A Little Summer Entertainment–Instructional Design?

It’s been great to have my son involved in television.  Of course, we have to watch the shows that he’s worked on:  Survivorman, Canadian Pickers.  More importantly, it’s opened up an interest in television channels that we might not otherwise watch.  In this case, we’ve become fans of the Outdoor Life Network, History Channel, National Geographic Channel, and A&E TV.

Recently, another television show on A&E TV has really caught our attention. It’s called Storage Wars.  It’s based on a relatively simple premise.  You know those storage places you’ll find all over the place?  Well, if you don’t pay your bills, you forfeit the contents of your storage.  The reality show is all about what happens next.

Next…the contents are auctioned off.  I haven’t been to an auction sale in years so it was really interesting when I first saw the show and now I’m hooked.  There are basically four teams of players that go the auctions with the purpose of winning the contents of the locker via auction.  The kicker is that the lock to the locker is cut open; they have five minutes to look inside to get a sense of what’s there; and then the auctioning begins.  Upon completion, you get to go through the booty with the successful bidder to see what’s there.  If they’re unsure of the value, they take it to experts for an opinion.

What’s neat about the show is that there’s an online version to test your ability to assign value to things that you might find!


You play the game and see just how good you are at spotting value.

It is an addictive game but, more importantly, it enhances the whole Storage Wars experience.  There’s also a game that lets you play along with the television show.

I think that the combination of the game and the show is a winning combination.  By themselves, the show and the game are pretty good.  Put them together and you’ve got an experience that’s bigger than the sum of the parts.

They are interesting.  I like how the two of them go hand in hand, complementing each other.

I then started to think about instructional design and gaming.  It seems to me that so much use of technology use in the class is “made to fit” whether it fits or not.  If I was a vendor of textbooks or a vendor of software, I’d take a look at the winning combination that you see here.  Design of one should keep the other in mind.  The net result may well be a learning environment that has more engagement than just one or the other.

And that’s a twenty dollar bill, all day long.

OTR Links 07/04/2012

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.