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5 Things You Should Know About Gamification

adult learning corporate training gamification instructional design motivation Nov 26, 2016

As a business owner, leader, manager, HR or talent development professional, you can learn how to create fun and rewarding gamified experiences to achieve the business objectives that are crucial for the success and profitability of your organization. But you’ll have to begin with a willingness to think differently.

Here are 5 things to consider in gamification design:

1. Your reason for gamifying your project has a huge effect on how you should gamify.
There are some fundamental questions that encourage a solid, creative gamification design. You should ask yourself these questions before you begin the gamification process as well as throughout your design and roll out stages.

Before you begin designing, you should ask yourself the following:

  • What are your measurable business objectives?
  • Why are you gamifying this project or process?
  • How will gamification help you to achieve your objectives?


2. Prioritize the actions you want your users to take and reward them for it
Because actions and rewards are fundamental to gamification, after you’ve determined your business objectives, the next thing you need to do is figure out what actions you want to reward users for and what is most important to you (and them). Include some sort of a value weighted scale to determine what is most important so that those behaviors are rewarded accordingly in comparison to other user behaviors. Then, determine what rules your game may need to ensure that you’re getting the behaviors you want. You can set time limits and other rules to limit users from repetitively doing something over and over when you only want to reward for it once, etc.

The simplest form of rewards is points. Using a weighted ranking system, once you have identified the actions that you want your users to take, rank those behaviors in order of value. Start with the least valuable action and give it a factor of “1.” Working from there, assigned relative values to everything else.For example, gamifying the HR on-boarding process can help companies improve the rate at which these tasks are completed. To improve on-boarding, consider gamifying the following behaviors:

  • Reading about company policies
  • Completing compliance training
  • Filling out HR forms
  • Setting up health insurance, 401(k), and retirement benefits

Reading about company policies might have a relative value of 1 while completing compliance training is 10x more valuable. Be careful to not fall into the common trap of thinking, “Everything is important!” The danger with that kind of mindset is -- if everything is important, then nothing is important.
If all priorities are treated equally then creating any sort of meaningful goals becomes impractical. If we prioritize accordingly, we can gain some clarity on what exactly our new hires should be working on.

By prioritizing and using a weighted ranking scale you can reward the behaviors that are most valuable to you to help you achieve your business objectives.


3. Use a diagnostic tool or interviews to assess the personal motivation of your players.
Gamification should be designed and implemented to increase fun and engagement and help you achieve specific business objectives. FUN is a completely subjective concept. If you ask 100 people on the street what they think is ‘FUN’ you will get 100 different answers, and sometimes they don’t even know themselves what they might consider fun.

You have to work hard to get inside the heads of your learners and figure out what makes them tick. What inspires them? Who is their favorite author, director, or popular personality and why? What was the last thing that made them laugh really hard?

Preferably you will develop Proto Personas by using a diagnostic tool for the analysis of personal motivation like the Reiss profile, or at the very least, conducting motivational interviews with a sampling of your learners. After all, the true Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) of “things that appeal to your learners” are your actual learners. A solid understanding of your players and what makes them tick is key to creating a course that resonates with them.


4. The building blocks of fun begin with matching your data and analytics with the right game mechanics.
In your gamification project, monitoring feedback and metrics will be required as you slowly make incremental improvements, add new gamification features, and utilize new game mechanics. Incorporate a variety of game mechanics to encourage learners to explore and learn as they move towards an end goal.

Although the easiest form of reward are points, if your program consists of only points, a few badges, and a leaderboard – in all likelihood, your program will fail. Even my two-year old grandson quickly gets bored with his matching and puzzle games he plays on my iPhone that offer him no new challenges, opportunities for level up, or meaningful feedback.

Examples of game mechanics that we use in our training, corporate learning, and onboarding programs include narrative, personalized avatars, knowledge sharing, time restraints, slow downs, choice, chance, competition, collaboration, and level ups. Utilizing the right combination of game mechanics correctly can build a highly motivational user experience around your process or content.

5. A new class of gamification designers and facilitators is required.
Capturing the time and attention of today’s modern learners as well as ensuring the information is FUN, stimulating, relevant, correct, and consistent, is a daunting task. But the good news is that you can be part of this new regime of gamification designers and facilitators. Do you realize that among the people reading this article, you may be the one who grabs this opportunity to take the first step? As you start to think about the benefits of learning this new skill, I bet your mind can uncover further advantages of becoming a qualified gamification designer.

Here are FIVE FREE tools to help you get started:

  1. Game the System™ eBook - Gamification is the NEW normal and a powerful tool to engage and motivate all generations to higher levels of performance.
  2. Gamification Talk Radio Program - Weekly podcast. Guests each week include, gamification gurus, platform providers, and end users who will give you tips, tools, and techniques to use in your gamification design strategies.
  3. Gamification Articles on LinkedIn - Leadership, team building, gamification. Written for business owners, leaders, managers, learning, talent management, and organizational development professionals.
  4. The Gamification Report Blog - A collection of writings and musings from the Sententia Gamification Team.
  5. The Gamification of Learning - A webinar recorded for Training Magazine. This webinar is designed to help you identify the current best practices in gamification, avoid 4 major mistakes when planning your gamified experience, and approach gamification from a practical viewpoint for your organization.

Ready to launch? Register for a Level 1 Gamification Certification. The next session begins January 17, 2017.

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