Issue 28
Learning CAN be fun. Training SHOULD be fun. Training Games ARE fun!
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In this Newsletter...

Brain-Based Learning
In his book, Human Brain and Human Learning (1983), Leslie Hart argues that teaching without an awareness of how the brain learns is like designing a glove with no sense of what a hand looks like–its shape or how it moves. There is little doubt that the evolution of our current educational system must be credited more to historic events such as the invention of the printing press in Germany by goldsmith Johann Gutenberg (1439), and the Common-School Reformer's efforts (Horace Mann, 1840 - arguing that common schooling would create good citizens, unite society and prevent crime and poverty), than to a focus on the very thing responsible for the way we learn; OUR BRAIN!

Today as we come to better understand how our brains work, the 300 lb. gorilla seated in the corner of the room raises his hand and sheepishly asks "How can we deploy this earth shaking revelation about how we learn to the less than impressive means and methods we've adopted for teaching and training?" "OF COURSE", a resounding chorus responds, we'll use Brain-Based Learning! The school system, as told by Hart, would become an "exciting center where there is constant encounter with the richness and variety of the real world" as opposed to a "dreary egg crate of classrooms…almost empty of anything real one might learn from."

The following are just three of the findings from brain research (Stevens and Goldberg, 2001) that might be applied when considering instructional design

1. Brains are specialized, and not equally good at everything. This means that in order to maximize learning instruction we should consider the different types of learning modalities. Most students have a preferred and a secondary modality for learning commonly called learning styles. These preferences involve receiving information through auditory, visual or kinesthetic means (Clemons, 2004). Ninety percent of learning is visual with eighty-five percent of the brain wired for visual processing. Pictures, Graphs, Charts, Diagrams, Flow Charts, Mind Maps are just some the many visual modalities for presenting new information. In addition, most of us use a combination of learning styles. Grinder's (1991) work tells us that, "In every group of thirty people an average of 22 are able to learn effectively as long as the instructor provides a blend of visual, auditory, and kinesthetic activity." So the more senses you engage, the more chance of retention.

2. Brains are designed for fluctuations rather than constant attention. This statement begs a shift to learner-centered versus instructor-centered learning. We understand that it is difficult to hold attention for longer than 15 – 20 minutes, yet our educational systems are most concerned with getting the information "OUT rather than IN." Naturally instructors under curriculum constraints opt for instructor centered methods which are efficient but lower learner retention levels. Lecturing, although a quick and easy means of delivering learning content, at first achieves a respectable 70% retention level (within the initial 10 -15 minutes). However these levels quickly plummet to 20% for the remainder of the class. Our brains are constantly taking in information from the environment and tend to become easily distracted when we perceive instruction to be less than meaningful. It becomes essential to consider and introduce learner-centered, activity-based training to engage and hold the learner's attention.

3. Positive emotions and less stressful environments are critical to leaning. In an article by John Medina (, he cites the experimental work of Megan Gunnar with chronically stressed babies from Romanian orphanages. Gunnar found that babies adopted from the orphanage prior to 4 months of age did well in their ability to socially adjust and learn in school while a second group adopted after 4 months of age exhibited antisocial behavior, poor self-calming and deregulated serum cortisol (a stress hormone). Their grades were in the toilet, and they were always in detention. Gunnar stumbled upon a critical developmental period within infancy which highlights the effects of stress on learning and our ability to cope. Furthermore from an article by By Jeffery A. Lackney, Ph.D. ( "brain research also suggests that the brain learns best when confronted with a balance between stress and comfort: high challenge and low threat. The brain needs some challenge … Stress motivates a survival imperative in the brain. However, too much anxiety shuts down our opportunities for learning. The phrase used to describe the brain state for optimal learning is that of relaxed-alertness." Practically speaking, this means that instructional designers and educators need to create learning places that are not only perceived as safe learning havens, but also spark some emotional interest and engagement.

There is little doubt that tools need to be developed and educational facilities built which will allow instructors to provide training compatible with the way our brains work. Realizing learner-centered training is important is a first step, the challenge is finding delivery mechanisms that are easy and work!

NEW TGI Board Games
Everybody loves a good board game and we have 2 new ones, 123 Board Game and Dare Board Game. Both games present your training questions while you roll the dice and move your game pieces around the board. And both start at just $59.99 for a Single User Lifetime License.

In addition you can get both of these great games in a Combo Pack starting at just $99.99. For more information or to purchase:

123 Board Game | Dare Board Game | Combo Pack

Products From TGI
Contact [email protected] or call 602-750-7223

Free Icebreaker Game

We've included a free TGI PowerPoint or Excel based Ice Breaker Game in this newsletter and promise to send you a free game with each and every issue! These games are great fun, and will make your meetings, presentations and training sessions more interactive and engaging. Right-click and save the file to your computer. The download link is only active in newsletters sent out to TGI subscribers.

Why Training Games
Why Training Games
By Mick Riley, President
Training Games, Inc.

When we were born, our parents taught us everything from potty training to riding a bicycle. They did it with love, determination and quite often, a game. In kindergarten, the teachers had a major problem overcoming our short attention spans and used games and other involving activities to teach us. Then something happened, gradually, as we moved through the school system. The teacher's first priority became getting through the lesson plan. Children became bored and teachers used grades as a yard stick as to how well we did in school. Even our loving parents rewarded us for good grades, and the learning became secondary. It got even worse in college. Professors held lectures and the end result was always how you did on tests and what your grades were. We (the students) were responsible to learn, however the professor was not responsible for teaching. We were under pressure to get good grades, not to learn something. We forgot the lessons we learned in childhood.

What did we really learn in school and college? We learned that school and learning was boring. The process of learning was tedious and monotonous. Learning or training is the key to everything in life. If we lose the desire to learn, we lose everything. In sales, there is a saying that goes, "Nothing happens until someone sells something". That's not true. Nothing happens until someone learns or is taught something. It is the basis for using our intelligence. Personal note: I am not saying that all teachers and professors fall into the above description, but enough to make the above scenario appear to be true to students.

What happens after school - we get a job. The first thing we do is learn the job. A trainer teaches us what we must know to do the job. The two most common ways that a business teaches an employee; make them read a manual or listen to a presentation. Both of these are boring and do not engage the employee in the material. Over the years, we have tried to improve this process but unfortunately we forgot the early lessons of our parents. They used games to involve us in learning something and keep our attention. What makes us think that we have outgrown this developmental model? The objective is and has always been to learn something new. We learn most of the things we will ever know before we reached the 4th grade. Learning requires motivation; you cannot have one without the other.

I was in corporate America for over 30 years and attended numerous training sessions for various reasons. As a manager, I had to set an example for the other people attending the training sessions by trying to be involved in the material. Most of the time, this was difficult. The material was presented in a one way process. Read the book, listen to the presentation, do the workbook. Nothing that involved us in the process, we were third party observers in the process. Even as a trainer, I was tied to the corporate paradigm for how to train. Our parents used games to teach us, not because they were fun, but because they worked. To use an old phrase, we need to get back to basics.

Training Games return us to that tried and proven method of teaching someone something. We get them involved and interested in the process. They have increased retention of the material and pay more attention during a game than they ever would during a presentation. Most of our games are team games for the same reason. As adults, most of our activities are done in teams. Our family is a team; our business is a team; our local work unit is a team. The interaction of teams also increases the effectiveness of playing a training game or the learning process. TRAINING GAMES – GETTING BACK TO BASICS!

At Training Games, we have several different formats of games. We use Excel and PowerPoint to create our games. To help make your selection process easier for you, here are the major differences between our games. Our Excel-based XF games are the most involved, giving you the greatest number of playing and control features. They are macro intensive games.

All of our PowerPoint games do not use the "questions database" that our Excel games do. Questions must be edited or entered directly on question slides. We have two types of PowerPoint games. Games without macros and games with macros; VBA macros are what allows us to give these games complexity and setup features. Our six-pack games do not use macros and are the simplest of our products. They do use custom animation, colorful graphics and engaging sounds to make the games more interesting. They are also the only products we have that can be used on an intranet or secured internet page. Our other PowerPoint games use macros and have an increased level of complexity and features. They include the PowerPoint Presentation game and the PowerPoint Board games.

Don't be afraid of the fact that we use macros to write our games. It is the only way to develop a solid, quality game. You will never see a macro. Macros are the automated steps that take place when you press a button in the game. The only thing you need to be aware of is to set your Trust Center or Macro Security level to allow macros to be used. Other than that, the macros are seamless when the game is used.

At Training Games we are committed to creating and providing you with the best training tools we can produce. As many of our customers have found out, our customer service is the best in the industry. We are committed to the idea of training games and stand behind all of our products.

TGI Affiliate Program
Earn a whopping 43% commission by promoting our training games. TGI's affiliate program gives you the opportunity to sell Training Games products on your website. Simply copy and paste product links into your website. Click here for detailed information or to enroll as an affiliate today.

Featurette #1 - Attach Outside Files to Questions
This is a special monthly column called "Featurette" and focuses key features placed in many of our TGI Games. Each month I will highlight a feature of our training games and discuss why it is important. We are doing this because as we talked to our customers that have purchased and used our products, many of them still don't know all of the great features in these games. When I talk about a feature, it does not mean that it's in every game we have. It just means that if you like the feature, you will have to buy a new game. (Sorry, that was a blatant sales plug)

This month let's talk about the ability to attach outside files to questions in our games and make them flow with the game. All of our games have this ability. It is what makes them different from other training review games. Our Excel XF and our entire PowerPoint line of games have this ability. In the Excel XF games, there are four buttons that appear on the question and answer pop-ups. For each question, you can have additional text, a sound file, a picture or any outside file appear. This is a very powerful feature. It turns all of our games from a review tool only into a new material presentation and review tool. Let's go through the steps to create a game. Look at the material to be presented. List the key points from the material. The key points will become the questions in the game. Develop the questions and answers and enter them into the game. Now you have an outline of the things you want your people to come away from the meeting with. Now for each key point or question, develop the material to support the point. This could be more text, a picture/graph and/or an external short PowerPoint slideshow. I like creating a short one to five slides PowerPoint slideshow (saved in PPS format to automatically play when started) and attach it to a question. When playing the game, the question appears. If this is new material the group will not know the answer but they will know the key point you are going to present to them. Present the material and ask the player or team that is up to answer the question. Of course they will get it correct (this gives you immediate feedback). If they get it wrong – press the buttons and go through the presentation again. Don't worry about who wins the game. All the questions will be answered correctly. That's OK, because this is new material. Later, at the end of class or at the next meeting, you can play the game again with the same questions. Don't review the new material unless needed. This will be the review of your material and serve to reemphasis the key points. The game has become your framework for your training program. You let them know the key points (questions), the material to support the key points and reviewed the key points with them. All of this while playing a game.

In the PowerPoint games, you can add a button to each question that does the same thing as the above. If you have more than one thing to present, use additional buttons. Instructions are in each PPT game for adding these buttons to your questions and pointing to an external file. I have also seen these buttons used in other ways. Record another voice and attach it to a question, when presenting, press the button to emulate another person talking to you during the question. Or record the question to be played. I have also seen someone attach a funny picture or comic to a question to make a funny point or comment. I have even seen pictures of the trainees that were taken earlier. That's it for this month.

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TGI Deal? Game XF
Deal Game Ultima
Our Deal? Game XF is based on the popular television show "Deal or No Deal" except that participants must answer your training questions to keep the values they choose. Add this great game to your training program! All the excitement, sounds and tough decisions of the real game!

Will they take a chance and buy the lockbox or play it safe and take the offer?

For full game features description, go to:
(Single User License $ 99.99)

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Famous Quotes
James R. Newman - "Games are among the most interesting creations of the human mind, and the analysis of their structure is full of adventure and surprises."

Emily Dickinson - "The brain is wider than the sky, for, put them side by side, the one the other will include with ease, and you beside."

Nathan M. Pusey - "The teacher's task is not to implant facts but to place the subject to be learned in front of the learner and, through sympathy, emotion, imagination and patience, to awaken in the learner the restless drive for answers and insights which enlarge the personal life and give it meaning."

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TGI has everything you need to produce a professional, dynamic, top-quality presentation, whether you are designing a new presentation or program, or simply enhancing an existing one.

We offer an online store full of a broad range of high quality, one-of-a-kind products that have worked for thousands of customers from a wide range of industries and backgrounds. These include reasonably-priced Microsoft PowerPoint presentations on topics popular business topics from Assertiveness Training to Time Management. All of our resources are ready for immediate download and can be in your hands in minutes. Here are some of our available titles and a link to more information
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Submit Your Articles to the TGI Newsletter Today!
Submit your articles on learning, training, training games, brain based learning. We will review for relevance, and if approved, publish them in our upcoming newsletters. We will also reference your e-mail address and website for readers to learn more about you. Contact [email protected] for additional information.

Training Games Inc.
Gary Trotta, CEO
4545 E Hedgehog Pl
Cave Creek, AZ 85331
[email protected]
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