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4621 N Ravenswood Ave.
Chicago, IL 60640
United States



NogginLabs was founded on the notion that custom e-learning design and development is the ultimate horizontal industry. Time and again, each new project, client, and industry proves it. The biggest advantage of the e-learning horizontal is cross-pollinating ideas from two wildly different domains. A restaurant service simulation for iPad may influence a high-fashion online retail challenge. E-learning for financial advisors in a bank could inspire a mobile outreach program for cancer survivors. This variety also keeps the creative folks at NogginLabs fresh. Fresh learning ideas and designs come from a set of constantly changing constraints.

Game night: the road to gamification


Game night: the road to gamification

Matt Young

Gamification is an important skill for creating online training content that is accessible, meaningful, and motivating to your learning audience. NogginLabs has applied game mechanics and rules to our training since our inception in 1997. Only recently has the rest of the e-learning industry embraced gamification as a concept. To keep us on the cutting edge, the NogginLabs game night was born.

On the surface, game night is a social event here at NogginLabs. Every few months, we stay late at the office, pour some beers from our kegerators (that’s right: plural. kegerators.), and order some pizza. People bring in all kinds of games: complex resource management games, dexterity games, party games, game apps, online multiplayer games, card games, and any other permutation of game you can imagine. We play for a few hours, laugh a lot, and call it a night. It's great for morale.


Beneath the surface, it has become an integral part of how we think about gamifying content for our clients. Long ago, we didn’t always have a shared vocabulary about what makes a game...a game. Look at the list of types of games in the last paragraph, and that barely scratches the surface of what "games" now signifies. Gaming is extremely prevalent and diversified in our culture now. Many people have a game of some kind on their phones, but when they sit down with us to talk about games they are still stuck in the brutal, de-motivating, roll-and-move mechanics that older games--like Life and Monopoly--exemplified.

Both innovative independent video game development and the revitalized tabletop gaming industry inform our game nights. Social gaming and co-operative gaming allow us to play with each other in new ways that were previously unimagineable. These new influences and shared experiences are now the basis of our instructional design discussions, which lead to our clients' content being brought to life as gamified courses.

Filtered through the lens of our gamification goggles, we look at your content, your goals, and the aspirations for your course and begin to synthesize your content into a gamified course with unlockable levels, rewards, leaderboards, resource management, simulated scenarios, social events and challenges, and an array of other game mechanics that are not only exciting, but that deliver results. By tailoring a game or simulation to your audience, we can leverage our game night knowledge to provide learners with additional motivation, memorable experiences, and incentives to repeatedly interact with training.