

Before vs. After testing is a mainstay of many measuring systems and is a valuable one for determining the overall and long-term effectiveness of your experience. Knowing how your players were before and how they are after will give you a very accurate and insightful view to the success of the experience.

A/B Testing

Engagement numbers are a metric used in a variety of systems and gives you an idea of how interesting and successful the learning of your experience was to your players. This is done traditionally by both facilitator and player survey. Digitally it can be seen by how long the player remained on an activity before completing or giving up.

Observation
Observation

One the most basic, but most effective ways of measuring an experience is by observing your players and seeing how they engage and interact with the experience they are partaking in.

Survey
Survey

Survey’s are a very effective methods of gathering information around specific data points with your players. Questions can be either targeted or given a scale/spectrum to determine the sense, feel and disposition of your players during and/or after an experience.

Focus Groups

Having varying groups go through different experience can yield useful data in determining which aspects are successful and/or effective with differing groups. Using focus groups can be cumbersome but they are very useful.

Interviews

The best way to discover information from your players is by questioning them directly. Through this we can discover their intellectual, mental, cognitive and emotional states of what they experienced, and directly use this information to improve and iterate.

Prototyping

Paper prototype
Paper prototype

“Paper prototyping” is the description for creating a dispensable version of the final product or experience. This may sometimes take a physical shape, but can also be the outline of the concept for you to test.

Play-testing
Play-testing

When a ‘prototype’ of your experience exists, play test will be conducted to determine is efficacy and viability when it is delivered to your players.

Design Referencing
Design Referencing

For every experience, a design or roadmap created that we and you can reference to determine and ensure that we all stay true to the initial aims and objectives of the experience you need.

Player Feedback
Player Feedback

Player feedback is gathered at every step of development and deployment and is used to iterate, improve and alter as required in order to achieve the best possible experience for your players.

Iterating
Iterating

Iteration is the process of using all possible data gathered to review and change the experience as needed in order to improve it and make it more engaging for your players.

Production

Project management
Project management

We take a holistic approach to every project and experience we develop for you, planning out and executing in detail the specific goals that you wish to achieve with the experience we create together.

Development team

For each experience and project there will exist a development, this can be a singular person or multiple people, depending the size and scope of the project. And each team will work closely with you to achieve your desired outcomes.

Live testing

Once the prototype experience has been developed, one of the stages is to lie test with possible players. This is done as both to gather feedback from those unattached to the project, and to stress test its ability to make contact with the ‘opposition’ as it were.

Live Launch

The final stage of every project and experience is to launch it live into world for your players to enjoy it fully. The collaboration does continue if needed and required, in order to fine tune it for your players.

Support

Observation
Observation

Observation is the most non-invasive method of gathering data on an experience that your players are undergoing. We will observe how players interact with each other, the narrative and the engagement mechanics within your experience.

User Analysis
User Analysis

User analysis is done with our various feedback metrics to track how your players engage with your experience and how they are interacting with the various aspects that are within it.

Maintenance
Maintenance

For every experience we develop with you, there will also be a level maintenance offered in order to ensure that the experience continues to move smoothly for your players.

Future Planning
Future Planning

We aim to always have a plan in place for future developments with your experience, trying to anticipate what may be required and what your players may desire.

Group Creation

Orientation
Orientation

This is the initial stage where individuals in a group meet each other for first time and learn about the Problem & Objective set before them. Here each individuals determines the limitations, resource and additional attributes of the Problem.

Formation
Formation
At this stage each individual has become familiar with the Problem & Objective of the challenge, at which point they are ready to begin learning about each other. From here you can see roles and persona’s starting to arise among the individuals in the group.
Opposition

There will often be a stage where conflict occurs within the group. This is a natural occurrence as individuals come to terms with the need to work together. Members of a group express and air their own opinions, listen to each other and eventually come to a compromise.

Normalisation

Groups will organically establish implicit & explicit rules for how they interact internally. Opposition can continue in this stage until the group conforms and normalises in accordance with its internal rule system. Once this occurs the group can review and clarify the problems and objectives and start identifying, raising and testing ideas around possible solutions.

Execution

At this stage the group will be a single unit, and fall into a state of flow, engaging in a brief moment of intense team productivity in order solve the problem and reach a positive outcome.

Culmination

The final stage is where the objective has been achieved and the group reaffirms their’s decisions and choices made in order to achieve the outcome. Depending on the project the group may transition into a follow project or disband and move into a feedback session to reflect on what has been achieved.

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