Mindful Moments: Stories and Lessons of Procrastination

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Games as Motivation? Microsoft’s Ribbon Hero

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Microsoft office is in a bit of trouble due to the free alternatives out there (Open Office and Google Docs in particular). So, in my opinion, they’re not about to win over many new tech savvy converts for their oh so expensive Office Suite. Maybe that’s partly why they’re prioritizing creative techniques to help less tech savvy users learn their software.

Whatever the reason, putting out a web game to help you learn how to use their programs is a cool idea. Ribbon Hero is a very interesting experiment in a game environment that walks users through tutorials about Microsoft software.

My question for the internet? How motivating is Ribbon Hero to use? Does having a leader board where you can compare scores with other Ribbon Heroes motivating? Is the game fun enough to enrich your learning experience? Does it successfully put you in a cognitive state that helps you learn? The people at Education Arcade have a lot to say about motivation through games.

Most importantly, what can we learn from this software about how to motivate ourselves?

I’m going to sniff around the internet for a bit and see if I can collect some people’s answers on the topic. (As for myself, I was turned off by the videos about Ribbon Hero. So instead of forcing myself to try something that failed to draw me in I’m choosing a more scholarly approach to learning about it.) I’ll update when I have more to share.

OK… the blogosphere hasn’t sated my thirst on this one yet. CNET just describes Ribbon Hero, ZDNET writes a fawning puff piece, and Web Strategist Blog publishes some interesting suggestions for how to improve it. But no description of what it’s like to actually use it.



Written by clayward

April 26, 2010 at 3:19 pm

Posted in fun

Idea: Jog around treasure hunt replaces work.

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Everyone seems to love mining for gold on World of Warcraft… this was the subject of conversation at Brambleberry Manor (help them save their ducks) over the weekend. And since then my subconscious has been processing the latent terror (click, click, click… baby, I just need 10 more gold pieces to finish this mission). So how can we engage the “mine for gold” instinct in a productive (and wrist healthy) way?

Show up to work at ProcrasDonate and we’ll hand you a treasure map. There is no desk waiting for you here. There is work to get done and human scale self motivation systems to do it. Pivotal Tracker is the first step. Daily treasure maps the next?

I show up to work, scan my card and a fortune cookie slip pops out with the todo list that I asked for yesterday. There’s a nice note from my boss about last week’s project which I skip because a new ship is appearing on my ipad treasure map! I head over to pink harbor, tap my card and watch a 30 second missive sent from development. I have a “silver pidgeon” that’s about to expire so I send my own 30 second spot back on priority. I vote for a 2 degree increase in temperature before jogging off to my next appointment.

OK, interning for ProcrasDonate isn’t quite that much fun. But we do create a self directed and flexible project strategy for everyone we work with. So email us at… info (at) procrasdonate (dot) com ….if you’d like to get involved.

Written by clayward

March 15, 2010 at 7:41 pm

Posted in fun, ideas, work space