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12 learning game gurus to follow


For inspiration on games for learning

The learning games industry is growing rapidly globally and, after some early reticence, it’s now growing fastest in the corporate sector.

As more and more research shows that well-designed game play creates realistic situations, engages learners, produces increased retention and leads to better results, the trend of using games for workplace learning will continue to grow.

We’ve curated a list of 12 of the world’s top game gurus whose work is having an impact on how we think about learning games.

1. Karl Kapp

Karl M. Kapp is the undisputed world number one author, speaker, consultant on games for learning. An instructional technology professor at Bloomberg University, he also has real world experience of games in digital learning. He’s extremely generous in sharing his knowledge and he’s accessible on social media.

Quote: “Saying that games don’t teach is ridiculous. It’s like saying lectures don’t teach, discussions don’t teach or homework doesn’t teach.” 

Follow for: World-class insights on games in learning.

Read: In conversation with Professor Karl M Kapp

Watch: Life Lessons … from video games

Connect: @kkapp

2. Sue Bohle

Sue Bohle is founder of the Serious Games Association and the executive director/producer of the Serious Play Conference. Before moving into serious games, Bohle had a long and successful career in technology and consumer PR.

Key quote: “We have known for a long time that students and employees prefer and enjoy learning when it is playful and fun; we can now prove that it is more effective, that retention is better.”

Follow for: Collaborative and networking opportunities with other learning professionals.

Read: Sue Bohle on the Growth of Serious Games in Corporate e-Learning

3. Jane McGonical

Jane McGonical PhD is a world-renowned, award-winning developer of games that are designed to solve real problems and improve lives.  She is also a best-selling author.

Key quote: “My #1 goal in life is to see a game developer win a Nobel Peace Prize.”

Follow for: The high-profile face of game science.

Watch: How to Think (and Learn) Like a Futurist

Jane McGonical on Amazon

Jane McGonical website

Connect: @avantgame 

4. Jason Butler

Jason Butler was a game developer working in the independent games industry before switching his skills to creating learning games. He is now known as Games Evangelist at Sponge, where he has worked on learning games for some of the best-known brands and organisations in the UK and globally. Jason’s work has gained industry recognition.

Key quote: “I could see the impact that games could make in the field of digital workplace learning. And I could see it would make a difference in skills development for organisations and employees.” 

Follow for: A game designer’s approach to effective learning.

Read: What do game developers bring to learning?

Connect: @oldmanvegas

5. Richard Davey

Richard Davey is the developer behind the popular HTML5 game framework Phaser.  HTML5 is a modern web standard that’s used by all popular web browsers on desktop and mobile devices. If you want learning games that work on many devices then Phaser is worth investigating.

Key quote: “The fact that I can keep making tools that empower anyone to create games is what keeps my passion burning.”

Follow for: Multi-device games, news and examples.

Read: Meet Richard Davey, creator of Phaser

Watch: Let’s Make a Game with Phaser

Connect: @photonstorm

6. Marigo Raftopoulos

Marigo Raftopoulos is an influential figure in learning games. As the founder of Strategic Innovation Lab, she bridges the gap between academia and enterprise. Her website has research-backed facts relating to business challenges.

Follow for: Academic games research applied to business.

Watch: Marigo Raftopoulos on Game Has Changed: Cutting through complexity to engage employees & customers

Connect: @marigo

7. Andrzej Marczewski

Andrzej Marczewski offers a good grounding in the basics of games and cuts through the complexities to explain the differences between games and gamification. If you’re considering new ways of learning at your organisation, his videos and articles are worth checking out. He has also authored books and created frameworks that help you apply your new-found knowledge to meet your business challenges.

Follow for: Straightforward explanations of the core game principles.

Andrzej Marczewski on Amazon

Gamified UK website

Connect: @DaveRage

8. Pam Kato

Pam Kato is a Professor of Serious Games at Coventry University and provides strategic leadership at the Serious Games Institute, where she is Director of Research. A master’s degree graduate of Harvard University and a PhD graduate of Stanford University, she is an internationally-recognised expert on serious games for health. She is known for facilitating academic and industry partnerships.

Follow for: Serious game applied research and business engagement.

Pam Kato website

Connect: @pamkato

9. Kurt Squire

Kurt Squire is co-director at Games Learning Society, a Professor of Digital Media and the author of numerous books and scholarly papers on learning with technology. He has also directed game-based learning projects and his research has attracted multi-million dollar backing from organisations such as the MacArthur Foundation, the Gates Foundation and science, health and educations bodies.

Follow for: Research and design of learning games.

Kurt Squire on Amazon

Game Learning Society website

Connect: @glscenter

10. Phaedra Boinodiris

As former Global Lead of Serious Games & Gamification Across Industries at multinational tech giants IBM, Phaedra Boinodiris designed solutions and market strategies for employee engagement, customer engagement and retention, strategic resiliency, and cultural transformation. She was also Serious Games Program Manager at IBM, crafting its serious games strategy for the public sector including government entities, education, and healthcare.

Follow for: Serious games to achieve business goals.

Phaeadra Boinodiris on Amazon

Phaedra Boinodiris on LinkedIn

Connect: @INNOV8game 

11. Sam S. Adkins

Sam Adkins is CEO and chief researcher at advanced learning technology research firm Metaari. He specialises in research across several technologies including mobile, augmented reality, virtual reality, artificial intelligence, cognitive systems, psychometrics, simulation platforms, robotics, and game engines. His focus is on learning technology trends across all the major sectors including businesses, government agencies, academic institutions, and consumers.

Follow for: Latest research, insights, trends and analytics of serious games and learning technologies.

Watch: Sam S. Adkins: Global Market for Game-Based Learning

Metaari website 

12. Kevin Dill

Kevin Dill is an experienced game developer and a leading expert on AI for games.  He moved to the serious games industry and is currently a member of the senior technical staff at Lockheed Martin Advanced Simulation Center in Boston, USA. He works on creating games with realistic training environments for sectors such as the Military. One of these was a future training environment for the US Marines. Also a writer, speaker and lecturer.

Follow for: How AI can build real-life environments; how games are applied to learning.

Read: Interview with Kevin Dill

Kevin Dill on LinkedIn 

Who’s your learning games guru? Let us know @sponge_learning