It seems that one of the trendy topics discussed at education conferences these days is the combination of gaming and learning. Most of the time, it’s discussed in the context of the classroom or of students, but I’ve just learnt that we’ve now applied it to product training, in one of our experimental Office Labs releases
Today Microsoft Office Labs released Ribbon Hero, a free prototype app that works with Office 2007 and with Office 2010 beta. The new prototype is designed to test the effectiveness, feasibility and appeal of delivering Office training in a game-like setting. The heart of Ribbon Hero is a set of challenges that users play right in the Office applications. These challenges expose users to features that they might not be aware of and which can help users get their work done faster.
In addition, Ribbon Hero awards points for using both basic features, such as, Bold and Italic, and for using the features introduced in the challenges. Ribbon Hero does some analysis of the person’s usage patterns to prioritise the order in which it presents challenges.
And then to add the competitive element, Ribbon Hero integrates with Facebook so you can share your success (or in my case, failures) with your friends. Ribbon Hero offers to post an update to your Facebook profile when impressive point levels have been reached. This feature enables you to compare your success with Ribbon Hero with your friends and compete for bragging rights.
Ribbon Hero is a free download, and has got to be a big step up from conventional training ideas and manuals. Having heard Sir Mark Grundy of Shireland Collegiate Academy talk about the way they get their students learning by having a leader table for educational games, I can imagine the same kind of thing happening with this.
And timely too, as Office 2010 approaches, it’s another useful tool to help with the migration from Office 2003. (Even if you’re on Office 2003 at school for a while, most students at home will be using the 2007 version, so perhaps a cheeky homework assignment!)
And finally, to download free Office 2010 beta visit www.microsoft.com/2010