I’m not sure when I first came aware of the concept of gamification, but since I am involved in creating websites for businesses, it often comes up. Gamification is described as:
Gamification is the application of game elements and digital game design techniques to non-game problems, such as business and social impact challenges. This course will teach you the mechanisms of gamification, why it has such tremendous potential, and how to use it effectively.
It is the use of game elements to achieve a business purpose. Some game elements commonly used are badges, achievements, countdown clocks, comic avatars, random elements, points, levels, leaderboards, and progress bars.
You’ve seen this yourself (I hope) on websites all over the place. LinkedIn uses gamification to get you to fill out your profile (“Your profile is 85% complete! Upload a photo to get to 90%.”) Khan Academy is filled with badges, points and achievements, some difficult to get. Many forums assign users labels based on the number of posts (“newbie”, “veteran”, “king”). Ticketmaster and some airline websites uses the countdown clock effectively to get you to buy. While Yahoo! allows you to create an avatar of yourself with clothing, many types of hairstyles, customizable backdrops. What has happened is that psychologists have discovered that people can be incentivized by non-material (almost useless) things such as badges.
What would you do to get a little unique badge next to your use name on a web site? Turns out, most people would do a lot. Filling out extra profile questions, and generally changing their behavior in order to win that little badge. Humans are competitive by nature, and we want to be first, we want to be recognized as one of the best, and we want what others have so that we aren’t left out.
Professor Kevin Werbach delivers a wonderful course on the topic on Coursera platform. I found it interesting to watch, the course itself being a bit gamified. I don’t mind saying that I found myself checking Coursera often for new videos, discovering none new that I hadn’t watched, and being disappointed.
If this interests you, I recommend this course. It’s not too difficult, and is able to keep your attention from beginning to end.