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Is Gamification the Future of Virtual Learning? Gamification is the latest development to hit the e-Learning landscape and it’s estimated to reach a whopping market growth of $1,707 billion by the end of 2015. Using games for learning is not a new phenomenon; you need only watch the famous difficulty spelling clip from Danny DeVito’s Matilda film (1996) to realise that. However, while game play is customary between teacher and student, adapting this technique to the digital sphere is easier said than done. Gamification is not intended to undermine the credibility of education but rather to make the entire process more engaging. With games there is always the motivation to improve so by incorporating competitive, immersive and fun elements into learning, there is further scope for development. To progress with virtual learning gamification successfully, we need to identify the preferred techniques that learners enjoy. A recent infographic conducted by e-Learning Infographics found that users are most engaged by:     

Different levels Points / scoring systems Instant performance feedback Activity feed Progress Bars

Conversely, the lowest ranking gamification techniques are:    

Competition between friends Virtual gift prizes Avatars Interactive fiction

Mundane activities become laborious quickly but by turning tasks into simple games it can motivate learners and hold their concentration for longer. This is particularly effective in the professional workplace. A gamification survey helmed by TalentLMS found that an astonishing 79% of corporate learners and university students said they would feel extra motivated if their environment was more game-like. This amazing statistic came at the same time as 400 out of 1000 Global organisations announced that gamification would be the model used to improve future business operations. As touched upon earlier in the article, virtual learning gamification has amazing lucrative potential. With gamification comes new demand for game designers and developers who will be needed to create and maintain these programmes. In this sense gamification is not

only beneficial to the virtual learners who use it, but also to those studying in the design and development field. The jury is out, gamification is the future. Global Knowledge offers a number of innovative, instructor-led virtual learning courses. Virtual learning enables learners to study anywhere and anytime, removing the costs associated with traditional learning. To find out how your business or organisation could benefit from virtual classroom learning, give Global Knowledge a call today on 0118 912 1929. View this on our blog

Microsoft Meets Minecraft: How Gaming Can Be Educational The future is certainly tech! And many companies are now jumping on the bandwagon with their own projects to help young people learn to code or develop their digital skills so they can become a generation of IT professionals. Education is evolving too and there has been a shift in recent years to incorporate modern and alternative teaching methods in a blended approach. But the latest trend has seen gamification enter the classroom. Microsoft Makes Minecraft Educational Minecraft is one of those classic games that everyone has played at some point in their life. It’s a part of pop culture history and Microsoft has decided to take advantage of its appeal to the young and old by turning it into an educational resource. Last year, the tech giant bought the creators of Minecraft, Mojang, for a cool $2.5 billion (£1.6 billion) and one of its new projects for the software company is to develop Minecraft so it teaches young people content creation skills. Microsoft has now launched a website and online community for educators and players. The basic premise is that Minecraft inspired lessons can be posted in a forum here and be accessed by anyone looking for inspiration.

The site describes itself as: ‘Minecraft in education is a way to teach, learn and inspire. It’s students visiting ancient civilizations to create and play out their own stories. It’s exploring mathematical concepts like perimeter, area, and volume by breaking and placing Minecraft blocks. It’s practising collaboration, problem solving, digital citizenship, and leadership skills through creative thinking and innovative design. Minecraft in education is teachers and students inspiring each other to change the way we learn.’ As Microsoft owns Xbox, there is no surprise that gaming has taken over its educational focus recently. However, Microsoft states in its blog that Minecraft has actually been inspiring lessons for years, in all kinds of subjects, from maths to physics and not only IT. Students can also learn essential skills, such as problem solving, leadership and digital citizenship, through gamification of education, in particular using this game. Jeff Teper, VP of Corporate Strategy at Microsoft said at a tech conference last year, "If we can get eight-year-old girls and boys building worlds and getting inspired by creating content digitally, as they grow up they'll want to create in PowerPoint, or Visual Studio," "And in addition to being one of the few gaming franchises that doesn't have to be freemium, Minecraft can actually charge money. It turns out it's a great business with lots of upside."

Alternative Learning and Virtual Courses with Global Knowledge Are you interested in learning more about alternative or blended education using virtual courses? Then you’ve come to the right place. We may not have a cool game for you like Microsoft, but we do have virtual courses on a vast number of subjects, such as AppSense, desktop applications and service management. Give us a call on 0118 912 1929 to find out more.

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Microsoft sees user figures soar It’s been a good news week for Microsoft as latest reports indicate that Windows 10 is already running on more than 45 million devices worldwide, whilst the Office 365 cloud service continues to flourish. New figures from Net Applications, an IT analytics company, suggest that the number of devices now running the new Windows 10 operating system has already exceeded 45 million. And given the frequently touted figure of 1.5 billion Windows devices worldwide, this means that Windows 10 share has already reached 3%. It appears that the Windows 10 growth has come largely at the expense of Windows 8.1, since recent figures indicate its corresponding share of Windows devices has dropped from 13.7% to 11.9% since the launch of Windows 10, a decline of 13%. During the same time period Windows 7 has only dropped 1.5%. It’s also telling that Net Application’s figures show Windows 8 took four months from launch to reach the 3% share of Windows devices that Windows 10 has currently achieved. Meanwhile, Office 365 goes from strength to strength, with new figures revealing 15 million subscribers and nearly a million more signing up every month. For businesses, Microsoft is seeing 50,000 new small and medium-size companies signing up every month. Office Mobile has also proved to be a major success for Microsoft, with the iOS and Android versions of the productivity suite having been downloaded 150 million times since thier launch just over a year ago. Global Knowledge Courses

We offer a number Microsoft Courses suitable for all business sizes. For further information please contact us via Email — or Telephone - +44 (0) 118 912 1929.

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Testing, testing… Microsoft has announced that it is accepting applications for the preview versions of its Skype for Business apps for iOS and Android mobile devices, whilst also increasing the number of testers for its updated service. Microsoft’s ongoing rollout of its various Skype for Business solutions has been boosted by the news that preview versions of the new apps for iOS and Android are now available, with IT administrators being encouraged to join the preview programme. Skype for Business is Microsoft’s next-generation unified communications (UC) platform, replacing the old Lync Online and Lync Server products. The new iOS and Android apps incorporate an updated dashboard, with new features including:   

Contact search bar – enabling the user to search their Global Address List by first name, last name, email alias or even a phone number Upcoming appointments - current and next meetings can be viewed in the calendar, with the option of clicking through to read more about the meeting or clicking the Quick Join icon to join the meeting right away Recent conversations – making it easy to refer back to recent chats, phone calls and meetings

In addition the In-Call and In-Meeting experience has been rebuilt with new features that make it easier to navigate calls and meetings on a mobile phone or tablet. Existing users with Lync 2013 on their iOS or Android device will get the new Skype for Business app as an update later this year. Elsewhere, Microsoft is also planning to increase the number of testers of its updated service. In a blog post the company confirmed: “…we are expanding the preview of the new to a broader audience. We enhanced the service based on feedback from our initial set of preview users and are broadening the rollout so that more users get access to these features faster.” An earlier preview of the new featured a refined inbox, new ways to collaborate, an upgraded calendar and support for partner add-ins.

And new testers will be able to see the partner plans beginning to bear fruit with Uber, PayPal, Evernote and Boomerang add-ins now available as part of the preview. In addition, further partnership agreements have been announced with Evernote, Yelp, IFTTT and Wunderlist to deliver solutions for both consumer and commercial Outlook users. Global Knowledge training If you would like to find out more on our Microsoft Certifications then please visit our website. For any further information you may require please Email — info@ or Telephone - +44 (0) 118 912 1929. View this on our blog

A few Microsoft articles from our GKUK blog  
A few Microsoft articles from our GKUK blog