Lawyers and the Public Learn Via Gamification

One of the topics this site will be covering in upcoming articles will be gamification.

Wikipedia defines gamification as “game thinking and game mechanics in non-game contexts to engage users in solving problems.” From the time we’re children, most of us learn to play and enjoy games. We like receiving points or other measures of success, and enjoy competing against our peers. And we like winning, too.

Companies use gamification to train new employees or interest their customers in new products. While the legal profession, and the bar association world, have been slow to adopt the techniques, there are places where you can see them at work, and a lot of people who hope their use spreads.

One of the most vivid examples in the bar world is at the Tennessee Bar Association.

The TBA’s CLE department uses the game format for several online CLE programs. The TBA has spent five years researching different approaches to gamification, and also which software best meets their needs for creating interactive games, says Mindy Thomas Fulks, the bar’s director of continuing legal education.

“We were looking for ways to make education engaging and interactive,” Fulks says. She credits Executive Director Allan Ramsaur with wanting to keep the bar “trendsetting.”

While most online CLE consists of live or recorded video or audio, Tennessee does allow providers to distribute text-based programming, as long as it runs no longer than one hour and contains interactive elements, Fulks says.

The TBA had numerous challenges in finding software that would allow it to present CLE programming properly. Fulks says the bar looked at 43 different software solutions before settling on Articulate. Many of the other offerings could not handle the amount of substance in a typical CLE class, she says. Many also did not properly support mobile devices, so lawyers could not easily view programming on their phones or tablets.

Fulks receives content for programs from authors, and then converts it to game format using the software. She estimates it takes about eight hours to convert and review each game.

A new batch of six games was released in August. Currently, games represent a small percentage of the bar’s 300 to 400 online offerings. Fulks says the bar is monitoring how often the games are used, and plans to keep them as part of its CLE package.

While gamification is somewhat new to the legal field, it is an upcoming and growing trend.

If you want to learn more about gamification, head over to LegalYou and sign up for their updates via email.

We are planning on launching in the near future and gamification of the legal field will be a big part of the site.