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How Much Do You Know About Gamification?

The Elearning Guild  has come out with a test where you can see how much you know about ways to succeed with gamification.  Obviously the Pokémon Go people got it right.  But what are the lessons that you can apply?

Here are the broad categories.

  • Risk. Should you encourage it?
  • Juice. What is it?
  • Entertainment. Is it an end in itself to achieve learning outcomes?
  • Technical considerations. How important are they?
  • The role of Easter Eggs. What are they?
  • Player Types. Who are they?
  • Structural Gamification. What is it?
  • The central tenet of Gamification. Why design games this way?
  • Leader boards. Do they harm your game?
  • Appointment Dynamics. What are they?

There are a lot of assumptions you may already have, but the Guild did a thorough survey of current research and came up with these answers to the above questions.

Risk

Risk taking should be incorporated into learning games.  In fact, learners should be encouraged to fail and view failure as a path to learning, and not as punishment.  Risk taking means taking chances and being able to start over.  But before you even start down the gamification path, make sure your learning goals are clearly articulated.

Juice

Ask yourself:  What do I like about games?  Chances are you will say that you like an animated character like the ones in Pokémon Go.  Juice means animated objects that do all kinds of strange things to keep you interested.  Good games are juicy and keep learners engaged.

Entertainment

The reality is that games don’t have to tick the highly entertaining box to be effective learning tools.

Technical considerations

They are just as critical as clearly defining learning outcomes.  There are a suite of questions that come into play, including:

  • Is the game web-based or an app?
  • LMS integration of the game – how will it work?
  • Which development software and platform should designers use?
  • How will learners access the game?  Mobile?  Tablet?  Both?

Easter Eggs

These are embedded into the game as kind of a inside joke, hidden messages, or features.  Not critical, but they add another dimension to the game.  A kind of interesting surprise that encourages exploration.

Player Types

You’ve watched people play computer games.  And what have you noticed?  Probably that games encourage different player responses.  Good games take this into account.  Highly competitive people ‘Killers’ and those that want to show off their accomplishments ‘Achievers’ should be rewarded for their efforts with displays of their abilities.  ‘Explorers’ like drilling into a game and are good beta testers.  And ‘Socializers’ advocate the game’s use.  They all have a role to play in effective learning game implementation and design.

Structural Gamification

Once the learning goals are established, the game is structured to meet those goals without changing them.  The focus of gamification is to encourage learners to go through the content.

The central tenet of Gamification

In a word:  Autonomy.  Players are given the freedom to make their own choices on how the learning will proceed within a structured environment.  Hard to achieve, but doable.

Leaderboards

Although widely employed in gamified learning, leader boards can work against overall design by discouraging learners. Poor performance is showcased and can encourage peer-to-peer pressure, and worse, a social stigma.

Appointment Dynamics

In order to succeed a player has to be at a certain place at a certain time and take a certain action.  In other words, the player is rewarded for making the appointment and can receive encouragement through what are known in the trade as “engagement loops” which are designed to motivate through repetitive action.

If you head down the path of gamification, the above considerations can help you focus your vision.

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