November 18, 2020 Training

Gamification for Interactive Learning by Karl Kapp on

Game Thinking

Game thinking pulls on deeper game elements, like engagement loops, freedom to fail, player’s journey; used in opposition to gamification because it tries to use game elements that are more intrinsically motivating

Gamification capitalizes on the game element of replayability. Repetition without the content becoming boring, personalizes the pace and content, encourages exploration.

Reflection is often a part of playing, which helps learners internalize the content

Game (def.) a system in which players engage in an abstract challenge defined by rules, interactivity, and feedback, resulting in a quantifiable outcome or objective, often eliciting an emotional reaction

Gamification (def.) taking parts or elements on games and applying those elements to learning activities to engage the learners; it’s not about playing a game, it’s about engagement

Types of Gamification – Content v. Structural

Both use game elements and mechanics to engage the learner, but they differ in what elements they use and how they are applied

Structural – placing a game structure around the content without changing the content itself

Content – when the content is altered to become more game-like

Uses of gamification

Pre-work – activities completed before the main learning event

Pull-through – behavior or content intended to reinforce recently learning info

Daily-reminder – regular notification of and practice with important info

Winning does not equal mastery

Gamification, if not focused correctly, can push people towards a performance mindset (where they care more about how they are doing/perceived at doing than how well they are engaging with the content)

  • Performance oriented gamification discourages experimentation and exploration

Ideally, you achieve mastery orientation — signals are that users accept errors and seek challenges, hoping to develop their skills, knowledge, and behaviors, and have confidence in their ability to succeed

  • Achievements/badges can acknowledge efforts and support learners during challenges
  • Provide frequent progress feedback, notifications of improvement, and provide info about accomplishments

With good balance, no one player or group can always win, and each learner has an opportunity to be successful

Guidelines for Balanced Gamification

  1. Ensure scoring is transparent
  2. Ensure all players understand how points, advancement, and rewards are earned
  3. Ensure one team/person can’t “run away with the victory”
  4. Provide bonus features that allow for a catch up

Testing is crucial for establishing good balance! Encourage testers to try to game the system

Engagement requires that decisions the user makes can actually make a difference in the game, which means they’re should be “consequences” for mistakes

Encourage users to explore. This will help users to keep themselves engaged. Be mindful about not punishing a certain type of exploration.

  • Consider: creation, collection, socialization, etc.

 “People cannot influence their own motivation and actions very well if they do not pay adequate attention to their own performances.” – the conditions where something occurs, and the result

Action > Feedback > Motivation > Repeat

Engagement loop = Learning loop

At the heart of game thinking is learning. Engagement leads directly to learning

Loop basics – provide info about knowledge, skills, or behavioral development in real time; allow for opportunity to change and retry; have clear goals

Progression Loop — the “player’s journey” through the entire experience

  1. Introduce new stimuli or changes into engagement loops