What is Gamification?
The term Gamification applies to a range of techniques borrowed from the field of computer-game design and applied in other contexts, essentially turning non-game applications (including, websites, mobile apps and social media platforms) into pseudo-games for the purposes of incentivising interaction & user retention. Gamification can be a powerful tool for increasing user engagement as it fulfils inherent human needs to be recognised, competitive, increase their status, and be included.
Key Gamification Techniques
Points/Scoring System – a points system awards points for completion of tasks. Points accumulate over time as new tasks are completed
Progress Bar – A progress bar is a visual representation of how close a user is to completing a task or achieving a badge. It looks similar to a thermometer and as each task is completed the progress bar fills. Once it is full, the user is awarded a badge or other achievement.
Leader-board – the leader-board is essentially a public score board that displays the ‘Top 10 High Achievers’ points tally. Appearing on the leader-board acknowledges high status users and appearing on the leader-board is a reward in itself, although other awards may be attached to this achievement, such as badges or virtual currency incentives.
Badges/Pins/Achievements – By completing a set group of tasks, a user may be awarded a badge of achievement. The badge is added to the user’s profile and signifies that the user is proficient in a specific skill, has completed a certain number of tasks, or has spent a certain amount of hours using the platform, etc.
Levels – Levels may signify a users’ proficiency in the system, i.e. beginner, intermediate, advanced. Although these are usually given more imaginative labels such as:
- Sensei, or;
- White, Orange, Yellow, Green, Purple, Blue, Brown, Red, Black belts
As a user accumulates points, achieves badges and engages with the platform they achieve higher levels.
Virtual Currency – virtual currency is awarded, like points, to users and may be used to ‘purchase’ items within the platform. They cannot be traded for real dollars.
Gamification for Knowledge Management
The increasing popularity of gamification and it’s potential for increasing user generated content and engagement suggest it will be a powerful tool for knowledge management teams seeking to improve employee use of knowledge management systems within organisations. Indeed, Deloitte, one of the ‘big four’ international accounting firms has successfully implemented gamification (‘The Games Businesses Play‘), with Yammer and Badgeville. Accenture is also employing gamification techniques in their knowledge management strategy with some success (‘Let’s Play! Using Gamification to Encourage KM and Collaboration‘).
John Moss, ‘Can Gamification lead to business success?’ points out that Gamification is still in its infancy and many early adopters of the technology will struggle due to skills gaps and design failures.
- Erica Swallow, ‘Is Gamification Right for Your Business?’ via Mashable.
- Gabe Zichermann & Christopher Cunningham, ‘Gamification by Design’, O’Reilly
- Gamification of Work blog
- G Co http://www.gamification.co/ “Gamification Co is your one stop for the latest news, insight, research and commentary on gamification. Come here to find the best technology providers, read about the most exciting companies, attend one of our events and workshops, or just connect with experts.”
- Gamification, Penn Univerisity of Pennsylvania, https://www.coursera.org/course/gamification “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.”
- Gamifcation Wiki http://www.gamification.org/ “The Gamification Wiki is the most visited resource in the world for information, examples and media for Gamification and is currently being translated into over 15 languages and will have sub-wikis for Education, Marketing, Enterprise and more.”