What is Gamification design?
Gamification design is a strategy that applies game mechanics and elements of gameplay to the learning content with an intent to engage learners. Gamification has been in vogue for years, but it is only in recent times that corporates have begun using this in the training context.
Gamification has always been associated with behavior modification and motivational activities. It is in use in a variety of industries from retail to insurance, and different settings from classrooms to workplaces.
Yet, gamification in the workplace is still unsophisticated as corporates continue to use badges and leadership boards as the means to motivate people to change their behavior. Most of these activities stress relies on analytics to monitor user’s actions. Based on the activity and the desired outcome, the strategy engages a learner but fails after a certain point.
To make it more effective organizations need to make gamification into a highly personalized experience. This can be done only if the learner’s personality, habits, emotions, and activities are fully understood. The goal of gamification should be to offer an experience that is unique and thereby establish a connection with each learner.
Factors for behavioral change
A Gartner report had predicted that by the end of 2014 nearly 80% of gamified applications would fail to meet business objectives owing to bad design. Organizations that designed learning experiences that are motivating and engaging have successfully implemented gamification techniques.
From the perspective of behavioral change, organizations need to consider the following factors:
Task completion: The focus of the game should be on the user’s ability to complete a task. This is crucial to determine the effectiveness of the gamification strategy. Providing training to the users should improve the skill levels and help them complete a task.
Long-term engagement: Since behavioral change calls for long term engagement, regular checkpoints need to be in place. This is needed to ensure the learning experience is continuous and seamless. This checkpoint also helps reset goals and motivation based on the data available.
Activity with rewards: A recurring activity should offer different types of rewards, whereas a one-time activity like completion can offer simpler rewards. The motivators, rewards, and goals depend on the type of activity completed.
Extrinsic motivation: Activities that are difficult to complete in a sequence of activities normally require extrinsic motivation (external rewards). Other activities need careful thought in terms of intrinsic motivators and how they can be used to change behavior.
Tangible rewards: Excessive use of tangible rewards can be self-defeating if rewards are meaningless and obstruct personal fulfillment. Concrete incentives need to be used sparingly and only when it works with extrinsic motivation-driven behavior.
Breaking down pain points: Effective gamification is breaking down difficult or paint points into simpler, manageable chunks that can be handled by users. This is critical to ensure the change in behavior is affected.
The next generation of gamification provides an intimate personalized user experience that encourages behavioral change. It combines behavioral insight, big data, neuroscience, and psychology to understand the user’s frame of mind while performing an activity.
With an appropriate framework or ecosystem in place, gamification can deliver a compelling experience to the users:
Tracking the activities: In the gamified context, every activity is tracked. For example, in a financial planning app, financial goals, money spent, areas where it was spent, the number of times the app was accessed, etc are tracked for data.
Classifying user personalities: Users can be easily classified based on their personality type. A classification scheme can indicate how a player behaves in a game environment and what are his or her motivating factors.
Big data analytics: It is important to understand the user and his/her preferences to check the efficacy of the gaming initiative on behavioral changes. This is possible only when data is collected about the user within and outside the app. The data collected on the likes and dislikes can help create a mass-customized gamification initiative.
Behavioral frameworks: It is equally important to understand the user’s motivation, mindset, and emotion. For example, a user may not have opened a self-management health app because he or she is busy with work or may have lost interest in it. Having a virtual buddy as a reminder can improve retention levels.
Organizations must ensure that personalized gamification goes beyond fun and is relevant to the skills of employees that they wish to improve.