First considerations of Gamification

On thing I am asked more than any question when it comes to gamification, is how do I get started. What is the first thing I should do. The answer they are hoping for normally is something like "Download this great framework and slap it on your product - job done". However, this is never my answer (though at times, if it is suitable for their needs it will be part of the answer... but that's another story!). What I actually say is "Decide WHY you need gamification and WHAT you are actually using it for / on". That should be the first days of discussion. Too many times you see gamification applied just because it can be applied. Once you have that down, then the rest will start to fall into place. Get an understanding of who will be involved, design your system around those user types and the program goals and you are well on the way to building a good solution. Take a look at my simple framework to get an idea of what questions to ask yourself as you begin to look at... Read the full article...

Points and Badges in Gamification – Not totally evil.

Over the last few days, the conversation about the use of points and badges has come up several times with several different people. The stock answer in gamification these days is that points and badges are bad gamification. They are meaningless and we should be looking at intrinsic motivation more - yet almost every implementation you see of gamification will have some form of points system and probably badges.  They may be called experience points and achievements, or gami-dollars and pictograms - who knows - but they still seem to be there. We, as gamifiers, understand why these things can be bad for motivation. We all swear by the work of Deci and Ryan on Self Determination Theory. We quote Dan Pinks Drive like students used to quote Star Wars.Most of us have given Over-justification Effect a large amount of consideration. All of these things say that extrinsic rewards can reduce intrinsic motivation. So why are points and badges still in use? One reason is what types... Read the full article...

The gamification of a career

A fair few of my recent posts have revolved around how we can use ideas from games / gamification to improve certain aspects of an employee’s “journey” through their career. I thought it may be time to pull it all together in a single coherent (I hope) post! It makes sense to start with an employee’s first days, usually an induction process of some type. Rather than the standard two or three days of death by PowerPoint, how about this; They start with a simple half day induction, preferably done face to face with a group of other newbies. Here they are told the basic essentials for them to actually get into an office, cover any legal requirements and meet people they may be working with in the future. After this, they are given the essential kit to get them going, probably a Smartphone and laptop. The next step is to get them settled into their main place of work and get them logged into your Kahn Academy style social gamified learning environment (SGLE). Here they... Read the full article...

Feedback Loops, Gamification and Employee Motivation

To anyone involved in game design, feedback loops will be a well known concept. To those in gamification, they are often talked about, but not everyone will know what they actually are and how they can be used. Feedback loops come in two main flavors; positive feedback loops and negative feedback loops. Which ever you are looking at they are constructed in a similar way, with two or more phases. User performs an action Something happens User experience is modified Repeat Basic Feedback Loop, will have 2 or more steps A positive feedback loop amplifies something, whereas a negative feedback loop will reduce something. Let's take make up a game. It is a multiplayer shooting game and it employs powerups and health packs (old school here). Consistent kills gives the player certain experience points that lead to ability boosts (like speed or strength). These boosts lead to the player being able to get more kills, leading to more points and yet more boosts. Read the full article...

Mario as a Metaphor for your Career

When you consider your career, unless you are a games developer, I am pretty sure Mario does not enter your thoughts all that much. However, this game (as with almost all other games really) can teach us a lot about how we can plan our careers and how businesses really need to reconsider how they handle the careers of its employees.  This is not so much gamification as it is learning from games. Games offer players a lot fo different mechanisms to understand where they are in the game, where they are going and how they are doing. All of this information is available at a glance, never more than one button press away if it is not on-screen already. Let's take a look at just a few elements of New Super Mario on the Wii U. Other than your lives and the  number of power ups and coins, you have so much available on the screen at any one time that gives you both immediate and long-term information and feedback. The score is instant feedback on your overall progress... Read the full article...

Rewards and Reward Schedules in Gamification

Anyone who has read a few of my blogs will, by now, be under the impression that I am not the biggest fan of rewards. Well, that is not entirely how I feel.  Those that have read earlier blogs may remember something I said - "Rewards should recognise achievement, not be the achievement".  I also found myself saying in an email "Gamification at the moment is often nothing more than an attempt to illicit Pavlovian responses to external stimuli". I know, how up myself does that sound - but it’s true.  The way many people are using rewards are as a way to encourage people to do things - like giving a dog a biscuit for rolling over on command Rewards can Work. That is not to say this can't work, but for many there comes a point where that is not enough, especially if you don't plan the rewards correctly. I recently heard that the best way to use rewards is totally randomly.  It is understood that random rewards can become addictive in the right circumstances.  Take a slot... Read the full article...

Harry Potter and the Gamification of School

When I was a kid a school (long before Harry Potter had been thought of - and gamification for that matter...), teaching methods generally sucked. A teach stood at the front of the class, dictated out ancient notes and you had to write them down in your exercise book. If you didn't pay attention or did something the teacher did not like, you got a board rubber thrown at your head. There was no intrinsic enjoyment to be had from the learning process; it was all drained by the way we were taught. This was not unique to my school years; it had been this way for decades. That is why they had to come up with something to help motivate students to at least behave during class, the House system. Each student was a member of a house (I was Owls) and had a merit table associated to them. Merits were given to good students, good deeds, exploits on the sports field and so on. De-merits were awarded for bad behaviour. Every now and then all of the points for each student and each house... Read the full article...

Flow, Player Journey and Employee Satisfaction

What follows is an exploration of what happens when you start to map player journeys in games onto Flow theory and then try to bring that into the workplace. Just for fun! It was inspired by Mr Scott Golas after seeing last weeks post on relatedness. It may or may not have any worth, but it has been fun to develop. Click images to see the bigger versions or you can see the presentation at SlideShare What is Flow and what is the Player Journey? Mihayi Csikszentmihalyi suggested the concept after seeing that under certain conditions people’s experiences became optimal. This is to say that everything around them was lost as they concentrated on the job at hand. This can be seen in many artists who just “get into the grove” as they work. Time stops, nothing else matters and when they finally come out of it, they have no concept of how long they have been working. He identified some key factors that could lead to such a phenomenon. Clear goals and progress Constant... Read the full article...

Driving the wrong behaviours with rewards.

I have written about this whole thing quite a lot already, but I have some new insights based on things I have witnessed recently. We know that extrinsic rewards are meant to demotivate people when doing anything that is even slightly creative. So why do we keep seeing them being used in gamification and marketing. On the face of it, that kind of thing works well. Offer a reward and ask people to do something simple. Like this, follow that, +1 the other and you can win a book. Low and behold you can get hundreds or thousands of these clicks - great. The question is, how many of these are valuable? What is the goal? If you are trying to develop new and worthwhile interactions and relationships. Does the same person liking everything you have ever written, just to win the prize, have any actual value long term? Add another dimension. What about asking people to write something as well. They get an extra entry to the competition for writing something that you feel may be of... Read the full article...

The danger of extrinsic rewards on motivation – What I learned from my 5 year old

Another quick one, prompted by an interesting behaviour exhibited by my daughter today that taught me rather a lot about extrinsic rewards. I have mentioned before the research that has been done on motivation in the past by the likes of Edward Deci and the writing of Dan Pink and more. All of them point to the same thing, extrinsic rewards are bad for intrinsic motivation. The basic reasoning is that at some point, no matter how careful you are, the reward will become the reason to do the task. The extrinsic reward replaces the original intrinsic motivation. I have in the past spoken about my daughters reward chart. On early post of mine was about what Super Nanny had taught us about gamification and what it meant for the next few generations. We had tried to be very careful about how we used the reward chart - knowing what I know about the nature of motivation. Stickers got harder to get as she mastered the art of being good! Recently we thought we had cracked it. The... Read the full article...

Is Gamification a benign form of manipulation and does it matter?

Let me expand on this. A discussion started on twitter when I mentioned in passing to a couple of gamification people, that really gamification is often a benign form of manipulation. It became an interesting chat, fast. I suppose I expected that! However, when you look at the definition of manipulation in the Oxford English Dictionary you get these two definitions handle or control (a tool, mechanism, information, etc.) in a skilful manner control or influence (a person or situation) cleverly or unscrupulously Of course, we take notice of the second normally - focusing on the more negative connotations, but it is the first that I am interested in. As gamification people, we understand behaviour and how to use game mechanics and the like to influence this behaviour. We use this information to set up systems that promote certain actions. Sometimes this is for the benefit of the end user, other times it may be for the interest of the company (or brand or whatever).... Read the full article...

Gamification: Some More Views

First of all, thanks to everyone who has viewed or downloaded my Gamification presentation. It has had over 600 views on Slideshare, which is fantastic! Looking forward to my next chance to do the talk (hint hint people!!!) Also, check out this short interview I did with the Association for Interactive Media & Entertainment 5Qs Gamificaiton A little while ago, I did a piece called "What the Experts Think" where I invited industry experts in gamification to give their opinions. We, I opened this up so any one can answer and here are the first answers I have had. I will leave the survey open as I would love to get more of you to tell me your thoughts. Thanks to everyone who has been involved so far :) ------------- Jonathan Kohl, Independent Consultant, Kohl Concepts Inc. Twitter: @jonathan_kohl Website: http://www.kohl.ca 1. What description would you expect to see of gamification in a dictionary? 2. If you could write the dictionary entry for... Read the full article...

Simple Gamification Framework

Well, this week was going to be some thoughts around a conversation with Ian Bogost. However, that will have to wait until I have more time to actually formulate a decent set of arguments :) In the mean time, I wanted to put out the little "framework" I proposed in the presentation so many of you lovely people have viewed (over 500 on slideshare at last count - so massive thanks!!) Basically this is a take on many other peoples attempts at defining a simple framework (I read about Kevin Werbach’s D6 framework the day after my presentation for example). It has no clever abbreviations or acronyms (WWW HATTAR seems daft) Click the image above to download the Framework as a PDF The first part is a series of 8 questions to ask yourself as you embark on your gamification adventures. I have it printed on my wall in the office. I know WHATI am going to Gamify You must be totally sure what the activity(s) is that you are going to gamify. I know WHYI am gamifying... Read the full article...

Plea to the Games Industry to Embrace Gamification and Get Involved

With Eurogamer already fading into the deepest recesses of my mind, there is one thing that has stood out. Just how much the games industry dislikes gamification. The general feeling was that everyone doing gamification is getting it wrong. They do not understand games and therefore think that it is fine to just add the most shallow and un-engaging elements of games to a task and say it is gamified. They didn't like that we as gamifiers were watering down the depth of real games. Having just watched the first video of section 11 of the great Coursera.org gamification course, Kevin Werbach talks about this exact issue. My return to them and to everyone I know in the games industry is this. If everyone in gamification is getting it wrong, show us how to do it right. I come at gamification from a games lovers perspective. I look at it as a hugely important way forward for the world of engagement and behavioural changes. Who better to do this than games designers themselves. I... Read the full article...

Gamification and Stuff: Presentation for the Gamifier Meetup

Well, as promised to those wonderful people who came to listen to me preach about Gamificaiton, here is the slide deck - all wrapped up in a pretty slide share thingy. Download the presentation to get the full notes - I have written the talk out long hand - well how it was meant to go!!! Gamification and stuff from Andrzej Marczewski Couple of Comments A few great points made after the talk. Choice is great, but there has to be scope, boundaries and rules. Too many choices will overwhelm the user. However, choices do not always need to be big. It may just be that you give the user the choice of the background of a web page. Don't be tempted to reset points systems to try and get people re-engaged. That will just annoy them! Even pumping new content into a purely extrinsic (PBL style) system will not keep people engaged indefinitely. Transcript of the Slides Slide 1 I am going to try and present you more of a look at what gamification actually is,... Read the full article...