Game Show Espresso: Quick tips to perk up your training

LearningWare Game Show Espresso - Fall 2010
Quick Tips to Perk Up Your Training

  ISSUE #36 — FALL 2010

In this issue...

Introducing Gameshow Pro 5!


First launched in 1995, Gameshow Pro is now being released in its 5th version. It features 7 different TV-style game formats— one more than the previous release. The addition of AllPlay functionality means that each player can answer game questions using their own audience response keypad—for accurate tracking and assessment—OR, players can use slammers to ring-in as a team for an exciting game show experience.

“The new release of Gameshow Pro 5 is a game-changer. Never before has it been so easy to bring game shows into the training classroom,” says Dan Yaman, President and Founder of LearningWare, “Not only does this give much-needed innovation to the industry, but it isn't just a step forward— it's a leap.”

The new release is a more full-bodied and powerful training tool, and it still retains its easy-to-use format. New and exclusive features include:

  • AllPlay assessment capability.
  • 14 new game board designs—redesigned to range from corporate-sleek to Hollywood-splashy.
  • A robust question library with superior search-ability and sort-ability that makes it even easier to organize content.
  • Expanded ready-to-use sound and graphics libraries.
  • A redesigned interface that makes the game more intuitive than ever to use.
  • And many, many more.

People interested in getting a free 30-day trial to Gameshow Pro can visit:

For more information on the newly released Gameshow Pro Version 5, please visit: and call 1-800-457-5661 or email

Ten Points to Gryffindor

Using Team Points to Motivate Trainees

Hogwarts Emblem

Anyone who has smallish children, or (ehhem) is like me, and occasionally reads young adult fiction, is probably familiar with Harry Potter and, consequently, the world of Hogwarts (School of Witchcraft and Wizardry).

In the books and movies, the instructors at Hogwarts use point systems throughout the year as both an incentive for good behavior/academics and a deterrent for bad behavior. At the end of the year, the house with the most points gets the cup.

We could take a lesson from Hogwarts. But how does this apply to training? Well, team points can be incredibly motivating in a training session.

They can be used to:

  • Reward "good" behavior (i.e. on-time attendance)
  • Encourage participation
  • Reinforce correct answers
  • Engage trainees as individuals and teams

Even if trainees don't know each other, and even if the "prize" at the end of the session is insignificant (or if there is no prize), competition still adds an element of fun and responsibility to a training session that might not otherwise be there.

Game shows: Game shows are a great way for teams to earn points in a team competition. You can either add a single game to a training session, or have a game that runs throughout the day (previewing information, reviewing information, teaching information, etc). You can use the same format in different rounds (i.e. Multiple matches of a Jeopardy-style game) or you can use different game formats. Game shows can even be structured in tournament style to make them an event within the training.

Knowledge Bucks: A great way to keep individuals engaged and participating in a less structured session is "Monopoly money" or Knowledge Bucks. This funny-money can be given out when individuals respond to a question, arrive on time, etc. Team members can put them in a designated box, and they are added to the team's total score. These can be tallied during breaks.

Energizers: Have the teams organize a post-lunch cheer, with the most creative, on-point and well-executed cheer receiving the most points. Have a paper-toss where members write questions on paper, crumple them up and toss them around until a designated time period passes and one person from each team must answer the question in their hand--for a certain number of points a piece. Activities like this both contribute to the energy of the room and the team competition.

Leader Board: Have a leader board that shows the tally of team scores for all activities--game shows, knowledge bucks, team cheers, etc. Update it at breaks so teams can see where they stand and to stoke a little competition. This doesn't have to be anything fancy--a grid on a white board or a PowerPoint slide will do nicely.

Game Shows at Trade Shows

Drawing a Crowd

Question Screen

Most of our clients and customers use game shows in their training programs. They're ideal for this; increasing content retention and enabling trainers to review, preview and present information in an incredibly engaging format.

However, as we've collected many, many stories and anecdotes from customers, we've discovered some alternate uses outside of the training department. As it turns out, some sales departments use game shows to promote their products to interested parties. Also, marketing teams are deploying game shows on the floor of trade shows.

Having used game shows at trade shows before (the screen cap in this post is from a custom game we designed for Mystic Tan), we can attest to the power of the medium. Game shows:

Attract a crowd: Whether a few people out of a crowd are playing along or everyone in your booth audience is playing along using keypads, game shows naturally attract an audience. Not only do people want to see whether others succeed or not, but they want to test their own knowledge (to see if they're "smarter than the player"--so to speak).

Engage people with your content: Game shows are a great way to uncover "ah-ha!" moments with your product or company by showcasing unique features/benefits in the form of a question. You can use specific content, (i.e. Which of the following is a new product feature, etc.) or general content to drive interest around a topic (i.e. As you see in the screen capture above--the question is tangentially related to tanning, but doesn't cover Mystic Tan's specific product line), or a mixture of both.

Can direct conversations: Game shows can direct meaningful trade show conversations in several ways:

  • Booth personnel can listen to a game show round and then follow up with more information while attendees' attention is piqued (i.e. Yes, the new product has this feature...and did you know it allows you to do x, y and z as well?).
  • Using audience response pads, you can measure what parts of the audience have knowledge gaps and incorporate survey questions to gauge the level of interest in particular topics or products.

Get people to spend more time at a booth: Game shows not only draw a crowd, but we've seen people who won't stop for a free tchotchke or engage with booth personnel spend large chunks of time at a booth when a game show is involved. And that's more opportunity to get qualified leads!

Featured Case Study

The Hershey Company

How Hershey Uses Gameshow Pro in Their Orientations


In the July issue of IAAPA’s (International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions) Funworld Magazine [How great is that name!], LearningWare received a featured mention.

The article, by Jeremy Schoolfield, detailed how Hershey has altered its orientation program to reflect the nature of the company— and this includes using Gameshow Pro!

From the article:

Orientation Should Be Fun, Too
Making orientation fun doesn't fall solely on the ambassadors— Hershey goes to great lengths to ensure the entire process is set for success, right down to how the new employees are seated.

The training room is called a "Legacy Zone," and it’s designed to feel like anything but a stodgy classroom. Current and historic Hershey jingles play over speakers while company trivia flashes on the walls. Rather than rows upon rows of desks, employees sit in table clusters that Buffington says are more conducive to a social atmosphere.

“We immerse them in the culture right away and get them excited,” she says. “This company sells experiences, and we’re trying to model what we expect.”

The orientation program thus minimizes lectures and maximizes interaction. Hershey uses Gameshow Pro software from Minnesota-based LearningWare ( to set up its own "Jeopardy!"-style trivia game about the brand and its legacy. “We're educating them on who we are in a fun way,” Buffington says.

Orientation also includes a "Bingo"-type get-to-know-one- another mixer game (as opposed to just the boring ol' "My name is..." introductions) and employs videos and other multimedia programming wherever possible—anything to keep it from being one person standing in front of the group talking for too long.

“We're an entertainment and hospitality company— so the first step is being entertaining and hospitable,” says Public Relations Manager Kathy Burrows.

You can read the entire article here.

[Photo from article, credit: Giniwoy]

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Dan Yaman
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Q. I have 10 regions, and I want to put them all on teams in my Gameshow Pro game, but I think this might be too many. How many teams should I have?

A. Your first instinct is right— 10 teams will be a bit much; both to handle, and in terms of each team getting a chance to play questions. (i.e. If you have a 5x5 Jeopardy board— even if the teams get an equal chance to answer questions [which they may not if you're playing ring-in style], each team will only get to answer about 2 questions.)

The “sweet-spot” that I like to work with, for number of teams, is 2-6. This keeps the game manageable, and gives teams the chance to answer a significant number of questions (and also helps keep them in the game). If you have 10 regions, something that I've done before, with great success, is to group two regions together.

Got a question for Dan and Missy, authors of the book I’ll Take Learning for 500: Using Game Shows to Engage, Motivate and Train? Submit them to and they could end up in a future edition of Game Show Espresso.

http://www.learningware.cominfo@learningware.com1-800-457-5661 Larry