How VR headsets are the answer to experiencing the world in a new way   A few years back it would be fair to say that many people avoided the idea of using  Virtual Reality  systems because there was hostility to the idea of choosing VR over ‘real life’ experiences. However, as it has developed and more and more people are beginning to use VR within several industries, there has been more curiosity about how far VR can go in providing a fulfilling experience. I mean, can it?  Many people would still argue that it will never be able to provide anything close to the sensation you experience when you’re in the real location but it can improve certain things at least. Some applications have been created,  Google Expeditions  for example, that are designed for students to be “immersed under the water and into imaginary space suits to experience life as explorers and astronauts”. It’s a fantastic way of  educating students  on what it takes to actually be in those situations, what to expect and how to go about things. Students, for the first time, are able to see impossible to reach corners of the earth through just one headset. This application is already being used by approximately  one million  children in the UK and schools love it.  Some of the benefits of this are of course the low-cost. The headsets are cardboard and the app on smartphones cost only  $15.00  meaning the experience is affordable to many.   Totem Learning  have created similar experiences using VR headsets, an underwater experience as well as an island activity where you have to travel around it and collect points at once you reach a target. This helps you get familiar with headsets, opening up a world of possibility. We brought our VR headset along to the  National Enterprise Challenge  and the feedback from the students was brilliant. They all loved trying it out and finding out what they can see and do with it.  The idea behind using VR headsets for educational purposes proves to be a good one. Students are asking more analytical questions, retaining information better and discovering a potential passion.  Lots of  geographical issues  can be incorporated and emphasised within these games so that children can see (almost first-hand) what damage we are doing to the environment which will hopefully make them more aware of their own habits. It’s a  global trend  at the moment and countries all enthusiastic to see what will come of it.

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How VR headsets are the answer to experiencing the world in a new way

Find out how the global education system is embracing VR headsets in the classroom and what impact it has on the students ‘discovering’ the world…

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       A Beginner's Guide to 'E-Learning'     What is it?   We hear the term ‘E-Learning’ mentioned in many conversations but not many of us know what it is, the benefits of it, current trends and future possibilities. To put it simply, E-Learning is the use of electronic media to assist in the learning process, usually in the delivery of a course completed online or on the system. This idea was met with some cynicism but eventually it caught on and now almost every school and business use some form of E-Learning to help develop and train people. It was designed to make learning more engaging and to move with the times as the possession of mobiles, laptops and tablets became common. It’s very much still about interaction, however, which is important to maintain the same atmosphere.   Why use it?   There are many benefits of E-Learning, the first one being that you learn when you have the time and at your own pace. There generally tend to be deadlines but they only help you improve self-discipline, time management and organisation. You can learn without being in the classroom environment which means that the course is accessible to a greater amount of people. eLearningNC  claim that studies have shown that students retain a greater amount of information through ‘E-Learning’ as opposed to instructor-led classes. It’s also very cost effective as a result of all this and staff/students feel happier taking part in something that isn’t typically mundane. Being an electronic system, it is also easy to track progress.     Current trends   elearningindustry.com published an article that looks at the current trends for 2018. What seems to be a big part of the new training is the use of VR and AR within E-Learning which makes for more exciting training. These kind of developments are using equipment like headsets that are becoming more and more commercially available and cheaper to buy in bulk for organisations and institutions. Another one is the use of intelligent assistants (AI) like iOS’s ‘Siri’ who help aid you along the process and understanding. Gamification is also a significant aspect of the increase in E-Learning. Courses are far better when there are elements of gaming are incorporated within them as there is a reward system and a visual reminder of progress. Workplace enablement is also a massive trend for 2018 as companies want all employees to be at a certain standard in order to have a strong workforce with the capability needed.        Totem’s involvement    But what does Totem have to do with this? We are a company that makes Serious Games using VR and AR which means we fall into the E-Learning industry. We are constantly working with clients all around the world to develop games that will help with learning either soft or hard skills and it’s been proven to be a success! We are keen to deliver an immersive experience that is both interesting and fun. We combine psychology, technology and game theory to make the perfect solution, which can be bespoke should you wish. We offer several online training courses which are all about getting people to fill their potential and progress. As it’s a field very much concerned with the development of technology, we are also having to think outside the box when it comes to using the technology available. Many of the trends for 2018 are used by us too as we want to make sure we are up-to-date on all the things we can do to make E-Learning worthwhile.

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A Beginner’s Guide to ‘E-Learning’

We hear this term used a lot nowadays but what does it actually mean? How and why are the world embracing ‘E-Learning’?

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       VR in 'Pop Culture'    At  Totem Learning , it’s fair to say that we all have our favourite ‘pop culture’ crazes. For me, there’s nothing like a good Dystopian narrative with a bit of Artificial Intelligence thrown in. What is interesting to see is the fact that I most certainly am not the only one with an interest in the portrayal of technology and the future of it within pop culture.  Funnily enough, TV shows and films have moved away from the more ‘out there’ concepts like space and time travel and looked closer to home. I’m talking about mobile phones, TV’s, tablets and so on. Things that are in almost everyone’s home. I suppose that’s the scary part about it all. ‘ Netflix ’ is airing it’s fourth season of the critically acclaimed series,  Black Mirror , which is centered around technology that is not yet developed...but that could potentially be developed.  Tech Journalist and expert,  Mike Murphy , was asked a series of questions in an  interview  and in response to a question about technology being used to restore memory (as seen in one of the episodes), he said “the Pentagon is  working on technology  to restore memory to those with neurodegenerative diseases and brain injuries, but this is still likely decades from being something that we could all have access to, and it would probably just restore our own ability to recall memories”, but I would argue this in itself is exciting. Many of the episodes highlight the usefulness of such products and developments but they also show the negative aspects of technology.  Whatever the case, it’s remarkable to see how fascinated people are with  VR  and  AR  in fictional settings. It makes you wonder how people would react in today’s world. Totem have had the privilege of experiencing some of those reactions first hand with  our clients  (many of whom have never used anything like it before) and it really is all captured in their shocked and curious faces. We develop 'off-the-shelf' as well as bespoke games that use VR and AR to improve an individual's learning and development. Our clients, globally, have found there is an increase in performance amongst their employees or students which prove that there is a demand and a commercial future for such technology. Our  GuildWeldVR  game, for instance, allows someone to practice welding with a 3D printed piece of welding equipment without suffering the consequences of slipping up or costing the company money. This has only been achieved through the application of VR and AR to produce such an authentic experience.   I think we’re already in the age of technology but it’s really only the beginning. The rate of development is at it’s quickest and every week there seems to be a new version of something coming out.  Chris Milk , founder and CEO of VR company,  Within , states that: “Virtual reality is the 'ultimate empathy machine.' These experiences are more than documentaries. They're opportunities to walk a mile in someone else's shoes” and this is something Totem allows you to do with our  immersive experiences . It'll be interesting to see what the future holds! 

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VR in Pop Culture

With TV shows like Black Mirror gaining popularity, VR seems to be something on many people’s minds nowadays. But how does Totem Learning fit into all of this?

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       The Age of the Youth?   After last nights gripping match ending in despair for the England football team, it’s important we take a look at how much of a success it was. England got to the semi-finals...something we thought would never happen.  Gareth Southgate  played a massive role and showed us the qualities of a good leader. However, it is his young team that is the focus of the article. What the  World Cup  shows us is that even with a young team who are largely new to something of this scale, there is a drive and a determination to prove themselves. I came across a nice quote about the youth by  Robert Kennedy  who argues that “this world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind, a temper of the will, a quality of imagination, a predominance of courage over timidity, of the appetite for adventure over the love of ease” which is something I think we can see here.  What gave the game some added momentum yesterday was the activity on social media sites like  Twitter  and  Facebook , platforms predominantly used by  young people . It’s fair to say that we live in an age where the opinion of the youth is becoming more and more important. Their voices are put out there...and people are taking note. Big brands are targeting young people because of their social media influence and fearless attitude when trying a new trend. Totem saw this at the  National Enterprise Challenge  where so many students rushed over to try the  GuildWeldVR  game, without knowing much about the product) which was a contrast to the teachers and business people who stood back at a distance and observed with some scepticism before being convinced. The enthusiasm of the young people was what made our day brilliant. They really showed the right attitude and early signs of being potential entrepreneurs themselves.    Many people have compared football, or sport in general, to  business . It’s all about teamwork, communication, strategy and leadership ultimately. Totem believes these are skills that we need to push amongst the younger generation to make them ready for the world of work and reach their potential. The world cup has hopefully inspired many to go out there and achieve their own ‘goals’. What we offer is a series of  L&D  serious games, e.g.  Unlock: Employability , where young people discover what it takes to be a top candidate in the world of work (if that’s a route they want to take). Employers will see this as something that gives candidates the edge. If they know a student has completed these games and done remarkably well, there will be a ‘ talent pipeline ’ which means companies will know based on performance if they are hiring the right person for the job without wasting time. Yes, we may not have got through to the finals in the world cup but it sure has got us all thinking about the potential of young people. I suppose you only really know how good someone will be when you see how they tackle the game.  

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The Age of the Youth?

With the defeat of England last night in the World Cup 2018, we have a look at what positives we can take away from it all and how football links to business skills.

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       How are food companies using 'gamification' in training programs?     What is ‘gamification’?   Gamification is essentially the idea of applying the style of a ‘game’ with rules, points, systems and so on with another activity or agenda to further education, marketing plans, business engagement and more. This is something Totem Learning has been involved in from the off-set.  It’s an industry set to be worth billions so many companies are looking to work with companies that offer this kind of VR experience.   How are they using it?   The Grocer recently posted an  article  about how food companies like ‘Eat’ and ‘Itsu’ are installing computer-game style learning programs across their stores to train employees on how to interact with customers and learn necessary skills for the workplace. They are working with UK-based company, Attensi, who have developed “simulations to generate virtual workplace scenarios”. They analyse the data and give feedback on an individual’s performance which is helpful in determining what they need to improve on and what they’re already good at.     How does Totem also use it?   Totem also develops games to help with learning which has proven to be a very interesting and popular field. We are committed to working with clients to create bespoke packages to help people understand the business as well as identifying gaps and strengths. Totem are currently in talks with ‘Mitchells & Butlers’ now about a potential venture so the future for gamification in the food industry is looking bright, but we work across a range of industries so the opportunity really is endless.    What impact does it have?   I think it’s fair to say that for Totem, Attensi and other companies who are involved in creating games that can fit into a professional environment, teach skills, offer feedback and prove to be enjoyable it has a great impact. Our statistics alone have shown that when these kind of games are used in professional spaces as well as schools and other institutions, there has been an increase in positive results showing improvement and engagement.

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How are food companies using 'gamification' in training programs?

Food companies, Eat and Itsu, recently collaborated with Attensi to develop a game to teach their employees basic customer service as well as other workplace skills.

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       Totem Takes Telford: The Ryman National Enterprise Challenge 2018    Wednesday proved to be an exciting day for Totem Learning. We were given VIP invitations to set up a stall at  The Ryman National Enterprise Challenge , situated in Telford this year by Ben and Michael Dyer, the organisers of the event. If you looked at the scale of the event and the length at which they went to in order to inspire children and give them a platform to see what it takes to excel in the world of business, you would not have thought this had been going on since just  2012  after the two overheard people talking in a coffee shop about children lacking the skills for employment.    The event was to begin at 10 am, leaving the team around an hour or so to set-up and network. Our stall certainly looked techy. We had a TV showing clips of some of the games we’ve developed, a laptop connected to a  3D-printed welding tool  which proved to be the most popular attraction and a couple of leaflets which we handed out to explain to people what it is we do.  As soon as word got around that there was a stall that looked at VR, everybody wanted to come along and see what it was all about. It was wonderful to see the products drawing people in. Not only did it make our job easier, it reminded us that we make games that still generate excitement across all generations. The school kids were our real advocates however. Mark, one of developers, was glued to his seat with a constant influx of children all desperate to beat their scores and their friend’s scores on the welding game. Who would have known welding would be so appealing to Millenials?  One of the students from  Lord Lawson of Beamish Academy  said this was “way better than learning about it all like this”. It was great to see the students teaching each other how it works, proving to us that our product was easy to grasp and ultimately ‘fun’. Olympian,  Patrick Huston , also tried it out and was instantly set on beating his own score. We had quite a few businesses coming up to us, curious about what we do. After a quick chat from Helen, Spencer or Hana you could see a sparkle in their eyes at the prospect of future collaborations.  Just before we were about to pack up, the ceremony began with speaker  Theo Paphitis  among others including last year’s The Apprentice winner,  James White . Helen and Hana even managed to get a photo with Theo before listening to him inspire students with his own journey. The whole event was a brilliant experience and hopefully Totem will continue to travel and captivate people.  

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Totem Takes Telford: The Ryman National Enterprise Challenge 2018 

Totem Learning attended The Ryman National Enterprise Challenge this Wednesday which was a fantastic event to encourage young people to get involved in learning skills and entrepreneurship. Find out how it went here…

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       Two Days with the CNIB       Last week, Totem Learning met with two representatives, Len and Kevin, from the  Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB)  to discuss ideas around developing a game to help raise awareness for blindness as well as teach those who are visually impaired (and their families) some day-to-day skills.  Every year over  50,000  Canadians alone lose their sight. It was figures like these that got us interested in the scale of this project and the real impact we could have on so many lives. Len emphasised how, whilst Canada have a good system in place, due to the country being as vast as it is, so many people lived in remote locations which meant it was hard to have regular face-to-face contact with them. Over two days, Totem and CNIB came up with so many exciting ideas. The process made us all think a lot about the needs of such a specific market, the accessibility of games for the visually impaired and ways to use augmented reality to help. It’s fair to say that everyone had something to contribute which made for a great discussion, leaving CNIB confident that they had come to the right place.  Kevin, one of the representatives, lost almost all of his sight a while back and was very interesting to talk to. We discovered how he learnt and practiced things using apps on his iPhone and what kind of tools are in demand. His story of being a music producer, former DJ and businessman was incredibly inspiring and spurred us on without a doubt. One of our potential ventures was looking into developing an existing serious game of ours, The Business Game, a successful game used in over 10 countries that teaches business skills to young people interested in entrepreneurship and emphasises the importance of decision-making. However, the challenge for us was finding a way to make it accessible for visually impaired people with the same ambitions.  Alongside this, CNIB were also keen to look at using augmented reality to help teach people everyday skills such as frying an egg, making a cup of tea, organising a cupboard or using their cane amongst other things. The technical team had a mission on their hands as they had to find ways to make it possible, effective and not overly expensive as there was a large demand. Increasing the independence of a visually impaired person was at the core of this idea and it appeared to be something that would have multiple positive outcomes. At the end of it all, Totem and CNIB summed up a couple of potential projects with great scope and external collaborations as a possibility which filled both sides with enthusiasm. The prospect of working on this project appealed to us because it meant democratizing learning and giving everyone a chance to discover a love for learning which is something Totem are passionate about.

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Two Days with the CNIB

Find out how Totem Learning and the Canadian Institute for the Blind put their heads together to tackle a brand new challenge…

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       Totem Learning with Len and Kevin    This week we have been working with the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, exploring how  #seriousgames  and  #gamethinking  can help those with visual impairments. Len and Kevin were kind enough to share their thoughts on the two days we spent together in the video below. If you would like to talk to Totem about how we can help you explore how games can help our organisation please do get in touch!   

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TOTEM LEARNING WITH LEN AND KEVIN

This week we have been working with the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, exploring how #seriousgames and #gamethinking can help those with visual impairments.

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       The Unlock: Employability Game        Unlock: Employability is a serious game for the education sector (aka game-based learning). It enables soft skills development for students through immersive, challenging, game play and team work. Set on a mysterious tropical island, learners must work together to solve puzzles and be selected for their dream job.  The game is a 3D, online game, designed to allow learners to practice their employability skills.    Here's what people think of it:   "We initially trialled the game in a lunchtime club and feedback from students was very positive - they said how much fun it was and wished they had more time to use it. So we extended the next session from 30 to 45 minutes which they really appreciated."   Careers and Work Experience Co-ordinator at a Warwickshire Secondary schools.   "Warwickshire County Council is delighted to have supported the development of this game for use in its schools help young people gain more of the skills and knowledge required in the world of work."   Glenn Robinson, Skills for Employment Manager, WCC.   Read more about it  here

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The Unlock: Employability Game

Unlock: Employability is a serious game for the education sector (aka game-based learning). It enables soft skills development for students through immersive, challenging, game play and team work. Set on a mysterious tropical island, learners must work together to solve puzzles and be selected for their dream job.

The game is a 3D, online game, designed to allow learners to practice their employability skills. 

Here's what people think of it:

"We initially trialled the game in a lunchtime club and feedback from students was very positive - they said how much fun it was and wished they had more time to use it. So we extended the next session from 30 to 45 minutes which they really appreciated."

Careers and Work Experience Co-ordinator at a Warwickshire Secondary schools.

"Warwickshire County Council is delighted to have supported the development of this game for use in its schools help young people gain more of the skills and knowledge required in the world of work."

Glenn Robinson, Skills for Employment Manager, WCC.

Read more about it here

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       Blazing the Trail for Female Tech Entrepreneurs    Helen Routledge, CEO of Totem Learning, is showing she is a women who means business. Author of the best selling book, Why Games Are Good For Business and one of the most sought after Serious Games Designers world wide has been a winner in the Women Who Achieves awards for the 3rd year running.  Blazing the trail for female tech entrepreneurs, Helen and her team use Game Design and Game Mechanics to make learning engaging and impactful, leading to improved career opportunities and individual development.   Helen won in the International category because her work with international clients such as The Prince's Trust and FTSE 100 organisations is central to Totems operations. Helen was also selected for the Judges Recognition Award. The Judges Recognition award is selected out of all the finalists. The unanimous decision from the judges, was down to the significant improvement, growth and initiative shown by Totem Learning, Helens leadership and drive and willingness to keep going under the most challenging circumstances.   Helen has overseen the company for the last 15 months and in that time Totem Learning has seen great success including significant revenue and profit growth. Totem has evidenced proven return on investment, increased achievement and performance for learners using its software solutions. This empirical evidence has resulted in Totem winning a Learning Technologies Award for Best Learning Game, against competition such as EY, RBS, and Virgin Atlantic.    Totem also secured the Coventry telegraph Export Award in 2017 and Digital Communications Company of the Year 2 years running (2016 and 2017).   Totem Learning is one to watch - a small development studio based in the heart of the country doing great things.   The Women Who…Achieves Awards are Awards to celebrate the achievements of women in business. In previous years Helen has won, Women Who Inspires (2016) and Women Who Innovates Through Technology (2017)  The judges are made up of business experts including Dr Sharon Redrobe OBE, CEO of Twycross Zoo and Business Woman of the Year, Ian O’Donnell MBE, Owner of web Design company Real Point and National Councillor and Policy representative for the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) in Coventry & Warwickshire, Paul Carvell, MD of the SFB Group and President of the Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce and Emma Heathcote-James, MD, The Little Soap Company.   The judges were impressed by Helen's business experience, achievements, innovation and drive and the impacts her team have made for their clients.   Helen also shares her business story in the I Am A Women Who book which was launched at on the day of the Awards.   About Totem Learning  Totem Learning is a leading, award winning developer of learning solutions which utilise game design and game mechanics (serious games, game-based learning or gamification).  Totem specialises in creating engaging, effective games for career development, raising awareness and behavioural change.  With a core suite of highly interactive, experiential learning games for business, Totem is pushing the boundaries of innovation in the sector, with multiplayer as well as augmented, virtual and mixed reality technology.   Totem Learning  has a product division, where games can be purchased via license fee, or businesses can commission bespoke games tailored to their specific training needs.  Twitter: @ teamtotem

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BLAZING THE TRAIL FOR FEMALE TECH ENTREPRENEURS

Helen and her team use Game Design and Game Mechanics to make learning engaging and impactful, leading to improved career opportunities and individual development. 

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       Celebrating our very own 'Women In Games' and 'Women In Tech'    The team at Totem are incredibly proud of our CEO Helen Routledge who has been shortlisted in 2 categories in the Women Who Achieves awards for 2018. Helen has been shortlisted in the Women Who STEM and Women Who International categories.  Helen has worked tirelessly to keep innovating in her field and is one of the principle thought leaders for using game design and game thinking for learning and development whether it be game based learning, Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality or Simulations.  Over the last year Totem has seen an increase is 64% in international reach and has seen great success across all aspects of the company. We have signed up new partners and our products can now be found on every continent. Something we are all extremely proud of!   “2017 was the toughest year imaginable both professionally and personally so I am absolutely thrilled to be finalist in 2 categories. The others nominees in both categories are exceptional women. I am honoured and humbled to be in such great company.”   Totem is such a vibrant place to work and there are so many opportunities where we can really impact people's personal and professional lives. Every single team member and partner is committed to the vision of using games to help people across the world.  The winners will be announced at the Women Who Achieves Awards on the 27th April at Coombe Abbey and we’re keeping everything crossed!

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CELEBRATING OUR VERY OWN 'WOMEN IN GAMES' AND 'WOMEN IN TECH'

The team at Totem are incredibly proud of our CEO Helen Routledge who has been shortlisted in 2 categories in the Women Who Achieves awards for 2018.

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       How do Serious Games and Gamification Address Adult Learning Theories?    I've written previously about  The Laws of Learning  and how they map to game design and these still ring true, in fact when you look int adult learning there are more and more parallels between how we play games and how we learn.   By understanding how we learn we can design better learning interventions which benefit everyone. Understanding game theory and learning theory means we can better understand learner needs, understand what technology can help learners and meet learners need whenever and wherever they are.    Take a holistic approach to the adult learner   When we graduate from education we are no longer  forced  to 'formally learn'. By that I mean we no longer have to attend classes and pass exams. We enter the workplace and a whole heap of new pressures and stresses enter our lives; we have demands placed on us that we never had before. Learning often takes a backseat to the day job. Therefore as designers, it's vitally important to understand where a learner is emotionally and cognitively when designing a solution.     Why is this learning important?  When it comes to prioritising their time, being able to answer this question is critical! Being able to answer the 'why' provides the motivation and will put your learner into a 'willing-to-learn' state. Games provide the 'why' through compelling narratives as well as building intrigue and curiosity through signposting (think clues), encouraging exploration and allowing learners to build their own why.    What has this learner experienced before, how has it been delivered, what worked and what didn't? What is the current foundation of their knowledge and skill set? Understanding the current schemata will help you to position any additional learning in the right way. It may sound strange but game thinking can be delivered outside of a game. Making any learning process more playful can differentiate your experience from past attempts and create a window of novelty, curiosity, and intrigue to build longer term engagement.   Create your learning in a way that encourages and autonomy and self-directed learning. Games place you in control by allowing you to make choices and understand the consequences of your actions.   Learning by doing - we know we learn best when we apply ourselves to a task. Theoretical understanding is important, but the application is vital to a deep learning experience.     Create cycles of 'Aha' moments   We as humans have limited attention and memory, we're quite easily overloaded. To create maximum engagement and deep learning you need to create cycles of learning. Shift your thinking from a linear path to one of loops, repetitive loops. This doesn't mean rote learning, rather it's about learning underlying concepts and then applying them in different scenarios.  Games provide free form, user-driven experiences that encourage exploration and experimentation that lead to meaningful  ‘aha’ moments . The secret is working with an understanding of the learner and the content and blending them with learning outcomes to create...   Scalable and   transferable   learning    To experience is to learn. Experiential Learning Theory outlines how humans make sense of situations through experiences. Experiential learning helps learners build an emotional connection through content - games are exceptional at delivering this with fantastic storylines and well-developed characters.  Games can also give us different perspectives, we can take on different persons and gain insights into different thought processes that otherwise would be difficult to get across. We've also seen games work particularly well when there are opportunities for reflection and social learning opportunities.  To really create learning that sticks your aha loops need to build in complexity and scale in difficulty. This will provide evidence that your learners understand the conceptual concepts and can use critical thinking to apply them to different scenarios. 

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HOW DO SERIOUS GAMES AND GAMIFICATION ADDRESS ADULT LEARNING THEORIES?

By understanding how we learn we can design better learning interventions which benefit everyone.

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       How our strategy is aligned with the 3 key trends in 'Learning and Development'    Udemy’s recent L&D report has shed light on the direction the L&D landscape is moving towards in 2018 and beyond. Udemy is a global marketplace for learning and teaching online, they reached out to 263 L&D managers to understand where L&D managers are focusing for 2018.  #1 Personalised learning experiences, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning  Currently only 4% of L&D offerings are powered by AI and machine learning today, and no wonder, the whole area is bleeding edge not just cutting edge. Udemys report claims  24% of L&D managers plan to leverage machine learning over the next few years.  Personalised learning and AI is of special interest to Totem. We are exploring how we can capture behavioural data from game play. The entertainment games world has played around with changing narrative and difficulty levels based on player performance so it's only a matter of time before L&D catches up.    #2 Gamification as a game-changer  Despite all of the talk around Gamification only 8% of L&D programmes leverage this tool. However the opportunities and confidence are growing and 31% of respondents indicated that they intend to add gamification to their corporate learning programs to make learning engaging while helping staff retain and apply their new knowledge.  This is definitely reflected in what we are currently seeing in the market place.   Interestingly the report recommends that L&D leaders 'must understand the science behind it and design their programs thoughtfully'. Game design is a very specialised skill set and one that is costly to develop in house if its not your core business. Working with a studio like Totem can speed up your L&D projects and you don't have the overheads of recruiting a game development team.   #3 Virtual reality and augmented reality is gaining ground  VR and AR seems to sit alongside AI and machine learning in terms of rate of adoption with 20% of responders planning to use the approach in the next few years.  AR is fantastic for providing additional information on top of the real world. There have been some amazing applications for physical interactions with IT systems and maintenance for example and the ROI is clear to see.   VR is wonderful when learning needs to be represented at a 1:1 scale and where you need to really feel as though you are there. We've played around with creating enclosed spaces as well as creating compelling and engaging narrative marketing videos. The best use of VR in L&D in our opinion is when you need to create that immediate emotional connection between the player and the environment.   Penetration of technology and new methodologies in the L&D space is certainly a slow burn, but the evidence for the effectiveness of these approaching is developing. Costs are coming down and organisations are becoming more creative in how they view learning and development. Its an incredibly exciting place to be, an incredibly rewarding position to be in and the possibilities are truly endless.        

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HOW OUR STRATEGY IS ALIGNED WITH THE 3 KEY TRENDS IN 'LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENT'

Penetration of technology and new methodologies in the L&D space is certainly a slow burn, but the evidence for the effectiveness of these approaching is developing. Costs are coming down and organisations are becoming more creative in how they view learning and development. Its an incredibly exciting place to be, an incredibly rewarding position to be in and the possibilities are truly endless.  

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       How can games have a meaningful impact?   Games are a concept we are all familiar with. Whether they are board games, card games, games we played at school in the playground or digital games. They each have different mechanics and different styles but they all have something in common; they bring us together, either in groups to play and they give us a shared story tell.   At her recent presentation at Davos, Professor of film and media studies at Dartmouth University, Mary Flanagan, said  "[Games] are methods by which we can have conversations and even change our minds and behaviours.” They are immensely powerful tools that help us learn about persistence and failure, solution and problem solving and that it is ok not to know everything. These traits can be utilised in so many areas of L&D.   Flanagan discovered  four key themes  of how games can make an impact in her years working in game design:    1. Mindset -  Games can lead to open-mindedness and disrupt stereotypes - as games are played repeatedly we start to learn characteristics and underlying systems. At Totem we have used games as a talking point for Diversity and Inclusion training to great success.     2.  Fictionalization  - games are stories, they are not 'real.' They feel real, but they are a safe place to experiment. Flannigan found that the more fantastic and fictional the story, the more effective the message. I would say this depends on what you are trying to achieve. At Totem we use both fantastical and real world scenarios depending on the client need and audience. For us the important focus is story - if the story is good it doesn't matter if its set in the zombie apocalypse or the office - you just need to make it meaningful to the audience.   3.  Associate  - through replay and reinforcement techniques games can help us make new mental associations. We literally will build new connections in our brains and strengthen existing ones when we play games. Games can be a great pre-cursor to training and allow you to build connections between concepts so when you meet face to face or start on the job training those concepts are already embedded and feel natural to your learners.   4.  Rethink  - games can help us rethink perspectives. This is a very powerful effect of games. Used in the right way you can step into the shoes of another and experience what it might be like to be for a day. Flannigan references a game about sexual assault that resulted in a shift in behaviours and attitudes, Totem also created a very similar game back in 2012 and we saw the same result.  A game can present scenarios to a player and with the mechanics of narrative and the emotional connections made, those experiences can be very powerful.  When people play games, their personas or masks start to drop away and the real person will emerge. This is often what we call immersion and engagement, but it is an under-estimated impact of serious games; to reach the real person. When you reach the real person, you impact the real person and start the journey to changeing mindsets, behaviours and actions.    

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HOW CAN GAMES HAVE A MEANINGFUL IMPACT?

Games are a concept we are all familiar with. Whether they are board games, card games, games we played at school in the playground or digital games. They each have different mechanics and different styles but they all have something in common; they bring us together, either in groups to play and they give us a shared story tell. 

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       Soft Skills and the Work Place    Last week I came across this tweet by @MichealRosinYes and it really hit me. It seemed to resonate with a lot of others as well with nearly 5000 retweets and over 8000 likes.     

  

  	
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     Qualifications and grades will always be important and help us understand how our young people are progressing through education, but what is lacking is a balance with the soft skills and more challenging to measure behaviours such as teamwork and good communication. While doing some desk research for another project I came across  The Princes Trust Results for Life Report 2017  and the statistics it reported were staggering.      43% of young people  don’t feel prepared to enter the workforce, with many worried that they lack confidence and soft skills     72% of employees  don’t think they had all the soft skills they needed to do well when they first entered the workplace    91% of teachers  think schools should be doing more to help students develop soft skills   In April this year Totem Learning will be launching our new product  Unlock: Employability,   a serious game for the education sector (aka game-based learning). It enables soft skills development for students through immersive, challenging gameplay and teamwork. Set on a mysterious tropical island, learners must work together to solve puzzles and be selected for their dream job.   Unlock: Employability delivers many benefits but the 3 key areas are;   1.  To train student’s communication skills, a vital soft skill for the workplace. Players will quickly learn that to succeed, they must give clear and concise direction to their teammates.   2.  It levels the playing field, those that ‘shout the loudest’ will not have the advantage.   3.  All communication can be captured and assessed. Teachers can use this information to guide students on any area they struggle with.        </iframe>" data-provider-name="YouTube"         We'll be launching the product in April after a pilot is completed with schools in Warckshire 

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SOFT SKILLS AND THE WORKPLACE

Qualifications and grades will always be important and help us understand how our young people are progressing through education, but what is lacking is a balance with the soft skills and more challenging to measure behaviours such as teamwork and good communication.

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       PSI partners with Totem Learning for a 'new era' of games based assessments     [PRESSWIRE]  London, United Kingdom - 16 November, 2017 --   PSI , the leading global assessment provider, today announced a key strategic partnership with Totem Learning, a leader in Game Design, to provide engaging assessment solutions focusing on key applicant behaviours, motives and abilities. The PSI and Totem Learning partnership will drive assessment experiences that leverage leading gamification assessment principles and provide employers a competitive edge when seeking top talent.     

  

  	
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     Organisations with large annual recruitment programmes, such as ‘early career’, retail and contact centre campaigns, have to balance the rigour of the assessment data they collect, with ensuring an engaging experience to motivate and inspire candidates to progress with their applications. To really conquer this challenge and ensure that the process is fair and open to all, companies are embracing new, digitally engaging methods, including gaming principles.  The partnership brings together PSI’s technology-first approach to recruitment and selection, with Totem Learning’s background in developing world-class, serious games. Games Based Assessments gather insight into candidate behaviour through dynamic and immersive situations, which can generate more genuine responses from candidates than traditional assessments and reduces the likelihood of “response distortion”. The new Games Based Assessment approach from PSI and Totem Learning will help clients select the best candidates through custom products that give a unique and customisable assessment experience.  “Games Based Assessments are growing in popularity for certain applicant cohorts because they align with technological expectations, modern ways of working and the motives of the target groups. We’ve partnered with award-winning games designers, Totem Learning, who offer game design expertise combined with an openness to using applying serious games in new and innovative ways” said Chris Small, VP International at PSI. “The combination of Totem Learning’s experience in serious games and PSI’s assessment design expertise, creates a ground breaking games based assessment solution, underpinned by over 70 years of science and assessment design experience.”    Helen Routledge, award winning game designer and CEO of Totem Learning explains: “Games Based Assessments are an exciting way of testing potential candidate fit for a role and company culture.We are excited about this partnership, giving us the opportunity to develop our games alongside the deep psychological expertise and assessment frameworks built by PSI’s Talent measurement practice, over more than half a century. Our award winning development team are industry leaders, ensuring that forward-thinking employers who start to utilise Games Based Assessments will get powerful, innovative and best of breed solutions.”  The partnership will bring new assessment products to the market for 2018, alongside existing customised solutions for organisations seeking to deploy valid and robust measurement, using the latest gaming techniques.   About Totem Learning   Totem Learning is an award winning developer of engaging and effective simulations and serious games. Totem is pushing the boundaries of innovation in the sector, with multiplayer as well as augmented, virtual, mixed reality  and AI technology. You can read more serious games in ‘ Why Games Are Good For Business – How to Leverage the Power of Serious Games, Gamification and Simulations' , commissioned by Palgrave MacMillan and written by Helen Routledge, CEO of Totem Learning.    About PSI   PSI Services LLC (PSI) has over 70 years of experience providing worldwide testing solutions to companies, governments, professional associations, certifying bodies and leading higher education institutions. PSI offers a comprehensive solutions approach from test development to delivery to results processing, including employment selection, leadership assessments, licensing and certification tests, distance learning testing, licence management services and professional services. More information about PSI Talent Measurement is available at  psionline.com/talent .

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PSI PARTNERS WITH TOTEM LEARNING FOR A 'NEW ERA' OF GAMES BASED ASSESSMENTS

PSI, the leading global assessment provider, today announced a key strategic partnership with Totem Learning, a leader in Game Design, to provide engaging assessment solutions focussing on key applicant behaviours, motives and abilities. The PSI and Totem Learning partnership will drive assessment experiences that leverage leading gamification assessment principles and provide employers a competitive edge when seeking top talent.

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       Totem Turns 5 !    Today we are celebrating our 5th Birthday! It’s hard to believe it has really been 5 years since we opened our doors as Totem Learning and a whole new chapter began. It’s not always been easy, it’s not always been fun, but it has been an incredible journey. From health and safety, to VR welding, from make up to the very  future of learning - our products and developments have spanned a varied and fascinating mixture of sectors.  In 2017, our team had their first foray into makeup for our development team with  WOWHOW . A team of beardy programmers and artists testing an Augmented Reality makeup application was a sight to behold. But they put aside their predispositions and welcomed  their metrosexual side and now what they don’t know about makeup just isn’t worth knowing.  The team has also been building a complex P&L system for a major UK brewer and tool set to feed into our core engine development. And even though it may have caused a few headaches along the way, I think it’s fair to say our programmers should now be awarded a PhD in maths.  One of the most exciting projects we have just completed is visualising the future for Shell in Virtual Reality. The team had a great time working with Shell and together we created something truly special. We even managed to sneak ourselves into the product…     

  

  	
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     And if you are wondering what we look like in real life….(imagine this lot in full make up!)     

  

  	
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     Our year hasn’t all been fun and games. At the very end of January our Founder, MD and friend Richard passed away. Richard started Totem Learning alongside his dedicated team during very difficult circumstances. From the very beginning he was committed to making Totem a wonderful place to work where creativity was encouraged and fairness ruled. He had a clear vision and built an extraordinary group of supporters in the form of our investors and partners. His passion for Totem was contagious and his easy going style meant that he was loved by so many people. He is missed every single day for support, guidance, wisdom and of course that cheeky smile and contagious sense of humour.     

  

  	
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     We were forced to pause and re-evaluate as people moved into new roles and we had a huge hole to fill. Totem welcomed Spencer Holmes in to the team in March as Chief Commercial Officer, to really drive the growth of the business and together Spencer and Helen re-wrote the company strategy, forged new partnerships and expanded our geographical reach through partnerships in every continent in the world (well, except Antarctica...yet).     

  

  	
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     Alongside our growing bespoke development capabilities Totem have recognised that not everyone is ready for a full blown serious game and therefore we have tailored our offering to help customers along their digital learning journey. Our new Consultancy service and elearning offerings provide a lower cost, yet still highly interactive learning option.     

  

  	
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     Social Enterprise is close to all our hearts at Totem and we’ve had the pleasure to continue supporting The Prince's Trust and Prince's Trust International, taking The Business Game into 45 schools in Pakistan after we translated it into Urdu. And of course we have continued to support young people who want to get into the games industry by providing work experience opportunities to give their first leg up onto the ladder.     

  

  	
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     Giving back to the local and international community is incredibly rewarding and 2017 has also been a year of achievement and recognition. Shortly after winning European Serious Games Award in 2016 for the best game in the Business category, Helen was shortlisted and won the Women Who...Innovates With Technology at the Women Who Awards in May.  According to ‘Woman Who…’ the woman who will win this award must prove that she embraces technology in the work that she does and she must be able to demonstrate the use of technology within her business and/or her client's’ business. All the above definitely describes Helen; she is very passionate about blending technology with learning and she proves it daily with the quality of the work she produces. She is constantly developing her knowledge and she wants people to love what she does as much as she does.       

  

  	
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     The Judges selected our Winner as she quite simply “blew them away” in this category. She is a leader in her field, constantly innovating and at the same time developing herself personally.  Totem Learning's Unlock: Project Management has been shortlisted for "Best Learning Game" at this year's Learning Technology Awards. The Learning Tech Awards shortlist follows a year-long research collaboration with Dr Ronald Dyer at the University of Liverpool where the game was shown to have had a direct and positive effect on all key metrics. Average individual results went from 58.6% to 66.4%, standard deviation between scores went from 10.5 to 5.7 and for the first time there was a 100% pass rate.     

  

  	
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     Totem have also been shortlisted for Digital and Creative Communications Company of the year and The Export Award at the Coventry Telegraph Business Awards.  We were shortlisted because of our products and services ranging from consultancy, eLearning, VR, AR and Serious Games. At Totem we recognise the value of creative thinking and design for our clients, all at different stages on the digital learning spectrum. We were shortlisted for the Export Award because a significant proportion of our sales are from outside the UK, with international sales representing 57% of our revenues. Totem’s client base includes customers in 25 countries such as USA, India, Africa, Qatar, Pakistan, Jordan, China and the Gulf States and we have seen a 64% growth in exports in the last 6 months.  Helen, our CEO has also been nominated and shortlisted for Entrepreneur of the Year for the SME awards in Coventry and Warwickshire.  It is absolutely wonderful to do what we do and have fun at work, but it is the absolutely icing on the cake when all our efforts are recognised.  Of course none of this would be possible without the fabulous forward thinking partners we have had the pleasure to work with in this time, of which a few are highlighted below.      

  

  	
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     Totem continues to be a thought leader in the serious games and gamification industry and our strategy has been built to keep us ahead of the 'GAME'.      

  

  	
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


       Happy 5th Birthday to all at Totem Learning, we have collaborated on 2 projects in Shell and both times I have been blown away the inventiveness, eagerness and flexibility shown by all the team, it’s very hard to identify what it is that you do better than your competitors it’s a certain something that you can’t put your finger on.. which is great because it’s hard to replicate. If you think that when you were 5 you were just starting your Learning by going to school.. then fast forward to 10 you felt like you knew everything and then by 21 you were certain that whatever you did it was the best way.. I can see that by the time I am writing a similar message in 5 years Totem will be bigger and better again and I look forward to witnessing and in some small way contributing to that success. Andrew Goose, Global Learning Advisor Customer Operations at Shell Oil Company      Warmest 5th Birthday wishes to Totem Learning. At EmployabilityUK we have had the privilege of working with Richard and more recently Helen and the team on some exciting projects. We are looking forward to bringing SmithCity to life in 2018. Warmest wishes. Di Vernon and the team at EmployabilityUK.      Happy Birthday. It’s been great working with you. Wishing you many more years success. Richard Newton - Initiator of Unlock Project Management.      Happy Birthday, May the lord bless you with long life and all the happiness, Best Regards, Ajay Desai, Trade Director, Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, Department for International Trade.      Running a small business is tough, running a small business that makes ‘serious’ games is even tougher. The past 12 months must have been especially difficult and upsetting for Totem but you’ve clearly weathered the storms and are flourishing. Well done. Andy Yoeman, Focus Games Ltd.      Happy Birthday! - in the short space of time that we have met, it’s been excellent. From the moment I spoke to Helen via Skype to our meeting in Eustons, our business relationship and I guess friendship has blossomed. Our two days at Totem just summed up what an awesome team that you guys have assembled. The friendliness, the passion, enthusiasm and genuine sincerity has been awesome..Btw, I really do hope that the Totem does receive an award on the 29th Nov because it genuinely does deserve it. To be short listed amongst the big boys alone is a great achievement and showcases that even a small amazing gaming studio from Coventry can deliver brilliance and magic! Either way it will be a good night! Peter Lazou - Popcourne.      On the felicitous occasion of your fifth year of existence, I wish you joyous celebrations and ongoing success. May the gods of fortune bestow multitudinous blessings. Wishing you all the best, Clark Quinn.      Happy 5th Birthday to Totem! It’s an impressive achievement for any small business to reach the 5-year milestone but, for Totem over the last 12 months, it’s especially significant. Being here today and thriving is down to the spirit of the team (there’s no one quite like it that I’ve ever worked with) and the strong leadership at the helm of the company. I hope that, on your Birthday, the whole team takes a few moments to reflect on their clear successes and look to the future that, by the sounds of it, will be overwhelmingly award-winning! Suzee Laxton, Strategic Economic Development Officer, Warwickshire Council.      Wow 5 years! I certainly can't even imagine how challenging it is to navigate through such a tough time. I am happy that you are continuing to move forward and doing what Richard would have insisted...keep going! All the Best, Jim Rustad, President at NoCéDu.      Totem Learning  is dialing Serious Games to 6. Five years ago the company started with the bold vision that Serious Games could have a wide array of business applications. At the time the idea was met with skepticism by many business organizations. A mere half a decade later it is amazing to think about how far Totem Learning has come: a world-renowned serious game developer backed by people who have combined their creativity, diligence, and passion to support this vision. Congrats on your fifth corporate anniversary, Totem Learning! Wishing you many more years of success, making great games and having fun doing so! Eliane Alhadef, Serious Game Market Editor.      Congratulations to Totem on five years of creative excellence and joyful learning. May the next five be even better!, Robert Becker Entrepreneur, Director, Designer, Producer of Adult Learning.      This is the Five-Year anniversary of  Totem Learning Limited . Five years is a high-water mark; four years is like the River Styx,  as any small business owner knows.  The future should be very bright for the serious games market, because we all need to get better at our game, and playing serious games is probably the only way to lure us out of our comfort zone so we can learn. Ann Rutledge Founding Principal and CEO, R&R Consulting.      Happy 5th Birthday to the team at Totem, still smiling after all the trials of 2017. Good Luck for the next 5 years” Judy Lambourne Senior Business Advisor Innovate UK - Enterprise Network Europe  Midlands.    A birthday is a time to reflect on the year gone by, but to also set goals for the upcoming year. Totem are working on an incredibly exciting and groundbreaking new approach to serious games which we will be unveiling in the not too distant future. We will continue to work with our excellent partners taking our products and services to the global market and move into some exciting new sectors.  But for now we would like to take this opportunity to thank all our wonderful supporters including our investors, our staff and of course our clients. Without you we couldn’t do what we do.

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TOTEM TURNS 5 !

Today we are celebrating our 5th Birthday! It’s hard to believe it has really been 5 years since we opened our doors as Totem Learning and a whole new chapter began. It’s not always been easy, it’s not always been fun, but it has been an incredible journey. From health and safety, to VR welding, from make up to the very  future of learning - our products and developments have spanned a varied and fascinating mixture of sectors.

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       Prince's Trust Mosaic Enterprise Challenge 2017    Prince’s Trust Mosaic Enterprise Challenge has been successfully completed for one more year. This year was special for the organisation because it was the celebration of their 10th year anniversary and their first year under Prince’s Trust roof. It was also, one of the most successful years for the competition with almost 5,000 students from 107 schools across the UK taking part and competing in ‘ The Business Game ’ and the Ethical Assessment. The Mosaic Enterprise Challenge is an annual business competition that helps thousands of young people increase their aspirations, confidence and self-motivation by having relevant and effective role-models to look up to and engage with.      

  

  	
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          
           
              The winners of Mosaic Enterprise Challenge 2017 with the judges.  
           
          

         
      
       
    

  


     The Grand Finals took place on Wednesday the 18th of May at Hogan Lovells International in London and the country’s top six teams had to pitch their business ideas to a panel of judges which included Mohammed Amersi, CEO and co-founder of Emergent Telecom Ventures, Nick Pickles, Head of Public Policy at Twitter, Vanessa Arelle, Entrepreneur and Founder of TeenzApp, Francisco Menjibar, Principal at Apax Partners and Fadi Itani, Deputy Director-General at Qatar Charity UK.  All the teams were amazing and their business ideas were second to none.  On the day of the finals, the students had to play ‘ The Business Game ’ for the last time and the top scoring team managed to score over £7,000,000 on our business simulation.  This Year’s winner was Skinner’s Academy which is a secondary school and sixth form with academy status in London; the students won £2500 for their school, £500 to help invest in a business idea and specialist mentoring to help them bring that idea to life, winner’s trophy and afternoon treats which included a private capsule in the London Eye.   Congratulations Skinner's Academy!  If you would like to get involved follow  @mosaicnetwork    Read more on the Mosaic Enterprise Challenge  here .

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PRINCE'S TRUST MOSAIC ENTERPRISE CHALLENGE 2017

A run-down of the Prince's Trust Mosaic Enterprise Challenge Grand Finals 2017.

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       Woman Who...innovates through technology    You can probably imagine how proud we were, when last Friday, Helen Routledge won a  ‘Woman Who’ award for  the second time. In 2016 Helen won Women Who inspires for her work and passion and we heard on Friday 5th May that she had won the Women Who Innovates through Technology’ award.  According to ‘Woman Who…’ the woman who will win this award must prove that she embraces technology in the work that she does and she must be able to demonstrate the use of technology within her business and/or her clients’ business. All the above definitely describes Helen; she is very passionate about blending technology with learning and she proves it daily with the quality of the work she produces. She is constantly developing her knowledge and she wants people to love what she does as much as she does.   The Judges selected our Winner as she quite simply “blew them away” in this category.  She is a leader in her field, constantly innovating and at the same time developing herself personally.     

  

  	
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     2016 and 2017 have been a tremendous year Totem Learning. Most recently we were awarded Digital Learning Company of the Year in the Coventry Telegraph Awards 2016 and Helen was awarded the 2016 Women Who Inspire Award which was a fantastic achievement. We have also won Best Serious Game for Business 2 years running (2015 and 2016) in the Serious Games Society Awards.  Helen says:  In terms of my designs I typically have to address subjects that are challenging to design for, typically because they are very dry subjects, but these are the areas in training that show the most need; the courses that have the lowest retention rates, the poorest satisfaction levels of the areas where businesses are losing money. Two recently projects Unlock: Leadership and Unlock: Project Management were real passion projects and very challenging both from the design perspective but also from a development perspective    Like many people in the L&D industry, I’m driven by a desire to help people fulfil their potential and I hope that by creating games that learners want to play repeatedly, our end users will rediscover that natural love of learning.     What has become clear to me as I have progressed through my career is the need to demystify technology for our clients; both in terms of production process and what is possible with games hardware and software to realise what they can achieve in their business. Therefore I made the decision to write a business book, ‘ Why Games Are Good for Business ’, to speak the language of business men and women to speed up the sales cycle. The book is a practical toolkit for those who want to learn about more serious games and how to apply them in the workplace.    It is my goal in life to push the boundaries of what learning platforms can do and to challenge learning and development culture in terms of technology and design principles. It sounds almost cliché but I truly do aim to affect the lives of learners, to make training and learning more enjoyable and to help businesses succeed through knowledgeable and engaged employees.     Woman Who… launched in 2016 and are delivered in partnership with the FSB. The women who awards is a much needed platform which recognises the achievements of Women in Business and Rising Stars who are still in education or training and working toward a first career.

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WOMAN WHO...INNOVATES THROUGH TECHNOLOGY

According to ‘Woman Who…’ the woman who will win this award must prove that she embraces technology in the work that she does and she must be able to demonstrate the use of technology within her business and/or her clients’ business. All the above definitely describes Helen; she is very passionate about blending technology with learning and she proves it daily with the quality of the work she produces. She is constantly developing her knowledge and she wants people to love what she does as much as she does. 

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       How can a game help you learn project management skills?    When I think ‘game’ I instinctively think of hopscotch or something similar from my childhood. Suspecting that my retro association is restricted to me, I asked the rest of Team Totem what comes to mind when you say game. Here’s what they came up with:  Children  Play (a lot of the Team said this one)  Board  Design  Rules  So, I’m less alone in my thinking than I thought. This leads me to suspect that equally some readers of this blog will have the same sorts of associations to the word ‘game’. If you do, it might leave you wondering how it’s possible to create a structured learning experience from a game – something that is so closely linked to childish play.        Learning from games.  Is it possible? Of course, it is.  I think it’s important to firstly recognise that any game or play (irrespective of how frivolous it might seem) has the potential to teach someone new skills or knowledge. In fact, if you think about children, most of their early learning is through game play. It’s clear that there is enormous potential for both fun and learning to coexist quite happily in the game.  If you’re thinking this principle only exists with children, you’d be wrong. Look at the amount of time and money spent on gaming. Instead of another industry-wide stat about the billions of dollars the gaming sector is worth, here’s an illustration of my point from a (nameless) member of Team Totem who has spent over 2,900 hours playing Dota 2. That’s 120 days! The rest of Team Totem had similar stories about the time and money they’d spent on various games. Over the time spent playing these games, skills are finessed, new techniques learnt and more levels unlocked.  The compelling nature of games is indisputable. The learning opportunities games provide should be equally indisputable, especially when you throw serious games into the mix.        The difference between games and serious games.  Put simply, the difference comes down to whether the game is being designed for purely entertainment purposes or whether there is another purpose, for example learning a specific skill.        Learning project management skills from a serious game.  Coming back to where we started with this blog – why can’t a game help you learn project management skills? – and I’m wondering ‘Well, why can’t it?’. It absolutely can.  A well-designed serious game (i.e. the opposite of  this ) has the potential to teach project management skills in a more compelling and engaging way than could be expected from traditional online learning. An example of this would be our serious game, Unlock: Project Management.        What you can expect from Unlock: Project Management.        
      It’s a single-player game comprising 6 levels that take you through the stages of planning and implementing a project. The game uses a high-pressure project scenario. A disaster has decimated the island ‘Cataleyo'. People need help, quickly! The player is tasked with providing quick-to-build, low-cost shelter for the affected population. The player must seek out information, understand what is required and meet those needs by organising resources, assessing risks, staying in budget, prioritising tasks and satisfying stakeholders.  Each level is scored and offers feedback on the learner's progress. In-game characters give feedback and there is the opportunity for self-assessment. Accompanying material provides further insight into successful project management.  It’ll take you approximately 2 hours to play through the whole game and, once done, you’re welcome to keep replaying the game as many times as you want. You can try out different strategies to see how it affects the outcome.     Interested to find out more?   Play our demo  or check out our  Unlock: Project Management page .

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HOW CAN A GAME HELP YOU LEARN PROJECT MANAGEMENT SKILLS?

When I think ‘game’ I instinctively think of hopscotch or something similar from my childhood. Suspecting that my retro association is restricted to me, I asked the rest of Team Totem what comes to mind when you say game. Here’s what they came up with...

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