Do Demographic Differences Influence Your Gamification Designs?

We academic types are often critical of studies. In this case, the study I want to explore with you was a self-selected group of people self-reporting on an online survey. So, not very scientific, but some interesting things surfaced that impact the design of gamified learning programs.


“Demographic Differences in Perceived Benefits from Gamification,” Jonna Koivisto, Juho Hamari, Computers in Human Behavior, 2014.


The study was of a group of people using a gamified fitness app. Specifically, the researchers were interested in the demographic differences in how people interacted with the game mechanics and whether or not they found the mechanics beneficial. 

We can anticipate some of the findings, such as older people took more time to get comfortable with the technology, and younger people got bored with the game mechanics more quickly. But other findings are worth sharing here. 

First, the perceived enjoyment and usefulness of the gamification declined...

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Creating a Successful Gamified Learning Program Podcast

In addition to being host of The Gamification Quest Podcast, Monica enjoys being a guest on the occasional instructional design podcast herself.  Earlier this week, Monica joined Dr. Ginger Malin on BadgeCert's StreetCred podcast to discuss applied learning, the future of the professional training industry, learner personas, and more.

 

LISTEN HERE

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The Surprise and Delight of Continual Learning…

by Jonathan Peters, PhD
Chief Motivation Officer, Sententia Gamification

I spoke at the Irish Game-Based Learning Conference this morning. Believe me, I would rather have been there in person if for no other reason than to be on their time zone (waking at 4:00 AM to speak does not fit my circadian rhythms).  

The conference was academically oriented with PhD candidates reading their abstracts. And, as candidates love to do, they shared their spreadsheets of keyword searches and literature reviews. Not only do I now have a great list of the all the categorizations of player and personality types (if you’ve read my book, you know how I feel about these), but I also have 17 game mechanics to add to our Master List. 

Since many of the readers of this blog have our book, which includes the exhaustive list of game mechanics that I had identified at the time of publication (161 mechanics), I thought I would share with you the new additions. 

And I’m...

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Prototyping for Learning and Development

By Jonathan Peters, PhD
Sententia Gamification, CMO 

Have you had this experience? You’re tasked with creating a learning program. You’re told by company leadership that there is a problem that needs to be fixed via training. You write down what they are wanting, the learning outcomes needed, and maybe (because you went through a Sententia certification) what their KPIs are for this specific program.

You spend months of time, and tons of creative energy, to create what you believe is an amazing program. It’s now ready to roll out. Learners are lined up, but first you present it to the higher-ups. And they say, “No, that’s not what we wanted…”

All that time and effort down the drain.

In the past, we’ve relied on documentation to avoid this situation. You would spend hours in meetings, making sure you understood exactly what they wanted. You would then write out detailed learning plans and guidelines, that you would send up the food...

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Creating Connections in an Isolated World

This week we started a NEW virtual session of our Level 1 Gamification Surveyor Certification. Students in this session are logging in from all over the globe and the interaction is always lively and fun. 

Although the virtual format allows students to participate from anywhere, one big disadvantage of virtual learning – you lose that “water cooler” effect, where people bump into each other to share ideas, collaborate across industries, and talk about things unrelated to work. Although those minor interactions might seem trivial, they can have a tremendous positive effect on overall class engagement and greatly enhance the learning experience. 

So at Sententia, we put in a concerted effort to create activities that help increase the bonding factors. One technique we use are About Me activities that we weave throughout our multi-hour learning experience. We believe it’s important that participants be allowed to give the group a representation of...

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5 Tips for Creating Learner Personas

 

What is a Learner Persona?
Learner Personas are a fictional representation of your targeted learners. They are based on real data about learner demographics and behavior, along with educated speculation about their personal histories, motivations, and concerns.

 

 

How are Learner Personas Created?
Learner personas are created through research, surveys, and interviews of your target audience. That includes a mix of new and seasoned employees – both “good” and “bad” -- who might align with your target audience. You’ll collect data that is both qualitative and quantitative to paint a picture of who your typical learner is, what they value, and how your program fits into their daily lives.

 

 

How do you use a Learner Persona?
In order to bring together what you learn during assessments, surveys, and interviews, the next step is to develop a set of personas. Personas are composite characters that represent typical learners...

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Every Profession that Designs Experiences For Others Uses Personas... Except Learning and Development

Pretty much every profession that designs experiences for other people uses personas… except the learning and development community. Game designers, app designers, web page designers all rely on personas to determine what will appeal to their target audiences and what things they should avoid. But for some reason, instructional designers skip this stage. They simply build a program around the course material without consideration of their “customers.”

Personas came from the marketing world a few decades ago. Marketers realized that focusing on whole populations wasn’t effective. They needed actual personas who are so complete you feel like they are your friend. Once you have their picture in front of you, you can create marketing copy that feels like you are talking directly to a single person instead of broadcasting to an entire population.

Whenever we speak about learner personas at conferences, we get push back. People say things like, “You...

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What Can We Learn from the Marshmallow Tests for the Gamification of Learning?

by Jonathan Peters, PhD
Chief Motivation Officer, Sententia Gamification

In our efforts to make learning engaging through gamification, we may trip over some unintended consequences. It turns out that there are some advantages to dry, boring lectures. 

It goes back to the famous “Marshmallow Tests” that began in the 1960s. As an aside, the Marshmallow tests didn’t just involve marshmallows. Researchers showed young children a small treat, whatever the child liked. If they liked marshmallows, it was a marshmallow; if they liked something better than marshmallows, then that’s what they were offered. 

The researchers told the children that if they waited and didn’t eat the treat until the researcher returned that the child would get two of the treats. However, at any time, the child could ring a bell and eat the treat, but they wouldn’t get the second treat.  

Some children rang the bell almost immediately; others were able to hold...

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A "Hold-Your-Pee" Game Mechanic?

by Jonathan Peters, PhD
Sententia Gamification Chief Motivation Officer

I recently read an article about creating engagement at events in a manner that people put the needs of the group ahead of their own. The author mentioned a bar in College Park, MD, that had an innovative beer special:  beer was $1.50 until someone, um, “relieved themselves.” When someone couldn’t hold it anymore and used the restroom, the beer prices went back to the regular price.

This game mechanic, “hold-your-pee,” probably won’t get included on Sententia Gamification’s list of game mechanics, but like all mechanics, hold-your-pee does appeal to different core motivators differently.

For instance, if someone were highly motivated by Acceptance, they would leave the bar and drive down to the road to use the restroom at a McDonalds instead of letting down the group. This game mechanic would put them under a lot of stress both emotionally and physically.

On the...

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Raspberries, Learning, and a Dose of Dopamine

by Jonathan Peters, PhD
Chief Motivation Officer, Sententia Gamification

We LOVE dopamine. The release of this neurochemical in our brains rewards us when we do things that are/should be good for us and/or the passage of our DNA to the next generation. We feel pleasure, for instance, when we see a raspberry because our brain knows that when we eat it, the glucose will give us energy (and it will taste good). Soon afterwards, though, the dopamine drops off, and we desire another berry to get that dopamine dose again. We will even walk back to the berry patch and fight with the stickers to get the next raspberry.

But what is even more interesting is that dopamine appears to be involved in learning and memory.

To exert some control over an uncertain life, dopamine rewards us when we discover information about our environment. After all, when we return to the berry patch next month, we’ll only see a tangle of stickers. Our ancestors needed to learn about seasons so that they would...

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