Gamification is the process of using gaming metaphors and game mechanics for non-gaming purposes. Such mechanics can be used to understand and influence behavior, study and improve motivation and increase the user engagement. Serious Games, on the other hand, refers to games with a purpose. Such games consist of all the essentials of a regular video game, but have a definite outcome.
Gamficaition offers greater flexibility for corporations to enhance E-Learning opportunities and experience for learners. Game Mechanics allow corporations to construct rules that enable users to learn and explore possibility space through certain feedback mechanisms. Gamification can then be used to extend these possibility spaces in to other disciples such as education, social media, marketing, and philanthropic causes.
Over the past few years, the use of Game Mechanics to enhance the learning experience of employees has been an area of tremendous study, research and debate. The gaming industry has witnessed a significant increase in the demand for serious games for office learning. But the fundamental question remains: How do Game Mechanics help? Here are a few possible answers as to that question:
Engaging the Learners
In order for learners to perceive the learning experience as rewarding, two fundamental characteristics should be present: wanting and liking. Traditional learning methods are often tiresome for the learners, and they are only able to retain and reproduce a fraction of what they’ve learned.
Developing software that users both want and like can be achieved using Game Mechanics to enhance the learning experience of the users. Employees respond favorably to interactive graphics, art-designs, and layouts which can be utilized in improving their learning experience.
Game Mechanics can be deployed to set various levels within the games which are similar to your organization’s objectives. Long-term, mid-term, and short-term corporate objectives can be translated into similar levels in a game. Attaining each goal can result in a reward for the employee in the form of a bonus, commission, or any other incentive.
The fundamental goal of any learning process is not only to improve the knowledge base, but also to measure the progress of the individual throughout the learning course. Through the use of single and double loop feedback in games, the progress of each individual employee can be measured, quantified, and recorded. Progress at each level and sub-level of game can be paired with achievement of corporate and learning objectives along the way.
Peer approval is a strong motivator for employees. You can easily use Game Mechanics by dividing your employees into teams, then assigning achievement targets. Publicize each team or individual’s progress using scoreboards and badges. This use of Game Mechanics encourages participative and motivated learning.
The use of game mechanics for enhancing the learning experience has been the focus of study for various gaming companies. With the new millennium, the design of serious games for learning purposes has been on the rise. Organizations and learning centers are now resorting to game mechanics as a method of imparting knowledge and information.
If you’re unaware of game mechanics, you’re missing out on a cost-effective way of training your staff!
Video games have an incredible ability to keep people engaged, focused, determined and motivated for long periods of time. They also provide a platform for users to build their own online communities of trusted co-players and teams and exercise their own creativity.
Playing Games for Motivation?
The link between video games and the motivation level of the user has always been a subject of great interest for gaming companies, learning institutions and gamers alike. In today’s world, we often find kids, teenagers and adults who complain they lose focus and get distracted easily. Be it their studies or office chores, routine work is boring and very few people remain focused during lengthy class and/or office hours.
However, when it comes to playing games, one often finds a reverse situation. The same person who is unengaged at work would keep playing Temple Run or Subway Surfer over and over again to gather more coins, enable power ups and get a new high score. Similarly, other games require defeating a boss character for leveling up. Consequently, the players will continue to play with the same level of dedication and motivation at each successive attempt.
How Do Games Motivate?
So what is it that makes routine and repetitive tasks in games more engaging? What is so boring about the everyday routine tasks in real life, but not in games? The answer lies in the game mechanics that evoke excitement and enthusiasm for the game itself.
Various game mechanics spring into action within the game; motivating and enticing gamers to keep playing and moving ahead. The challenges put forward by these game mechanics, as well as the motivation to see their name in the top ranks of the scoreboard, keeps gamers glued to their gaming screens.
Badges, trophies and medals are gamification elements that represent the achievement of certain meta-goals outside the perimeter of the game. Often, these meta-goals are designed to reward the gamer with some additional tools, gadgets or special items (within the game) that assist them in completing it. The attainment of badges and trophies also offer a feeling of achievement to the gamer.
Points, Badges and Leadership boards (PBLs) should not be taken as the sole reason for playing a particular game. Video games offer online connectivity with friends, as well as a chance to challenge one’s own achievements and previous high scores. Points and badges only act as an added bonus.
Video games involve both, extrinsic and intrinsic motivation. The former comes where the user is playing the game to achieve a goal or a reward and can be seen through PBL. The latter, however, is the feeling of joy from playing the game itself, overcoming challenges and conquering roadblocks. Game mechanics and video game designing plays an essential role in creating and maintaining intrinsic motivation.
To explain how game mechanics, such as trophies, motivate gamers, motivate gamers; consider the following example. At an organizational level, mere salary is not enough. Employees want more than just money and extrinsic benefits to work harder. Serious games work the same way. Having levels is not enough. Game designers need to offer intrinsic motivation and a sense of achievement for the gamers so that they will want to continue playing the game.
The use of game mechanics in learning is becoming a trend now. Organizations and educational centers are now resorting to serious games as a way to motivate employees and educate them, while keeping them engaged in an innovative learning environment. An understanding of the impact of badges and trophies on motivation is, therefore, essential.