This morning I reread an article by Don Moyer I first read nearly two years ago called “In Favor of Messing Around.” Moyer’s messing around means working with freedom. Playing with a purpose. Exploring a topic with no rigid goals, no particular agenda, no clients, no deadlines, and no specific deliverables in mind. It can lead to what some educators call an “ah-HA!” moment. To knowledge and innovation. And you own it!
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Archive for January, 2006
One of the most difficult challenges I faced in trying to establish a new KM initiative was the lack of understanding among the managers and executives I worked with about KM and what it could do. Using a systematic approach, we educated them individually about why KM is useful, what it is, and how others were benefitting from it. During the course of these meetings, we made extensive notes on their comments, reservations, concerns, interest and ultimately, their understanding of what we were suggesting. Many interesting things emerged, including what managers perceive the risks of KM to be — both business related and personal.
A 50,000 foot view of knowledge and why it can’t be “managed.”
Creation of anything new has its own unique challenges, and creating the perfect UI for new games is a complex challenge for game developers. In multiplayer games, the complexity is compounded by the need for players to be able to interact and communicate with one another. A good UI is one that enhances the ambience of the game, delivers functionality efficiently and is instinctive/invisible to the user. But players want more than that — they want to be able to customize everything and feel like they are immersed in the game. Here are the results from an informal survey of experienced MMOG players.
Maybe it’s the male/female difference that’s often alluded to, but I found it a welcome relief not to wield a staff and cast spells and hack and slash for a change! The new Korean game Audition lets your avatar execute all the popular hip-hop dance steps you could never do in real life and compete with others doing the same thing. It’s a lot of fun for a change of pace, but doesn’t have the enduring allure of the smell of old leather, cold steel, and dragon scales on a frosty morning…
I was happily surprised to see that I’m not the only person who is bothered by the frequent “updating” of EULAs that players are forced to accept without recourse. There is something instinctively troubling about being forced to accept changes made to an end user license agreement after you buy a product, and then having no recourse to dispute it or challenge the game company’s right to demand what it is forcing you to agree to.
2old2play.com has an interesting story categorizing types of multiplayer online gamers. I found my category there!
A while back I participated in a “branding” exercise to help define the purpose, describe value, and create an approach for a new KM initiative. These are my notes and the results of the session. Perhaps it will be helpful to someone else!
In a knowledge management initiative where communities of practice are used to create and validate best practices, it’s possible to use a lifecycle approach to formalize the process, using something along the lines of peer reviews used in science. A single person, however, needs to have the final editorial authority over each best practice written, and that person is also responsible for distributing the final document to all interested parties.
This week, an Associated Press story revealed that online gaming has had a big impact on “box” game sales. Playing games on the PC, whether it’s via online casual sites or through MMO subscription play, has been increasing. I think it’s the interaction of people in the process of solving game challenges that makes multiplayer games so fascinating for adults. Games are learning by doing, which adults favor, but they are also vehicles of self-expression and achievement. The human element makes them completely unpredictable, and fascinating.
I had no idea that there were so many games on so many specialized topics out there! Iâ€™m not talking about games that you can buy in Best Buy or Wal*Mart. Iâ€™m talking about specialized games that I would call â€œplaying with a purpose. Look what I’ve found! (and these only scratch the surface)
Is there any research that proves there are benefits to problem solving in a group, rather than individually or in pairs? What especially intrigues me at the moment is the actual value we can ascribe to having additional people help answer a question, and the parameters around getting the optimum answer from a group. How do we quantify the value of having additional people engaged in solving a problem or making a decision? What’s the right number of people to involve in the discussion? Do you hit a point where the incremental value of new thoughts is so low that it becomes too costly to add more voices? It’s an interesting topic.
Here’s an interesting analogy between knowledge management and party planning. The point is that KM is not a new social science. It’s not new and it’s not science and the social component is like party planning. There’s some truth here.
If we don’t know how ‘knowledge work’ is defined, then how can we know if we are successful at it? Yet, if a knowledge worker’s boss says they are doing a great job, does it matter whether what they do qualifies as ‘knowledge work’ at all? The more important question is whether improving worker effectiveness and the bottom line are the purpose of KM or whether they are potential outcomes of KM. It’s an important distinction.
Here are some citations for how much knowledge management can save an organization. I like to keep track of claims like these, because they are valuable when talking to financial people in an organization. There are probably some newer ones around, and if you know of any that aren’t here, please do comment or send me a message, and I’ll add them!
C/NET released its Must Have Games list today. For the most part, expected titles are there, but there are a couple of surprises.
Enhanced learning occurs through movement, and the brain can be reprogrammed to acquire lost or undeveloped functions by retraining it using physical movements. Products like BrainGym and VisionGym may help to retrain the brain to overcome some physical/mental losses.
And now for something (old and) completely different! A salute to some visionary game design.
Online learning involves more than a technology platform. The same learning principles that apply to classroom teaching apply to online courses. Instructors and instructional designers can adapt classroom materials to online use by creating a good online learning environment that includes ample opportunities for self-assessment, feedback and interactions online with other students and the instructor. These pointers for developing an engaging and instructionally sound online course and the links I’ve provided should help.
Designers and developers have to walk a fine line between novel graphic design consistent with the theme of the game and the array of capabilities the interface must enableâ€“without intruding on the play area more than absolutely necessary. Not only that, it must be understandable at a glance…with little or no training required, because most players will not read a manual, and will jump right into the play. So what are the critical UI elements, who has done it right, and what do players dream of for the future?
Think of your favorite MMOG or video game for a moment. Now think of a scene or instant when you broke through or defeated something you struggled with in that game. Now imagine you had to do it with only your mouth as a controller â€“ lip movements, small puffs and sips of air, hitting a button with your tongue, pushing a bar with your chin or cheek, biting a sensor with your teeth. Then go watch the video of 23-year-old quadriplegic game designer Robert Florio. It will put the rest of this article on game accessibility in context.
Yea for science! Gaming is not only fun, it’s a healthy activity for seniors! A 2002 Harvard University report cited significant increases in reaction time for gamers over 60, while researchers at the University of Rochester reported that video games can help improve vision. Tests on nongamers found that playing just 10 hours of fast-paced video games improved their eyesight. Gaming can also hone reflexes. There are other health advantages cited, too. If you are reading this, chances are you are already a gamer, and not looking for something new to try yourself. But in case you have an aging parent or grandparent or sister or neighbor who might benefit from learning to play, I’ve included a couple of tried and true games you could suggest.
Can grassroots KM work? Does it work? Here are some learnings from my personal experience, presented at KMWorld 2005.
Communities of practice, communities of interest, and any other type of online community have basic rules to keep them functioning well. Here are some of the things I believe about communities.
Based on my own experiences, here are a few of the things I believe to be true about KM.
What do the Chinese government, Hezbollah, the Republican Party, and the U.S. Department of Defense have in common? All are using online games as propaganda to recruit sympathizers and/or convey political messages. It’s a new tool for an ancient purpose. And they are succeeding. How else can so-called freedom fighters respond to their so-called oppressors without fear of retaliation? Games are being adapted to achieve ends outside of simple entertainment, and we are just starting to experience the societal consequences.