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Late Night Wordleing

29 January 2022

Most nights I’d say I’m usually asleep by about 11.30pm, staying up, probably later than I should, to ensure that I enjoy those delicious few hours of grownup television and uninterrupted, guilt free, social media surfing. Lately however, I have been going to sleep at approximately 00.05am. Why you might ask? Well it’s all to do with those pesky bricks that have been littering twitter feeds and have even surfaced on facebook too… (rare.. not many things seem to crossover between the two platforms these days.. hardly any of my facebook friends seem to be that troubled by #leavingpartygate #birthdaycakegate #makethemostofthesunshinegate …. ) illustrating the coloured square’s popularity.

Wordle. You’re probably as hooked as me, or if you’re not, you’re about to be if you visit this website – If you do, please read the rules and don’t (like me) race into your first wordle not really understanding what the different colours meant because your first fail will haunt your cumulative statistics FOREVER.

Here are the rules anyway and of course, its genius is in its ELEGANT SIMPLICITY TM.

Added bonus, its creator is Welsh! Here’s yesterday’s Wordle (Wordle players know that you must never share the word on the day that its been released!)

Anyway, it’s intriguing to me that it’s affecting my sleep pattern because I’ve never been someone who is into games (particularly ones played by those you are in a relationship with 😁). Some couples and families seem really into them and genuinely have fun getting together to play them …  I just don’t get it.  Saying that, in Lockdown 1 when I was genuinely on the edge, I panic bought MANY different board games (it would seem that Boris didn’t) to attempt to pass the time including Mouse Trap – a game that I had desired AS MUCH as I had desired a kitten when I was younger. Within 2 minutes of opening said game and discovering the amount of parts and construction involved, I suddenly appreciated why my parents had never bought it for me.

They were wrong about the kitten though.

Whilst my soul might sigh when my daughter asks to play a game of Junior Cluedo, or even worse, Monopoly *SHUDDERS* I am very aware about how powerful combining tasks with a sprinkling of gaming fun is to business (or to use the proper term ‘gamification’).

The website explains gamification really nicely (and there’s lots of nice examples there too):

They add “What’s interesting is that gamification is not a new concept. While the term may have been coined in more recent times, the concept has existed in many areas of life for as long as civilisation has existed. If you remember watching Mary Poppins, she sums up gamification quite nicely with the quote “In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. You find the fun and SNAP! the job’s a game.

Duolingo – the BRILLIANT app that helps you learn languages was a master at gamification, using points, badges and leaderboards to help you to progress through the language levels whilst also, staying loyal and tuned to the app.  It is so good at giving you little pokes to get you to play, sending notifications of crying owls, sad that you haven’t played for 4 days, that it gave birth to this tweet by Lauren Scharf.

So much of online learning incorporates gamification now that I really do think that Universities should be more proactively incorporating gamification into their offer (some already do I know) and whilst we need our students to apply more brain activity than a mere 5 minutes daily at midnight, we, and many other services, can learn a lot from Wordle’s success.  And wouldn’t you know it, a lot of the learning points are …. you’ve guessed it…. LEAN!

  1. Brilliant use of visual management. The simple use of three colours to help you progress down the stack, reflected in the colours of the keyboard, which help you to cycle through the different five letter words cluttering your brain. There isn’t nearly enough visual management in the world for my liking (appreciate that this is a problem for visually impaired people – there can also be far more auditory cues as well).
  2. Daily management routine – there is something about the fact that a new word is released at the same time every day, its habit forming and comforting in its repetition (like Love Island is every night at 9pm). It builds discipline and enhances progress.
  3. Measures what’s important. It’s so easy to see how well you did each time. YES! I got it in 3. OMG I got it in 2 (luck) .. too many 6s in a row .. think more carefully about your first word Sarah! Which is of course, in itself …
  4. A relentless focus on lead time reduction. (Kind of).

p.s. this article suggests that the reason Wordle has been so successful is partly due to its inbuilt marketing tool, encouraging you to share how well you did on social media whilst protecting the daily wordle word, via the cryptic shadow of coloured squares.  The driving force for this success being that human beings like having the opportunity to show off how clever they are.

Let’s just focus on the lean points shall we 😁.