December, 2015

December, 2015

What is Gamification?

Gamification can be defined as the application of Game Mechanics to real-life situations. In other words, Gamification derives the amusing elements from games, then applies them to ordinary events. A fantastic example is a parent who says, “Let’s race to see who can pick up the most toys in one minute!” Incorporating the Game Mechanic of racing transforms a boring chore to an exciting activity.

gamification-ddinc

Utilizing Gamification in classroom or online learning doesn’t have to be overwhelming. The simplest way to start is to play a wide array of games. As you immerse yourself in the interactive play of any game, think through the triggers and components that motivate players to achieve their goals. Observe what drives players to continue and influences them to excel. These factors are Game Mechanics.

Then, think creatively of how to weave Game Mechanics into your training. Designing Gamification for learning utilizes a human-focused design process. We shape the training experience around the learner’s feelings, desires, and aspirations. Human-focused design goes beyond creating effective learning; it involves creating a fun, engaging, experience for the learner.

The Pioneer of Human-Focused Design
The ever-growing gaming industry was the first to recognize and master human-focused designs. Video Games are generally designed not only to facilitate a pleasurable experience, but also to challenge users to stay motivated through complex storylines and interactivity. The Video Game industry has spent millions in researching and mastering engagement for motivation of the user. In today’s training realm, we’re discovering an increasing number of industries who use these methods and mechanics to spark their employees’ and customers’ motivation.
Gamification is essentially the identification of the elements, found in games and used in enhancing our real-world activities. Games have the incredible ability to keep users engaged and entertained for long durations of time. Multi-player games build relationships and amplify trust among participants while developing their natural creative abilities. What is most unfortunate is that a lot of games designed these days do not require the user to learn or even engage completely.

Consider Subway Surfer, a once-popular phone app: you run on a train track, trying to avoid trailers and oncoming traffic for coins and a high score. While it was highly engaging, and most of us did enjoy playing it often (guilty as charged!), it did not develop any particular abilities for the users. While on the other hand, we have games like Call of Duty, where the players can identify different kinds of weapons and enhance their critical thinking abilities as well as their strategy-building skills.

While games can be useful in developing specific skills in users, Gamification in learning serves another purpose. At its core, Gamification uses mechanics to make any task enjoyable and fun which would otherwise be incredibly boring or tedious. It can capture learners’ attention and draw them into important training material.

Positive Changes through Gamification
Let us be clear about the fact that Gamification does not necessarily involve an existing game. It is essentially the absorption of the mechanics of a game to your actions and then, implementing them in real world scenarios. Badges and leader boards are a huge part of Gamification, but they are not the true essence of it. Gamification on a deeper level involves capturing learners through their personal sub consciences. It drives people’s behaviors and keeps them motivated, eventually reflecting positive changes in behavior or performance.

Gamification – A New Approach to Learning
While the application of this process has been around for decades now, the term Gamification has been coined only very recently. Organizations are now using Gamification for training, marketing, and many other areas of business as a healthy driving force to keep employees efficient and motivated. New Gamified E-learning companies are being formed, which gear the fundamentals of Gamification towards learning.

Just like the term social media had a completely different, less complex meaning five years ago, Gamification is still evolving and growing. Gamification may expand beyond our imaginations as different industries and aspects of the business sector implement it in unique ways. As we design Gamification with a human-focused mindset, we will continue to tap into the basic needs and desires of the learner’s natural impulses, which revolve around the intrinsic need for personal achievements and status. Gamification, in its true essence, is the study and learning of how the human mind responds to Game Mechanics, and how these strategies can be used to transform tedious tasks into exciting experiences.