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New Course of the Week – Gamification

It’s Friday, which means it’s time for another new course of the week.

One of my favorite courses of the past year is back again for another round. It’s the Gamification course by Professor Kevin Webach of the University of Pennsylvania. My review of that course is posted here.

Gamification, if you’ve never heard the term, is using techniques used in video games in business contexts:

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.

If you’ve ever seen websites using badges, leaderboards, levels, points, etc. then you’ve seen gamification in action. The purpose is to incentivize you to take certain actions that the website wants you to take.

For example, say you have a website and people are not really making comments on posts. One thing you can offer people is a special badge for the top commenters. That way, as people use the site, they can see that user jenny08 is a “gold level” user. And in some people, they wonder why jenny08 is so special and how can THEY get that special gold level badge. And so it goes. The human competitive instinct kicks in, and people start leaving more comments to try to get that special badge. If they are a silver level, they will want to be gold. Even though there’s absolutely no value to being a silver or gold level user.

I found this to be a really interesting course, and Professor Werbach is a talented teacher. He seems to understand this new online video medium. I might even sign up for this course for a second time!

Next session of this course is Jan 27, 2014.


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