Business Learning Games 2019 Panel Discussion | Episode 105

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This special episode is the live recording of the panel that was held on the Business Learning Games Conference 2019 in Lisbon, organized by the Business Excellence Institute. The panel had quite a broad topic, and as such features questions from Rob as head of the discussion but also questions and comments from the audience itself.

About the panelists:

Teresa De La Hera is a lecturer at the University Rotterdam’s Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication and is the author of the upcoming book Digital Gaming in the Advertising Landscape as well as the editor of the upcoming volume Persuasive Gaming in Context, both being published by Amsterdam University Press.

As a researcher, she has provided professional advice to game designers on how to approach the design of games with persuasive purposes. She has been a visiting scholar at the University of Amsterdam and has worked as a researcher at both the Centre for the Study of Digital Games and Play at Utrecht University and in the Communication Studies Department of the University of Santiago de Compostela in Spain. She has also spent some time an entrepreneur having co-founded the multimedia production company La Tia Mardalina.

Teresa holds an MA in Communication and Advertising and a Ph.D. in Game Studies (her Ph.D. thesis, Persuasive Structures in Advergames, received the prestigious Prize for Research on Audiovisual Communication awarded by the Consell de l’audiovisual de Cataluny).

Sara de Freitas is an executive consultant, professor, former university Deputy Vice-Chancellor, and an Honorary Fellow of the University of London.

An eminent educator with twenty-five years’ experience working in higher education in Europe and Australia, Sara has an encyclopedic knowledge of the sector and is a champion of enhancing the educational experience. She has been a driving force for the use of learning games for over a decade and has led numerous programs of higher education curriculum development, organizational transformation and global engagement.

Named the most “Influential Woman in Technology” by Fast Company in both 2009 and 2010, Sara’s research to date has been led to the publication of 7 books and over 200 papers and she has delivered over 140 keynote speeches to audiences around the world. She continues to influence sectoral change working as a consultant and advisor to public and private sector organizations in the areas of education, health, media, and manufacturing (to name but a few).

Michael Sutton is a multidisciplinary scholarly-practitioner with experience in design thinking, information systems, knowledge management, education, and games. Having worked in business and as an entrepreneur, he moved into education and – despite being an advocate of innovative and disruptive approaches to education – has served as a professor at a number of universities in the US.

He is an internationally recognized thought leader on game-based learning and co-author of the upcoming book Successful Game-Based Learning: The Power of the human element in experiential learning, simulations, and serious games. Michael has won awards for teaching excellence and is an award-winning author of papers on both educational technology and business. He also serves as a research advisor for the Harvard Business Review.

Michael holds a Ph.D. in Knowledge Management (McGill University). He is a Certified Management Consultant and a Fellow of the Business Excellence Institute. He has been an International Business Learning Games competition judge since 2017.

Lars Hoffmann is Director of Learning at the global engineering and software company DHI – a world leader in hydrology and water environments. He directs the DHI Academy, which delivers training to clients, staff, and partners. He has previously served as a Learning Architect at Henley Business School – where he also taught personal development to executive MBAs. He has worked as a management consultant for Gartner Group and Nykredit and has founded two companies within game-based learning; Games & Theory and ADEO. Lars serves as a guest lecturer at the University of Copenhagen and as an external examiner at both Aarhus University and at the Technical University of Denmark. He has designed well over 40 games for learning and change in large organizations and is serving as a judge for the 2018 International Business Learning Games Competition.

He holds a Master’s Degree in Psychology from the University of Copenhagen as well as numerous certifications in psychometric tests and learning tools. His interests include sports, science and playing all kinds of board games. Since 1999, Lars has designed well over 40 analog games for learning and change in large organizations.

Paul O’Connor is the founder and Principal of SCENARIO, a Serious Games company that designs and facilitates bespoke scenario exercises, business wargames, megagames, matrix games, and historical wargames to enable businesses, organizations and educators to “think and experience the unthinkable”.

An experienced design thinker, strategist, innovation specialist, facilitator and trainer, Paul pivoted a 15-year career as a professional architect and business owner when he moved into Business Innovation Management. He was a founding partner of Ireland’s first Competitive Intelligence and Business Wargames consultancy, POLUS Intelligence, is the former Head of Immersive Engagement at KATAWAVE, and has also served as the Innovation Ecosystem Development Manager at Accenture’s new Global Centre for Innovation in Dublin’s Silicon Docks.


The first question was related to what the next 5-10 years will look like for gamification and game-based learning. The panel had a variety of answers, from more qualitative research to game-based learning being more embedded into our education system. For some, it’s clear that how we learn is changing these days and game-based learning will follow that trend. There was also a pretty strong view, where game-based learning gaining will not gain a significant niche until 60% of the current institutes of higher education go out of business.

The audience then asks about how experiences are trending and what people seem to be looking for. Answers go along the path of emotional experiences to remember years later and that a powerful tool for this is precisely game-based learning. The next question is with regards to flow and the current status of the attention span, even the word addiction comes into the mix here.

The episode ends with a question for the panel: “Do you feel the flow is an objective itself in using game-based learning?” Tune in next week to find how they answer!

Here you can find the full panel in video format:


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3 Replies to “Business Learning Games 2019 Panel Discussion | Episode 105”

  1. Pingback: Business Learning Games 2019 Panel Discussion [Part 2] | Episode 106 – Professor Game

  2. Pingback: Tribute to Michael Sutton | Episode 325 – Professor Game

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