Book1 Sheet1: A Microsoft Excel Adventure

By Josh Yavelberg, PhD
Book1 Sheet1: A Microsoft Excel Adventure

How does data control the narrative? This is a question that I was asked to answer when explaining recent gamification of the Training 2021 and TechLearn 2021 conferences. For both virtual conferences, Flying Cloud Solutions was asked to manage the game features with the goal of increasing engagement in the events. Following the earlier Training 2021 conference, we analyzed the data and demonstrated clear audience participation pathways that were captured through the interactions that led to points within the system. The TechLearn 2021 event then used these narratives to drive participation in meaningful ways that were underutilized in the previous conference event.

It is all about data. As the training world moves away from SCORM toward Experience API (xAPI), from learning management systems (LMSs) to learning experience platforms (LXPs), and training designers from instructional designers to learning experience designers, we need to consider some of the barriers to the diffusion of innovation. While xAPI can capture tons of data about every interaction that a learner performs, these mountains of data are no good without a clear strategy of reading the data or capturing data that matters to determine return on learning outcomes and investment.

Enter narrative. Stories drive culture and meaning making. Just as a researcher requires a clear methodology to drive research prior to collecting data, providing a narrative that drives the data that is captured keeps the train on the rails. What is the learner’s journey that you want? How can you provide the learner choice within their learning journey and still meet intended outcomes? And even more important might be to consider ethical implications to gathering and using more data to drive mission objectives.

To demonstrate this struggle, I agreed to produce a game for Sententia Gamification’s Game Garage on December 3rd emphasizing how data and narratives work together by stripping away all flashy graphics to uncover the data that drives the narrative. “Book1 Sheet1” is a fight-the-system narrative built entirely in Microsoft Excel that takes you on a journey into data and how to control it to build gamified experiences. The game teaches you how to run statistical analyses, build award systems, and storefronts, all while fighting Excel and trying to be absorbed back into the system. As a gamified experience, “Book1 Sheet1” features mechanics such as unlocking, battling, experience points, narrative, Easter eggs among many more mechanics.

Can you enter Book1 Sheet1 and reclaim your data?

Fill out the form to download the game today and see if you have what it takes.

Note: The Excel document uses VBA macros to drive the interaction. Microsoft will be blocking these on your initial download. For more information on enabling macros, please visit this article from Microsoft.