Games are a fun way to test retention and help reinforce information. We are all kids at heart. People learn when they have fun or in light competition. There are software programs that you can buy to create learning quizzes, but I’ve created a number of simple games using tools readily available online and elsewhere.
I suggest breaking the players into teams so that individuals do not feel the pressure of having to work alone. Sprinkle in some unrelated and humorous questions, e.g. When did the company start? What’s our mailing address? What does our company name mean? (You’ll be surprised at how many people get these wrong.) The goal is to learn, not to make people nervous or look bad.
Here’s a few fun games that have worked well that you can use:
Just like the TV game show. You set up 6 categories, each with a column of 5 questions, each one incrementally valued more than the previous, usually increasing in difficulty. Players are asked questions and reply with an answer vs. the reverse on the TV version.
I found "Stu’s Quiz Boxes" (pictured above) to be very easy to set up and impressive looking. You can create skins for the foreground and background (the pic above shows Borat in front of my company HQ). Up to six teams can play. http://quizboxes.com/
"Flash Jeopardy" is another nice version. The key advantage is that it can be played online so you can share it with staff worldwide (you can password protect it). http://www.superteachertools.com/jeopardy/
I had other groups ask our session to quiet down because of the laughter when we played this at a product launch! Just like the classic game, a number of "ladders" and "chutes" (or "snakes") are pictured on the board, each connecting two specific board squares. The object of the game is to roll some dice and then navigate one's game piece from the start (bottom square) to the finish (top square), helped or hindered by ladders and chutes, respectively. Players get to move if they answer a product question correctly. It’s partly luck based on the roll of the dice – but that’s how sales and real life is.
I found a simple version using PowerPoint to work great (link below):
For small settings, a customizing the actual board game is easier and also works. The games costs @ $10 dollars US in a toy store. Players spin the dial and move only if the correct answer to your question is correct. (Trust me, adults have fun playing this.)
This is a simple take-off of the classic monopoly game except that we modified it for software training. Buy a real cardboard version of the game and customize it. Rename the venues on the boardwalk to names of clients or companies and create your own questions. (My mentor, Ken Andersen, created it.)
I’ve created Flash quizzes for individual learning using available Flash templates with simple multiple choice questions – all very well received. There’s a great list of quiz makers available at this link:
A Few Words on Incentives
It is nice to have fabulous prizes as well as consolation prizes. A new car would definitely get people’s attention (I kid. I kid.). Barring something that extravagant, small cash prizes (even $20 dollar bills) gets the competitive juices flowing. Gift cards (at Dunkin Donuts, Starbucks) are good. For some reason, Europeans like to hand out bottles of wine.