What is Gamification?

digital tech

Gamification is the use of game design elements or creating game like emotions in nongaming environment. Gamification is widely used in marketing and getting more popular in other fields including education. The main purpose of gamification is to increase the users (or learners) motivation to keep on doing what they have started. From one hand gamification has positive impact on our activities for example by supporting us to focus on learning. From other hand gamification can be seen as a method used by sales people whose primary objective is to keep us consuming their product and services (negative from the clients perspective).

No matter what is the primary need for it, gamification is one of the today’s buzz words. It is trendy to talk about gamification and often this concept is mixed up with similar approaches like game based activities or serious games. In fact gamification is more lightweight method because it does not require creation of entire games but using only some of the game elements. But this again encourages gamification designers to create solutions where mostly points and scoreboards are used and the main emotion is generated by the competition. Unfortunately competition is engaging only for some users and although scoreboard provides feedback to users, it is mainly based on extrinsic motivation – after certain level of points motivation disappears. In some cases extrinsic motivators can have opposite impact to the expected results.

Addition to extrinsic motivators, that are relatively easy to implement, gamified services should support intrinsic motivation. Unfortunately it’s more complex to design internal motivation because people are different and different things motivate us. And some people are not aware of what motivates them. In games the biggest motivation is coming from challenges. All payers like challenges simply because they enjoy testing their abilities and skills. That means gamified products or services should provide some game like challenges. And again creating those challenges is interesting but complicated because we never know what is meaningful and challenging for our users. The only possibility to find that out is to create prototypes and test them with real people.

And finally don’t expect that others will motivate you by gamifying your life. By expecting that you end up in brainless consumerism. Everybody can increase their inner motivation by loving and searching challenges and increasing their concentration abilities in order to solve challenges. In the end of the day it’s not important how many points and badges you collected but how joyful was your experience.

If you would like to learn more about gamification, then Tallinn University's international summer school is offering a Gamification Workshop from July 16th to July 20th, 2018.