Learning Game Design Show & Tell with Kevin Thorn, Deborah Thomas and Karl Kapp

May 12, 2021
5 minutes
Learning Game Design Show & Tell with Kevin Thorn, Deborah Thomas and Karl Kapp

The hosts of Stepaway.design returned to share the games designed by attendees of their recent virtual game design event.  

Karl Kapp, Deb Thomas, and Kevin Thorn are heavy hitters in our industry and specifically in learning game design.  More specifically they are skilled at teaching others how to design games for learning. And that's why they started their event Stepaway.design.  

The pandemic shutdown of 2020 forced event producers to pivot towards virtual events and so they did the same. At the beginning of 2021 they ran their first virtual event and the attendee created games have been completed and they're ready for show'n'tell.  

The projects they shared all came with a story about how each participant engaged with the event, and other participants, to come up with their unique concepts.  They shared a little about their new virtual event as well as the activities used to help walk participants through the creative process... but without doing the work for them.  

It’s always a pleasure having them join us to talk about the game design process as well as show us the results of that process.  

Go ahead and Stepaway from what you're doing and spend 45mins enjoying this fantastic episode of IDIODC.

To see all the comments from the chat, check out the full session right here.  

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About Kevin Thorn

Kevin is an award-winning elearning designer & developer, consultant, and owner of NuggetHead Studioz, LLC., a boutique custom design and development studio specializing in online learning experiences.

After retiring from the U.S. Army, Kevin pursued a career in corporate IT and Training & Development. With his combined military and industry experience, Kevin started the Studioz in 2012 working with clients in various industries solving problems in a wide range of creative projects. Based in the North Mississippi Delta, Kevin, harnesses a bench of creative practitioners in instructional design, elearning development, illustration and graphic design, animation, and serious comics to develop innovative solutions. Kevin is a well-known industry speaker and trainer on elearning development, design workflows, and is a certified facilitator in LEGO® Serious Play® methodologies

Kevin holds a BS in Information Technology Management from Christian Brothers University, MS in Instructional Design and Technology from the University of Memphis where he also teaches and is in the Instructional and Curriculum Leadership EdD program. He can be found on Twitter as @LearnNuggets, on LinkedIn, or around learning and development communities teaching and facilitating workshops where he
writes articles, reviews and shares tutorials.

About Deborah Thomas

In 2005 Deborah Thomas founded SillyMonkey, LLC, a game-based learning boutique that works with corporate clients to design difficult concepts in a fun and memorable way through the playful but effective use of board games, video games and virtual worlds that she creates. Her motto: “Learn fast, remember more and have fun doing it.” As a public education teacher at one of the worst performing schools in the country, she drove her students’ SAT scores up 30 % by using innovative techniques. Previous professional board roles: North American Simulation and Gaming Association, Atlanta ATD, and Georgia Game Developers Association.

About Karl Kapp

Karl M. Kapp, Ed.D., is an award-winning professor of Instructional Technology at Bloomsburg University in Bloomsburg, PA. where he teaches instructional game design, gamification classes and online learning design.  He is the Director of Bloomsburg’s Institute for Interactive Technologies and is recognized internationally as an expert in the application of games, game-thinking and gamification to learning. Karl earned his doctoral degree from the University of Pittsburgh.

He is currently a senior researcher on a grant sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) which involves the application of microlearning and gamification to help childcare workers identify child abuse. Karl has previously served as a Co-Principle Investigator on two National Science Foundation (NSF) grants related to games and simulations. Karl is an advisor for several EdTech start up companies.

Karl has authored or co-authored eight books including “The Gamification of Learning and Instruction,” it’s accompanying fieldbook and the widely popular, “Play to Learn.” His latest co-authored book with Robyn Defelice is “Microlearning: Short and Sweet.” Karl is author of ten LinkedIn Learning courses including “Learning How to Increase Learner Engagement” and has been a TEDx speaker. In 2019, he received the ATD Distinguished Contribution to Talent Development Award. The award is presented in recognition of an exceptional contribution that has had a sustained impact on field of the talent development.

Karl’s work explores the research, theoretical foundations and practical application of gamification, game-thinking and activity-based learning to organizational performance issues. His goal is to help organizations create engaging learning experiences through intelligent, research-based application of instructional strategies and techniques. He shares his expertise and knowledge through consulting, workshops and one-on-one mentoring with start-up firms, Fortune 100 companies and various governmental agencies.


Instructional Designers in Offices Drinking Coffee (affectionately known as IDIODC) is a weekly live videocast and podcast that helps instructional designers with pain points and provides best practices and industry insight.  

Every Wednesday morning at 10am ET hosts Brent Schlenker and Chris Van Wingerden guide us through an upbeat and candid conversation with their guests from the elearning and training world. The live cast session encourages peers to participate in the chat and share their own personal insight! After airing live, you can catch the learning podcast on all major streams such as Spotify, Apple and Google Play podcasts, as well as on YouTube.

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