Serious Games: Sterility Sampling Training

We had the privilege this past year of building a great partnership with LearningPlus, out of Rochester NY.  Started by James Vesper in 1992, LearningPlus has been hard at work, creating innovative workshops and instructional products for the pharmaceutical and health-care industries.  Paired with Jim's industry expertise, vision for delivering meaningful tools, and BrokenMyth's passion for technology and finding innovative ways to engage learners, we developed the S4 training game.

The Sterility Sampling Statistical Simulator (S4) is a tool that can be used in training people in statistically-based sampling and specifically in the limitations of the sterility test used by the pharmaceutical and medical device industries. S4 can be used by individuals, small groups, and in larger instructor-led training events. Users can select from total population options, defect/contamination rates, and sampling sizes, including the sampling size of 20 units as required by many regulatory agencies.  The tool offers a great way for people to prove to themselves why building quality into the process and product is so critical.  It also offers consumers a more practical way of accessing & training on a bead box.  Toting one around to different training sites can prove to be a bit challenging.  Stay tuned for more great training solutions as LearningPlus continues to dream up new tools for their customers.

This great tool is now available for download in the iTunes store, and will soon be released for Android.

To learn more about LearningPlus, please visit: www.LearningPlus.com

To learn more about BrokenMyth Studios, please visit: www.brokenmyth.com

BrokenMyth Studios Develops Learning Management System

The search for an LMS (Learning Management System) can often be a daunting task. The market is flooded with options that can overwhelm the person in charge of implementing such a solution. Finding the "perfect one" that will fit the specific needs of each department within your organization is a tall order, and almost impossible to achieve. Pair that with the high licensing costs of some of the most popular Learning Management Systems, and you can find yourself in a tough spot pretty quickly.

We have had our fair share of experiences with a number of LMS's on the market. BrokenMyth has spent time customizing existing solutions, building courses for some, and migrating companies off of others. There are some pretty great options out there if you're willing to pay an arm and a leg! There are also some that leave a lot to be desired. These experiences were the motivating factor that drove us to develop our own Learning Management Solution.

We couldn't be more excited to announce the release of BrokenMyth's very own learning management system, the Legendary LMS. The Legendary LMS was developed utilizing the Tin Can API. Tin Can is a brand new specification for learning technology that makes it possible to collect data about the wide range of experiences a person has (online and offline). This API captures data in a consistent format about a person or group’s activities from many technologies. Very different systems are able to securely communicate by capturing and sharing this stream of activities using Tin Can’s simple vocabulary.

The Tin Can API is simple and flexible. It lifts many of the older restrictions. Mobile learning, simulations, virtual worlds, serious games, real-world activities, experiential learning, social learning, offline learning, and collaborative learning are just some of the things that can now be recognized and communicated well with the Tin Can API.*

With the Legendary LMS, we will prove to you that your learning management system doesn't have to be a sterile place to locate your courses. Through interactive entertainment, gamification, and social integration, the Legendary LMS will drive engagement with your curriculum like never seen before. Our goal is to demolish the traditional view of what an LMS should be, and replace it with the mindset that learning can be fun.*

With the Legendary LMS, you can collect and track all the following learning experiences:

-3D Animations

-3D Interactive Simulations

-Software Competency

-Course and Activity Completion

-Get a much better understanding of your people by using an LRS to record learning activities.

-Leverage your Existing systems with External Learning Activities into one solution that enables your employees to gain new skills and improve your learning experience.

-Integrate across many systems, in one place. You get insights that weren’t possible before — about your people and your organization as a whole.

We're excited to about this product. Would you like to hear more? Contact Business Development at BrokenMyth Studios: JDR@BROKENMYTH.COM

*Information provided by tincanapi.com

Is a Liberal Arts Degree Worth it? More than ever!

My Monday through Friday life is a world filled with software engineers & developers. When the topic of a Liberal Arts education ever comes up in a conversation, it is not rare to hear a snicker or see some eyes roll.  Before we get started though, let me tell you I'm going to do my best to take a neutral position on this topic seeing as I have a degree in Liberal Arts.  It wouldn't be fair for me to tell you how well its worked out for me, or how there isn't one day that goes by that I regret my decision, or that I've ever had trouble finding a job that I enjoyed.  Oops... I tried.

Why is it that so many students, and even parents give Liberal Arts the cold shoulder when it comes time to hone in on a career or occupation?  Many institutions require students to take a small percentage of liberal arts courses throughout their time at college.  Even a few of these courses over a four year period is enough to draw some whining, and questions like "why do I have to take these courses, they have NOTHING to do with my major!"

There is no denying that liberal arts colleges have suffered periodic valleys in enrollment during times of economic stress.  But I don't believe economical issues are what is at the heart of the issue.  All colleges see fluctuating enrollment when times get tough.

You see, I believe the answer to uncovering why students are shying away from Liberal Arts comes only when you evaluate the situation from a generational standpoint.  Remember the days when people would go to college to find out what they wanted to do when they grew up?  I do!  College used to be about exploration, finding out what really gets your wheels turning, and trying new things.  I personally spent my entire first year taking a variety of classes I thought sounded interesting. This is how I discovered what I wanted to do.  There is so much pressure on kids these days to have everything figured out before committing to an institution.  More than ever, parents are putting a higher value on seeking out where they'll get the best Return On Investment.  They are being driven to selecting a profession before they event set foot in the building.

On the flip side, there is nothing wrong with knowing what you want to do before you select a college or university.  Many young adults dream of being a doctor, an architect, or an engineer.  But what these students also need to realize is quite simple.  Combining these fields with a sprinkle of Liberal Arts courses is only going to make you more well-rounded and more marketable to companies.  And that my friend, has EVERYTHING to do with your major.

An article on Huffingtonpost.com states: A study by the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) released earlier this year compared earnings trajectories for graduates who majored in the humanities, arts, and social sciences with those whose undergraduate majors were in science and mathematics, engineering, or professional and pre-professional fields like business and education.

What do you think the results were? You probably could have guessed...

While the median earnings of engineering graduates are consistently higher than all the rest, by their peak earnings years those whose undergraduate major was in the humanities or social sciences actually earn, on average, $2,000 more than those who majored in professional or pre-professional fields.  

Parents, there is your Return On Investment!  1/3 of all the CEO's in Fortune 500 companies graduated with a Liberal Arts Degree.

We recently had the privilege to team up with the RIT College of Liberal Arts, and the marketing firm RISING to help tackle this issue head on!  RIT is looking to its brand & the future, to more fully fulfill its true promise to it’s constituents and build a brand that genuinely promotes and delivers a personal transformative experience.

As a team we determined that what was needed was an engaging, informative (dare we say “fun”) technology driven solution, in the space that the primary demographic has lived in since the day they were born.  Digital.  With the university trying to determine how best to do that in the most personal, individual way they can, we decided to move away from traditional print medium and proposed an interactive website.

But what we are putting into the hands of students is much more than a website.  It is a personal GPS that will act as a guide through their own unique journey through college.  This is a tool that promotes a unique discovery and exploration about Liberal Arts value, towards the betterment of you.  But most importantly, the tool will paint a clear picture that Liberal Arts, whether big or small will translate to a brighter future for any student.  In addition to those seeking a liberal arts degrees, the tool allows ALL students to explore liberal arts fields and courses that will complement their degree interests.  We fully believe that this is going to transform the discussion around Liberal Arts and ultimately drive what we need to reinforce in every human.  Never stop exploring.

Virtual Reality & the Cosmos: A Culture of Exploration

Today in 2014, Space is a 300 billion dollar worldwide industry. It inspires dreams and its acts of discovery empower us to undertake new activities and cross new frontiers. From Columbus to John Glenn, the emotional power of exploration has resonated with humanity through time and across cultures.

A Kickstarter campaign called VR2Space, Virtual Ride to Space, wants to give this power to all of us by launching a weather balloon with 12 HD video cameras to a 30km altitude thus creating a virtual ride to space viewable through the Oculus Rift. The Rift is a headset that displays a fully immersive 3D panoramic 360-degree viewing experience. By moving your head from side-to-side to see different perspectives in a 3-dimensional virtual environment, the Rift aims to revolutionize the way we consume media. The device itself has roots on Kickstarter and after its $2 billion acquisition by Facebook it plans to impact the world of video games, cinema, and photography and beyond.

A little more than 500 people in the history of our planet have traveled to Space and VR2Space wants to democratize an experience that has traditionally been tapped to advance geopolitical, economic, or militaristic purposes. There’s a hidden dimension to the role that space plays in our current culture, whereas the act of doing it perfectly is the measure of it going unnoticed. We don’t give one thought to the Cosmos when our GPS gets us where we want to go. After all, why should anyone care about advancing commercial space travel when our economy is in turmoil and American jobs are being shipped overseas?

Because investing in space is an investment in the future. In 1961 when Kennedy first proposed that we would walk on the moon, we did not yet have a vehicle that could launch into orbit without killing an astronaut. And yet the V-2 rocket, with its bullet shape and exaggerated fins, was an inspiration for 1960’s American culture. If you think back to iconic films from science fiction with rockets and blasters or Chevrolet automobiles, they all had fins. Where do you think those fins came from?

The 1960’s were the deadliest American decade since the 1860’s. In the bloodiest year of that decade, 1968, America launched the Tet Offensive. Additionally, both Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy were assassinated. Despite this, in December of 1968, Apollo 8 launched and it is the first time that anybody left Earth with a destination in mind. The goal, to do a figure-eight around the moon, was successful and with it a photograph titled Earth Rise over the Moon was captured that was then placed on every major American magazine. In essence, we went to the Moon and discovered Earth and it was the first time that people began to think about the Earth as a whole rather than an assembly of nations. How did that effect culture?

Seven months later, in 1969 we landed on the moon. In 1970, the comprehensive Clean Air Act was passed through congress. Earth Day was declared annually in March of 1970. The Environmental Protection Agency was created in 1970. The organization Doctors Without Borders was then founded in 1971. The Clean Water Act, passed in 1971. The chemical known as DDT gets banned in 1972. The Endangered Species Act passes congress in 1972. The catalytic converter is implemented into automobiles in 1973 and unleaded gasoline is mandated in 1973.

All of this is done while there’s campus unrest, students shot at Kent State, America was still at war in Vietnam, the country politically as divided as ever and yet we found the time to start thinking about Earth. That is proof enough that space was operating on our culture and put a new perspective on what it meant to be alive in this world that we all share. Imagine now sending every child in the science classroom on a virtual ride to space and inspiring a new way for them to think and intellectualize about the world of tomorrow. The Rift will give us access to space and advances in space lead to innovations that trickle their way down the educational pipeline. It has been particularly true since the Industrial Revolution that technological innovation drives economies. Through both the Rift and VR2Space we can resurrect some of the spiritual, emotional, intellectual, creative, and economic ambitions of the 1960’s and 1970’s and begin to explore the world of tomorrow.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1592839372/virtual-ride-to-space-vr2space

http://www.oculusvr.com/

eLearning & Video Conferencing

E-Learning has become one of the fastest growing technology revolutions for the past five years. The efficiency to acquire new knowledge, and ability to adapt new skills to a changing digital market can make a huge difference expediting the organizational success. One of the tools to acquire new knowledge is online video conferencing or video chatting.

For the past five years, online educational sites such as https://www.khanacademy.org/  and  http://www.educator.com/ both offer excellent educational content, regardless of the fact that one is a non-profit organization and the other is a for profit orgnization. Online educational platforms offer great flexibility for students to study subjects at their convenience, however, it is still one way communication gateway. Students can watch tutorials online, but there is still a lack of real time communication between students and teachers.

A few years ago, Skype became one of the most popular desktop video chat program in the market. A few years later, Facebook and Google integrated desktop video chat technologies into the browser platform. It allows users to video chat with friends using only their browsers without the need to install plugins and third party softwares. It greatly boosts the flexibility and ease of video chatting online, and broadens the accessibility among various devices.

Below are some online video chatting programs available for public use.

1.) https://www.facebook.com/videocalling

2.) https://videolink2.me/start

3.) https://www.google.com/tools/dlpage/hangoutplugin

While video chatting technologies are getting more sophisticated, it also brings great opportunities and new hope to the online E-Learning community. By incorporating the online video chat functionality into the browser, educational website can directly set up real time Q&A sessions to better help students with their subjects. This reduces the delay between questions and answers and can greatly expedite the learning progress.

Web chatting functions are available for web developers, and they can integrate video chatting functionalities into their websites by utilizing WebRTC protocol (Web Real Time Communication). It is a protocol that allows developers to write real time multimedia applications such as video chatting without third party plugins. It also requires extensive knowledge of JavaScript API to develop native RTC applications.

What has your eLearning experience been with integrated video functionality?

Additional Resources about WebRTC:

http://www.webrtc.org/

http://www.webrtc.org/reference/native-apis

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WebRTC

Behavior Changes

It has been a while but we are back with some fresh content and are excited about some big things coming!  We’ve been doing a lot of work revolved around games, training, marketing and in general, attempts to change behaviors.  What is it about the human spirit and our perception that we can influence and change?  This is a constant challenge many are tackling, not just our clients.  We’ve been blessed to have some of the best though, who love to explore new opportunities and are open to new ideas such as games for teaching, earning incentive rewards through improved behaviors and more.  What has recently impacted you?  What ads, games, training material, apps, incentives, and other experiences have recently inspired you?  We’d love to get the discussion going, post and share!

http://techcrunch.com/2013/09/28/the-science-behind-using-online-communities-to-change-behavior/

Video Games in the White House

Gamasutra reports on the US government's heightened interest in video games and the socioeconomic opportunities they provide. According to Constance Steinkuehler Squire, a White House Office of Science and Technology policy advisor, games are no longer viewed as simple entertainment. "Something has shifted. People have come to understand finally that video games are a powerful medium."

Developers are challenging the norms of video games and pushing the boundaries between other mediums. There are films with video game elements, and video games that play like movies. E-books and training are being introduced with game mechanics and elements. All medias are realizing that there is no reason not to converge- to borrow the strongest elements of all of the compelling mediums and package their product to more fully engage consumers.

Not only are video games a leap in consumer engagement, they are also an economical improvement on traditional training media. According to Squire, "Analog engagement strategies like books, reports and events have a linear relationship between the number of people you can reach and the investment required to reach them. On the other hand, digital strategies like video games and social media require a high investment up front, but as you reach more people, the additional costs approach zero, which is of obvious financial interest to a government office."

Forbes Blogger Claims Gamification "will become integral to the social business"

This Forbes article suggests that, thanks to the success of Bunchball and SAP's recently announced interest in gamifying its products (among other factors), gamification is going to be a major factor in upcoming businesses. He also describes how "gamification" is moving past the buzzword stage and into common business vocabulary: "Mario [gamification initiative lead at SAP] explains that he and his colleagues are past the point where they need to explain gamification to clients. In fact clients are coming to them and asking for game-centric solutions. And clients come from a wide range of industries."

Gamification on the Rise; Gaining Recognition

Gamification and Serious Games continue to pop up more in the media. Last month, Redmond, WA hosted the first annual Serious Play serious games professionals conference. According to this article, corporate spending is projected to grow from $100 million to $2.8 billion by 2016. By 2014, more than 70 percent of Global 2000 organizations are predicted to have invested in gamification. Why is gamification so interesting to so many people? The diverse field has shown innovation and improvement in “employee training, customer loyalty, and marketing,” as well as other areas, in an infinite array of industries, from the military to medical corporations, and many more.