Gamification Of Learning Design: How To Use Learning Battle Cards?

Gamification Of Learning Design: How To Use Learning Battle Cards?
Summary: Since we published an article about Learning Battle Cards on we have been asked by several people how we are using this tool. As the main idea of Learning Battle Cards is to boost creativity in the Training and Development field I assume that all users will find their own ways of utilizing them. Here is a short story describing my experiences and ways of playing with the product.

How To Use Learning Battle Cards  

About 4 weeks ago I wrote an article about a new tool called Learning Battle Cards. Learning Battle Cards (LBC) is a set of poker-size, collectible cards describing various forms of learning. The deck of Learning Battle Cards consist of both traditional (e.g. discussions) and innovative forms (e.g. micro blogs). There are more than 100 cards in the deck and about 60 which fit into the digital learning area.

We received many questions and comments regarding the idea of Learning Battle Cards. The most popular comment was “What a cool idea!”, and the most common question was “How to use it?” :)

What The Learning Battle Cards Deck Is For?  

Our intention was to create a powerful mind-flexor and eye-opener tool to help educators build rich learning processes and environments.

While using the Learning Battle Cards deck individually:

  • It shows a variety of Training and Development methods.
  • It gives structure of thinking about designing instruction.
  • It forces to professional development, transferring from unconscious incompetence to conscious incompetence about certain learning methods.

When we think about using the deck of Learning Battle Cards during team work:

  • It fosters discussion about the meaningfulness of using certain Training and Development methods in the learning process.
  • It reinforces brainstorming during designing instruction.
  • It opens the mind about the variety of learning methods and helps find an optimal way of delivering training.

How Are We Using Learning Battle Cards?

Here is a slide from the PowerPoint presentation about the Learning Battle Cards idea defining three typical use-cases of Learning Battle Cards. These are not hypothetical scenarios; we used them like this many times while trying and testing the idea.

Learning Battle Cards Use cases


And here are 3 cases of using them from my personal experience:

Learning Battle Cards Case 1: Instructional Design Process During A Workshop.

Since 2005 I have been delivering workshops on eLearning Instructional Design. Recently I have started to use Learning Battle Cards in them.

The deck of Learning Battle Cards plays the role of a brainstorming tool. Participants, who are working in teams, work on case studies by designing development processes. The cards enable them to find the best choices and discuss them. After that, participants place chosen educational methods (represented by tokens corresponding with cards) on the framework (represented by a board) of 7 learning spaces.

In the following picture you can see the results of such a task:

Learning Battle Cards Use

The board and tokens create a product which is called Learning Battle Cards Development Kit. I will write more about this tool soon.

Learning Battle Cards Case 2: Eye-Opening Activity During A Consulting Project.

About 18 months ago we were invited to deliver the consulting project for one of the public institutions in Poland. The institution implemented eLearning processes about 2 years before, but they were not satisfied with the way they had been performed. Despite our client having invested a substantial amount of money, the utilization of eLearning was poor and the perception of this learning method among employees was quite miserable.

We were hired to analyze the situation and provide recommendations for improving the situation.

One of our first findings was that, while thinking about eLearning, our client was strictly focusing on a quite primitive form of eLearning courses: Everything not connected with a sequence of text-and-picture slides concluded by a test was out of his radar.

We used Learning Battle Cards to change this. During the first workshop we asked 2 teams (4 people sitting on the same table) to take every single card from the deck and discuss if this certain Training and Development method could be used in their institution or (for any reason) not. The discussion was facilitated by us, as we had to explain many learning methods during this exercise. As a result we received the following board with two Training and Development methods: Forms that are OK for this institution (left side) and forms that are not OK (right side).

Learning Battle Cards Uses

Did our client start to use all methods located on the left side of the board? Well; not all, but some of them yes. For example, using Learning Battle Cards we managed:

  • To show him that there are many learning mechanisms which could be embedded in the eLearning course such as Reflection [R], Story [S], and Case studies [Cs].
  • To explain how to expand the eLearning course environment by social learning with Communities of Practice [Cp] or Blogs [Bg].
  • To introduce strategic thinking about training techniques supported by new technologies and asynchronous methods such as Web conferences [Wc], Online workshops [Ow], and Videoconference [Vc].

Learning Battle Cards Case 3: Writing An Article About New Trends.

I have just been asked to write a short comment about eLearning trends to one of the annual reports published in Poland. I could just start writing, but I decided to take a deck of Learning Battle Cards and start playing with it to boost my thinking.

While looking at the cards my thoughts went, among many others, to the following trends:

  1. Humanization of an eLearning process.
    Providing time and space for Reflection [R], building environments for Discussion [D], delivering possibilities for Experimenting [Er], and stimulating Feedback [F].
  2. Playing with emotions.
    By the Gamification [G] of the learning process, using Stories [St], Digital Storytelling [Ds], and emotional Visuals [Vl].
  3. Social learning.
    By building Communities of practices [Cp], stimulation of writing and reading Blogs [Bg], and investing in Content Curation activities [Cc].
  4. On the job training.
    By using Knowledge Pills [Kp], Implementation Tasks [It], and Check lists [Cl].

All of them were taken, of course, into consideration during writing the comment.

Final Thoughts

We have seen many times how Learning Battle Cards influenced the creativity of their users. I am sure that you will add to these use cases many new ones and find several moments, situations, and places in which Learning Battle Cards will provide great value. As Learning Battle Cards are still being developed with a great help of contributors, we will appreciate if you share with us your ideas and experiences.

Pre-Orders On Special Terms: We are collecting pre-orders for Learning Battle Cards planning to start delivery at the end of September. You can place your pre-order on For all early adopters who will pre-order this tool till the end of August we will provide special terms; check our website for details. Every pre-order will be confirmed before finalizing the deal and shipping the product.