Games as an Interactive Performance Improvement Strategy (Michelle Cohen)


This document provides an example of the application of games as an instructional intervention.

Topic and Objective

Topic: 360° Feedback

Objective: Identify and argue the pros and cons of implementing 360 feedback as part of our performance management system.

For details on content see: (,,

Instructional Strategy

The flow will be as follows (Thiagaran, 1997):

LEARNING TEAM: Generic Instructions (details see

  1. Prepare the handouts.
  2. Get ready for the gamettes.
  3. Collect the play materials and supplies.
  4. Conduct an initial learning session
  5. Form teams.
  6. Conduct a practice round.
  7. Conduct a cooperative learning session.
  8. Conduct a contest round.
  9. Alternate contests and cooperative learning.
  10. Change the gamettes.
  11. Conclude the game.
  12. Assign appropriate follow-up and action-planning activities.

This instructional strategy was chosen because it forces participants to read handouts on a topic that’s unfamiliar to them while maintaining their involvement and attention via the cooperative and competitive nature of the game. Major features of this instructional strategy include: flexibility to use with any reading intensive instructional topic, interactive nature of the learning experience, and fosters teamwork.  Major strengths of this strategy include using the motivational effects of both cooperation and competition to engage participants. Vygotsky contends that higher mental processes in humans develop through social interaction, emphasizing collaboration as a critical feature because it enables insights and solutions to arise fluidly that might not do so otherwise. (Driscoll, 2000, p.385).  The point-counterpoint gamette uses instruction as a nurturing process “by which learners develop and defend individual perspectives while recognizing those of others.” (Id.)

Essential features to make this instruction effective are flexible participants who are ready to learn in a new way, supplies as noted on the instructions, hand-outs of reading materials related to the instructional objective.

This instructional strategy is suitable for our audience and organizational environment and the topic we’re covering because the audience is unfamiliar with the topic and the organization is looking for ways to engage learners and expand their HPT repertoire.


Workshops by Thiagi, Sivasailam Thiagaragan

Dr. Sivasailam "Thiagi" Thiagarajan's has consulted and conducted training in such areas as rightsizing, diversity, creativity, teamwork, customer satisfaction, human performance technology, and organizational learning. (Workshops by Thiagi, 2004).

Thiagi has published 40 books, 120 games and simulations, and more than 200 articles. He authored definitive chapters on simulations and games for ISPI's Handbook of Human Performance Technology, ASTD's Training & Development Handbook, and the American Management Association's Human Resources Management and Development Handbook. (Id.)

Thiagi currently writes a monthly online newsletter, Play for Performance. This newsletter features Thiagi's training games and other creative interventions that deliver results quickly and effectively. He served as the editor of NSPI Journal and Performance & Improvement for more than 10 years. He currently edits the simulation/game section in Sage Publication's journal, Simulation & Gaming. He is also a contributing editor of the monthly journal, Educational Technology. (Id.)

Thiagi has been the president of the North American Simulation and Gaming Associating (NASAGA), International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI), and Association for Special Education Technology (ASET). He has received 17 different awards and Presidential Citations from ISPI, including the society's highest award, Honorary Life Member. He also received an Honorary Life Member award from NASAGA as well as its highest award, Ifill-Raynolds Award.

Thiagi is internationally recognized as an expert in multinational collaboration and active learning in organizations. (Workshops by Thiagi, 2004).

Mel Silberman

Mel Silberman is a psychologist known internationally as a pioneer in the area of active learning. He is also President of Active Training, Princeton, N.J., a provider of products and seminars and publications in his areas of expertise. He has more than 35 years experience creating and honing techniques that inspire people to be people smart, learn faster and collaborate effectively.

His training skills, psychological insights, and engaging personality make him a popular speaker at conferences of the American Society for Training and Development, the International Society for Performance Improvement, Training magazine, and the North American Simulation and Gaming Association.

Among his numerous publications are:  Active Training: A Handbook of Techniques, Designs, Case Examples, and Tips (second edition); Active Learning: 101 Strategies to Teach Any Subject; and, 101 Ways to Make Training Active.  (Active Training, 2004).

The Kevin Eikenberry Group

The Kevin Eikenberry Group is a learning consulting company that provides a wide range of services, including training delivery and design, facilitation, performance coaching, organizational consulting, and speaking services. They have worked with Fortune 500 companies, smaller firms, universities, government agencies and more. Their client list include: Amgen, Aramark, various Chevron companies, John Deere, Purdue University, Rolls Royce, the Red Cross, Southwest Airlines, the U.S. Marine Corp, the U.S. Mint, and Verizon. ).  (The Kevin Eikenberry Group, 2004).

Kevin has presented to international conventions of the North American Simulation and Gaming Association (NASAGA), the International Society for Performance Improvement, and the National Association for Experiential Learning. He has also presented at regional meetings of the American Society for Training and Development, and the International Society for Performance Improvement. Kevin has served two terms as Chair of the NASAGA Boar