Game Show Espresso: Quick tips to perk up your training

LearningWare Game Show Espresso - May 2011
Quick Tips to Perk Up Your Training

  ISSUE #40 — AUGUST 2011

Introducing LearningWare Services

LearningWare Services

LearningWare is proud to launch its new services division.
We want you to get the most out of using game shows in your training, whether it be:

  • Compliance
  • New Product Introductions
  • Orientations
  • Sales Training
  • Webinars
  • Safety
  • Audience engagement
  • Academic classes (K-12 or Collegiate level)
  • Or any other training session

We offer: Consulting Services, Custom Game Development, Train-the-Trainer Workshops, Large Scale Event Production and more...

Consulting Services
We'll help you integrate games into training to maximize engagement and retention. We'll consult with you to understand your training objectives and put you on a course to successfully implement games.

Custom Game Development
We'll develop a classroom or web-based games that is perfect for you. This can include large-scale audience response games, branded games with custom graphics, unique game play formats, etc. Our in-house programmers work with you to make a game show solution that will revolutionize your training or event, and looks like nothing else out there.

Train-the-Trainer Workshops
We want your game show roll-out to be smooth and successful. We offer train-the-trainer workshops to ensure that everyone in your organization is up to speed on game show implementation for their training sessions.

Large Scale events
We'll work with you to produce a game show at your next tradeshow, conference or workshop that will engage your entire audience.

Our production ranges from on-site implementation of existing game shows, to custom game design using audience-response systems, and everything in between.

Game shows can be used in a large event as:

  • Main-stage entertainment
  • A teambuilding activity
  • A competition throughout the event
  • A unique presentation sure to be remembered
  • A review tool after key presentations
  • An evening activity
  • A featured trade show attraction
  • A tool to make workshops/breakouts incredibly engaging

Writing Implausible Distractors

Multiple Choice Exams

One of the tricky parts about writing multiple-choice game show questions is including plausible distractors. Those are the answer options that are NOT correct, but still sound correct enough to provide an appropriate level of challenge.

However, there are some times when you want a multiple choice question, but the plausible distractors aren't so obvious or even necessary.

Perhaps you just want a quick review, and it's more important to reiterate the information than to make the question challenging. Perhaps you're looking for a speedier game that relies on quick recall instead of making a judgment call. Perhaps there's just a lack of available distractors in your content.

Whatever the reason, occasionally you need an implausible distractor... and this is when we like to add a little humor into the game show. For instance, I was recently creating questions for a customer using their content, and this was a question used [content changed slightly to protect information privacy]:

Q: What's "in it for you" to search the answer database if you already know the answer?
A. Search-typing builds finger strength
B. You don't have to retype the solution
C. It validates your answer
D. Both B and C

The answer was D, of course. Answer option A is an implausible distractor — you pretty much know that's not going to be the answer, but it is slightly amusing. In this case, the client didn't want to conflate the content by adding more benefits or benefits that were slightly-off or could technically be right, but weren't.

The benefits of using humorous implausible distractors can be:

  • They break the pattern of thinking, causing a participant to pause in the routine of game play
  • They can increase the level of cognitive processing without increasing the difficulty of a question
  • They add entertainment value (and can be a place to insert relatable in-jokes)
  • They can highlight the point you're trying to make
  • They are also fun to write

Implausible distractors aren't always necessary, but in the right game play situations, they can add a level of levity and fun to even a serious game — without detracting from the content.

Featured Case Study

Custom Game Show: A Fistful of Dollars

Company: Toyota (Financial Division)
Event: Sales Team Reward Breakfast
Custom Audience-Response Game: A Fistful of Dollars — Three different game plays
Graphics, Programming, Scripting and Game-play: Designed by LearningWare

Situation: Toyota wanted a way to engage and entertain their top sales reps while at the same time testing their company knowledge and giving them the opportunity to earn some big rewards with that knowledge. This was a great teambuilding event in the morning; it gave the audience a chance to compete on teams and individually and allowed them important, low-stress face-time with top executives.

Toyota had already used a game show the previous two years—both times utilizing either LearningWare software (Gameshow Pro) or custom software programmed for their event by LearningWare. They wanted something to fit their Clint Eastwood "Western" theme and that would add variety from previous years' play.

Solution: A custom Fistful of Dollars game show with three completely unique varieties of game play. The audience still played along using audience-response keypads, but there were a few variations:

Target Practice

In this game play variation, we asked extremely difficult multiple choice questions. The audience members, consequently, had three opportunities to get a question right.

The question was be asked the first time, and the audience saw what percentage of their team responded correctly. They did not know whether they—individually—answered correctly. They then got a chance to answer again—and they could either change their answer or stick with it. Again, the percentage of correct answers was be shown. They got one final chance to answer the question, and only their third response counted as correct or incorrect.

Do You Feel Lucky Punk? (Wager Round)

In this game variation, we utilized a team leader—someone with guts, daring, and willingness to take the glory or the fall.

Everyone on the team was shown a question. Before the audience votes, the team leader decided whether he/she thinks that 75% of the team will know the answer or not. If he/she is confident, then they'll bet high. If not, they'll bet low.

No guts, no glory. The team leader wrote down or verbally submitted their wager. The question then played out as a typical audience-response question.

Six-Shooter (Speed Round/Final Round)

Teams were asked a group of 6 questions—rapid-fire-style. They were NOT shown the team results of their answers until after the questions are done, at which point the team scores rose (and failed to rise as much as they should) dramatically, determining the final winner.

Results: The game show was entertaining, challenging, tough, competitive and held a level of novelty—being different than the year before. The audience was engaged with each other and management for the entire morning.

Game of the Month Game of the Month


Game of the Month

Wager to Win for AllPlay Web is now available as a FREE addition to existing AllPlay Web customers!

Gameshow Pro 5 is now fully compatible with TurningTechnologies!

LearningWare renews partnership with Langevin Learning.

We've launched a new animated opening on our front page — go check it out at

LearningWare has officially launched its services, consulting and customization division.

Game of the Month

See any of our software products with a personal, interactive tour. Includes the new AllPlay Web!

Game of the Month

Find articles, tips, tricks, news, and much more!


Check out our Blog


Facebook page


Twitter Feed


Game Show Gurus Group

Game of the Month

Check out our launch of our services division!

Game of the Month Dan Yaman
Dan Yaman
President & Founder, LearningWare

Q. I love using game shows, but I can't seem to get traction in my organization. I know my colleagues would love them if they tried them, but no one has time to create games... How do I get everyone on board?
A. It's hard, sometimes, being a game show evangelist. I know they can be amazingly transformative and YOU know that... but how do you spread the word?

Well, like with anything, the key is to make it as easy and painless as possible:

• Organize a game show training day: Sometimes people will avoid a new technology just because they're uncertain of how to use it and don't want to take the time to learn. People are funny this way; we'll stick with something less effective and more familiar if we can. Organize a game show training day where you can get up to speed and they can play around with creating their own games.

• Start sneaking games into internal meetings: Game shows become viral very quickly. Once people see them being played, they tend to want to use them for their own events, sessions, etc. Giving peers the experience of playing the game will make it easy for them to see how their own excitement and engagement can translate into their classroom.

• Utilize a Player version of Gameshow Pro: Gameshow Pro has a creator license version and a player license version. The creator lets you do everything—creating a game, etc. The player does not let you edit games, but it lets you play games that others have created and change a few features (and is a less expensive license). If peers don't have to take the time to create a game—it's right there for them and ready to play—then why wouldn't they try it out?

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