Let the Games Begin

zisforcardIn our training, we often use games as a way of solidifying information we have been introduced to via PowerPoint, lecture, etc. through active learning. Although some scoff at the idea of using games in adult education in particular, I have observed that even, the class members who grumble at first, end up having a good time and even more importantly, learning. During one of our first experiments in gaming, an older member of the class stood up and told us that although he expected to sit passively and listen to others drone on in a dark room, he was very pleased to find himself engaged in the process and learning. He said, “This is real learning!” We were thrilled and even more so when we saw the test results.

Gaming in person is relatively easy to prepare, but what do you do when your course is online? Here are some options out there that I would like to share with you:

Flash Cards – A great way to solidify information in the brain through repetition. Children use them all the time, but adults can benefit from them as well, particularly when you add in audio, video and images. Two to try (free) are:

Flippity.net – I found Flippity when I was looking for a way to introduce flash cards online for free. They also have other games you might want to introduce as well, including Quiz Show (Jeopardy), Crossword, BINGO and Hang Man (wish it had a different name) and more.

The flash cards are very easy to create, with one caveat. Publishing them and sharing them is not straight forward. I only use them occasionally, so remembering how to publish is always an issue. I recommend that you write down the instructions for future use. It will save you a lot of time and frustration.

To create the flashcards you download a Google spreadsheet and insert your questions and answers. You can choose to add an image or video, but they must be online already because it requires a URL. For videos you are creating, I recommend uploading them to YouTube. You can change the settings to “public, not listed”. This will allow anyone with the URL to see the video but not list it for the public. Images are a bit trickier. If you have access to Box, you may upload the image(s) to Box and then share it with anyone who has the URL. Copy the URL and place it in the question or answer section of the spreadsheet.

Flashcard Machine – One of our Field Specialists, Heather Bryant found this free, online flashcard creator. I signed up for an account (quick and easy) and proceeded to make a set of cards. It is all done online within the program (no downloading a document), which I find easier.

To start, create an account (easy) and add a new card set. Click on advanced editor to show your first card. The front and back are shown at the same time, which I like. You get all the usual choices, such as bold, italic, font family, color and image. You upload an image by clicking on the image icon, choose new if you are uploading a new image or click on the drop down list for a display of images you have already added. Choose an image from your computer, upload, align, choose dimensions, give it a name and insert. You may also move, re-size the image once uploaded.

Videos – This program does not use videos, so be aware if you wish to add a video you should go with Flippity.net. I tried to insert one including using embed code and URL, but no luck. Hopefully, this is something they will add in the future.

Audio – This is a great feature and one I am sure to use in the future. You can either create an audio elsewhere (I recommend the free program Audacity mentioned in a previous post) or record in the program. This is great for clients/students with visual disabilities.

Flip cards are also useful when you have a face to face class and want to add another layer to the learning process, particularly with difficult to remember concepts. Create a card set from your training, paying particular attention to information that you notice the class is having trouble remembering and share the set via e-mail after the class and before any quizzes, tests.

Give flip cards a try with your next class and I think you will be pleased with the results.



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