Gamification is a buzzword that gets thrown around like candy. It’s literally everywhere, and most of it is seen in areas that are inherently bland like training and learning. Why so? And why more so in e-learning? The basic idea is simple! If utterly plain-Jane training gets turned into a game, where you’d get digital rewards for achieving milestones, won’t you be motivated to do more or achieve more? Bottom line, the theory can be applied to practical life! However, does it actually work?
Let us tell you what we know and decipher of gamification. It includes tapping into the psychological concepts of the joy associated with achievements. This joy further leads to motivation. Understanding these psychological concepts is key to proper implementation of gamification.
Intrinsic (internal) and Extrinsic (external)
Intrinsic motivation is a type of motivation that drives an individual to perform a task or complete it for the enjoyment he derives from the task. Considered the better of the two? Intrinsic motivation definitely wins hands down because it fosters enjoyment, engagement, and creativity from the inside of a person. No external stimulus is required to perform the tasks. For example, when one participates in a sport, he or she does that because he finds the sport enjoyable or solves a riddle or completes a puzzle, just for the love of the challenge.
Extrinsic motivation refers to motivation provided from external sources that drives an individual to perform or complete a task. It is the incentive he gets in the form of an external reward that drives him to do the task repeatedly. External motivating factors can be tangible items like money, trophies, gifts or intangible kinds like social status, respect, and appreciation. This type of motivation is useful when applied to complete disengaging and boring tasks. It plays on the mind and in turn helps increase an individual’s (who had zero intrinsic motivation at the beginning) intrinsic motivation.
Given below is one of the most important images that talks about the DNA of gamification. We know how little kids or older people sit in front of their PS2 consoles or any other video games for hours and hours together. They spend a lot of their intellectual energy and physical energy to play games. So, what is it in a game that drives them to be engaged so much? The answer lies in the image below. On the left, there are human desires which are basic human emotions such as rewards, status, achievement, self-expression, competition and altruism. These are the buttons which get pushed by games.
When a four year old kid comes, takes away the mobile and starts playing games, he is allured by the sense of achievement that he gets after winning the game. Now, this is really hard for a four year old kid to get, because at his age he doesn’t have a lot of power, or the resources or the freedom, but the game gives him that. [Tweet “Gamification gives an opportunity to earn status by being the winner, it rewards the learner.”] Fancy badges and graphics and audios and most importantly, he gets to be self expressive. He doesn’t need to ask permission from his mom on how to how to play the game and whether he’ll win or fail, he can do whatever he wants in that game. And that becomes his platform be able to fulfill his human desires.
The gaming company uses all of these different levers such as points, levels, challenges, virtual goods, scoreboards and gifting. They use these levers to push a human’s psychological buttons. For example, in the image above, on the left there are areas of the human mind that get fulfilled by that particular game mechanic. Points fulfill your desire to get rewarded. Virtual goods are a way to get self expression. Challenges are a way to get a sense of achievement in your gaming world and so on.
Games create a virtual world, a virtual reality and gives you all the psychological benefits which humans are looking for and that’s why they are addictive. To create a successful game, technology i.e. Game mechanics and psychology, i.e. Game dynamics are needed. When these two are added, a great game is born. So to go back, human desires are the game dynamics, and the game elements is the technology. Add technology with psychology, and you get great games such as Angry Birds or whatever other games that have been successful.
In e-learning, it’s this philosophy and psychology that have led us to invest in gamification with our LMS. It is the application of gaming mechanics to non-gaming scenarios to make e-learning more palatable. We reckon, by incorporating gamification into your Learning Management System, you too could have that perfect online training solution, that you’ve always dreamt of!
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