The Alphabet game is one of our star resources. It’s a game where the letters of the alphabet are laid out in a circle and the user has to answer a series of questions. The answers either begin with or contain the selected letter.
This is a great game to include in your course. Firstly, you break up the reading part of the course with something fun and motivating. And secondly, you give the user an entertaining way to review their knowledge.
To make your Alphabet game so addictive that users just can’t stop playing, try some of these really useful tips.
Make sure you’ve got plenty of content
In our Alphabet game, it’s possible to leave some letters without a question associated with them. However, for a truly great game, it’s better to try and make sure that all the letters are included.
Draw up your questions correctly
The idea is to come up with a question where the answer is a single word beginning with or containing the chosen letter. If you’re not careful when writing your questions, they could end up being ambiguous. For example, if the question corresponds to the letter “B”, and the answer is “blue”, you need to come up with a question where the answer can only be that one word. The following would be some good options:
- What color is the sky?
- Color of the sky
- The sky is, what color?
Try to avoid questions where the answer could be more than one word. For example, beginning with the letter “H”: Which department should you speak to about your sick leave? A natural answer would be “the human resources department”. This makes the question too long and complicated, and there are too many chances for the user to write the answer incorrectly, so it doesn’t work for a game of Alphabet.
Also remember that you’ve got two different types of question:
- Begins with the letter
- Contains the letter
Always try to use the first one if you can. It’s much clearer and easier for users to answer. The second option is there to help you come up with questions for difficult letters like “K”, “Q” or “X”.
Use images to illustrate your questions
You can add an image to each question you set. Adding a relevant image to each question won’t just make your Alphabet game more attractive. It’ll also contextualize the question, make it clearer for the user, and reduce the chance of them reading it too quickly and making a mistake.
Be mindful of spelling mistakes
You can set several different correct answers for the same question. This means you can be more flexible about spelling or grammar mistakes. How do you set up answers for this?
In this kind of game, users normally try to answer as quickly as they can. To stop users making unintended mistakes, the game isn’t sensitive to capital letters. This means you don’t need to worry about these when coming up with your answers.
However, it IS important to pay attention to common spelling mistakes and anticipate them in your answers. For example:
- Putting “i” before “e” and vice versa.
- Writing single instead of double letters, such as “r”, “s”, or “t”.
- Using the incorrect vowel, such as “e” in place of the final “a” in “calendar”.
For example, let’s say that you’ve written the following question for the letter “M”: “Which department would you call if a piece of equipment breaks down”. In this case, the correct answer would be “maintenance”. However, there will be some users who know the correct answer but will spell it wrong. If you don’t bear this in mind, the user will get frustrated because they won’t understand why their answer isn’t correct. Try to avoid this by coming up with as many variations of the answer as you can think of. Remember, Alphabet will only say it’s the correct answer if the user writes exactly one of the possible answers you’ve set (without capitals). In this case, the following could also be potential answers:
- maintenance department
- maintainance department
- the maintenance department
- the maintainance department
Set the gamification parameters
Our Alphabet game offers you three gamification parameters: a maximum time to answer, the number of points for a correct answer, and the option of using up to three wildcards.
Think carefully how you’re going to configure them to make the game work:
- Time: when you activate the clock in Alphabet, it’ll be set to a maximum of five minutes by default. But maybe that’s not the right amount of time for your game. It depends how many questions you’ve included. To find out how long you’ll need, calculate how much time the user will need to read and answer each question and then just multiply it by the number of questions you’ve set. Once you’ve worked this out, you can set the maximum time to complete the game. If you set too much time, the game will be too easy and won’t feel like a challenge. But if the time is too short, your users will get frustrated that they can never complete it.
- Points: you can set up the game so the user wins as many points as you like for a correct answer. All you need to do is set a points total, and the game will divide it by the number of questions there are. It’s a great idea to make it possible to win lots of points to give your users extra motivation (the game is set to 5000 points by default).
- Wildcards: they can be useful for getting the user more involved in the dynamics of the game. Wildcards make it all more enjoyable. However, you need to think about their educational value. Using wildcards (three maximum) means they can successfully complete the game without actually knowing all the answers. Do you really want that in your course? Well, it depends. For example, if you’re trying to find out how much the user already knows, it can be quite useful. But if you’re using Alphabet to reinforce what they’ve learnt, you’ll only want the user to complete the game if they know all the answers.
Explain how the game works
Not all users will know the Alphabet game or how to play it. This means it’s a good idea to explain them how it works before they start playing. At the very least, you should tell them what it involves, how much time they have to complete it, the maximum points they can win, and how many wildcards they’ve got. That way, the user will know what to expect from the game and will be engaged from the very first moment.
Make the game more varied
Did you know you can set up more than one question for each letter? This way, if the user repeats the game, they’ll have new questions to answer and learn even more.
Put it wherever you want
Don’t forget that you’ll need some space to explain how the game works, either on the same slide or a previous one. Otherwise, you can put your Alphabet game wherever you want on the screen. Alphabet always opens in full screen mode once the user clicks on it to begin playing, so you don’t need to worry about whether it fits in the space you’ve allocated.
Try it out yourself first
To find out whether the game works or not, try it out yourself. Once you’ve finished writing all the questions, put yourself to the test! By experiencing the game as a user, you’ll know how they’re going to feel when they complete it, if the questions are too easy or hard, if you’ve given them enough time to finish (or too much), etc. That way, you’ll be able to make some final changes before your Alphabet game is ready.
Alphabet is a learning resource that you can use to test how much users already know (before teaching them the theory) and also to reinforce their learning after they’ve studied the lessons. Don’t underestimate its potential. Users can get really hooked and it makes them learn almost without them realizing it!