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Sententia Gamification on the 11th day of Christmas Juke Box Hero

Juke Box Hero

adult learning behavioral science corporate training e-learning game design gamification Jan 04, 2022

When Foreigner’s song Juke Box Hero plays, I’m instantly transported to a camp meeting in British Columbia when I was 14. It was the first time I kissed a girl with braces. Her older sister had a driver’s license and was playing Foreigner while driving us away from the supervision of youth pastors to a secluded park along a nearby river.  

That one song brings back all sorts of sense and emotional memories, plus decades-old details about other experiences from that week, including selling six illegal firecrackers for $10 Canadian.  

Thanks for obliging this quick trip down memory lane, and I apologize if Juke Box Hero is now an earwig for you. But I imagine that there are songs that similarly trigger memories for you, and if we were in person, it would now be your turn to tell me about a song that triggers a memory for you.  

In 2009, Petr Janata mapped people’s brains while they were listening to music. He found that when listening to familiar music, our medial prefrontal cortex lights up. This is the same region where memories and emotions are stored.  

Admittedly, Janata’s work is focused on possible treatments for Alzheimer patients, but can we think of ways to use music in our learning program to aid in memory? What if a course had its own theme song? Is it possible that when our learners hear that song in the future, they will be transported back to our program? Will they be more likely to remember the information they ingested? 

Other studies have shown that music does indeed help us focus. One study at Stanford suggests that when our brains are listening to music, our brains engage in memory activities that anticipate what will come next. This is a process known as “segmentation” where our brains partition information into meaningful chunks, which are used to predict future events.  

Again, an interesting proposition for including music in our learning programs. Would music in our learning programs help learners not only take in information, but to also use that information to anticipate future events. In other words, would music encourage learners to actually use the information instead of simply storing it in working memory?  

To tie all this back to gamification, from the beginning, video games employed sound to note and encourage action. From the bing of Pong and the waca waca of Pac-Man to Zelda’s Ocarina of Time, sounds, and now music, set a mood for play, denote the boundaries of play, and encourage player actions.  

Since most of us were forced to learn in near silent classrooms, it is not natural for us to think in terms of using sound and music as a learning tool. But for younger generations earbuds and headphones are an integral part of their wardrobe. The more game-like an eLearning course is, the greater the expectation for music within the experience.  

Yes, I’ve now added an extra aspect and dimension to your job. Not only do you now have to take the time to find royalty-free audio files, but you also have to organize and juggle all those files throughout your courses. The good news is all that extra effort will result in greater learning, retention, and enjoyment for your learners. 

Standing in the rain, with his head hung low
Couldn’t get a ticket, it was a sold-out show…


Today's 12 Days of Christmas daily giveaway a FREE Download of our list of 99 Game Mechanics. Because as the usage of gamification in corporate training continues to mature, the focus is shifting to adopting strategies that can further leverage it, and go beyond just points, badges, and leaderboards.

Our 99 Game Mechanics will get you started!  Merry Christmas!

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