The KFC of learning

Gamification and Game based Learning

The KFC of learning

On a recent customised training course I ran a session on Gamification in Learning and Game based learning focusing on why the two while intermingled, are not the same. If you are interested in the highlights of why Gamification and Game based learning are different, drop me a line and we’ll talk about it.

Back to the subject at hand, and especially the title of what I want to talk about today, before the session, I was briefed that my audience were training professionals who have been delivering classroom sessions for many years. Having done this for decades (literally), I knew how I should structure my programme and deliver it (as opposed to when I am presenting to senior stakeholders). During the session, my audience were sold on the idea of gamification and the benefits it can bring to both the face-to-face and digital environment but could not see the benefits of game based learning (especially when the process and developmental aspects were touched upon) in a corporate setting.

Cost, time, repetition, adaptability etc. were thrown about like arrows on fire and I simply could not appease the beast within. At the end of the first day, I needed a proverbial “cold one” and some time to reflect on the push back that I got when it came to Game based learning.

This company was already aware of the benefits of simulation based learning and a vast majority of the training was simulation based already. So what was happening here? Why were the trainers – who are in favour of simulation based learning, not so keen on Game based learning? Was it a cultural barrier? Did they see games as time-wasters?

Mulling these things over, I remembered an article I had read regarding client engagement by Ian Brodie in which he talks about the KFC approach (as coined by Andy Maslen of Sunfish digital agency).

No, I’m not talking about the Colonel’s chickens; I am talking about the Know, Feel and Commit approach. In short, the client must commit to you and for them to commit, what they must know and feel to make that commitment.

  • K = Know
  • F = Feel
  • C = Commit

Applying that to my problem at hand, I analysed the day. The trainers knew what was involved (theoretically at least), and from interacting with them, I thought I knew what they felt as well! As the “cold one” was warming up I listed out the facts that were in front of me. The trainers were accustomed to simulation based learning, they used it rather successfully in the past, they were aware of the pedagogical aspects of game based learning – so where was the barrier coming from? Cost was an aspect they talked about – but that was for the business to own – as it surely did not come out of their pockets! So, was it skill-set (or the lack of it) when it came to development? Once again, this was a corporate issue and not something that the trainers would need to worry about (or so I thought). It was then that I had a light bulb moment (or in this case an empty bottle moment)!

I had spent the majority of the time talking, engaging and interacting about game based learning and I had not yet let them “feel” what it was like to participate in a game based learning session. I know a lot of you will be shaking your head thinking, rookie mistake, well, what can I say, I thought as trainers, they would be more interested in the theoretical and pedagogical aspects over the actual game itself! Which brings me back to the KFC approach – in my hurry to get a commitment for Game based learning, I overlooked the “Feel” of Know, Feel and Commit! As trainers, yes they will be interested in the theoretical aspects of Game based learning but for that moment in time, they are all learners and as learners, their learning needed to be reinforced (by experience) and rewarded! They needed to “feel” that there is benefit in Game based learning.

With my new found insight, I headed back the next day and flipped my “keep the best for last” approach on its head. I invited them to play game, gave them guidelines for exploration and allowed them to “roam free” in a loosely controlled environment. I told them to ask questions, engage and interact in the game environment. In other words, I approached them as I would approach a group of learners who knew nothing about what they were learning about.

To cut a long story short, that decision to allow the learner to “feel” that I am addressing their issues and questions, lead to further exploration into Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), scaffolding in learning, consequence management in Game based learning, constructivism and behaviourism to name a few! When the audience felt their issues could be answered by Game based learning, their commitment followed suit1.

1 Fun fact: According to Jonathon Green, a lexicographer, the term ‘to follow suit’ first appeared in 1680 and is an image taken from cards, and originally defined (by the OED) as to play a card of the same suit as the leading card. The meaning has since expanded to mean following someone’s lead or to do something someone else has just done or to follow as expected.

Here’s where we can help:

Totale Learning creates Gamified Learning and Game based Learning that is tailor made to your business. Our experienced consultants will work alongside your learning and development teams and when required, we’ll use specific training content that is relevant to your sector, industry and company. Get in touch with us at or visit You can also contact us on LinkedIn, Facebook or Instagram.