Gamification is an umbrella term that referes to the use of elements that are designed for gaming in a non-gaming context (Dignan 2011, p.34). The principle feature of gamification is to bring about enjoyment, thereby increasing engagement. For it to be successful, certain rules need to be followed. Once the features and rules are included within the non-gaming context, they will have an impact in terms of increasing enjoyment and engagement. So to consider the level of influence these features will have is a significant element of gamification. The essential purpose of gamification is to increase motivation and to improve the experience of an activity.
Recent studies stress that there are two elements regarding the design construction of gamification (Jacob 2014, p.671). One is “games dynamic” which focuses on how this modified gaming context is going to shape the behavior of the user. The second is “game mechanics”. This refers to rules that are embedded within gamification. In fact, game mechanics are the tools that modify the context. It has been identified that the driving mechanism within gamification needs to be centered around the idea of focusing on games with the intended purpose in mind.
In the video posted above, the presenter explains how banks use a form of gamification on credit cards by having various types of colours (Ted, n.d online). Many uses of gamification can also be found in websites across the internet. For example, Twitter offers a labeling system for heavy users and Gumtree uses stars for popular items that are visited.
The merit of gamification is that it can be designed to make the user feel free from risk. This is achieved by allowing the possibility of failure (Calvillo-Gámez, 2011, p.55). If a user fails on one turn, they can simply restart and try again. However, this can be a cause for concern as it may only allow shallow learning. This term refers to when gamification is not productive and the aims are not met. If a user is constantly retrying simply to get past a specific level and not focusing on the information to be learnt, there is a real danger of gamification not being effective.
Gamification requires some considerations to be addressed before creating a game (Dixon 2015, p. 445). One is to consider whether there is even a need for gamification. Another element is to consider who the users will be and what the aims are. Then, the likes and dislikes of potential users needs to be considered. This process will ensure the game created is effective at reaching its target audience.
One of the key factors of gamification is that there should be some intrinsic motivation. A user should want to play the game without coercion. Additionally, it would be even better if it includes some social interaction. It should offer failure whilst effectively conveying the rulings and principles for winning.
It is worth noting that gamification can be used as a learning resource for educational purposes. Online software, such as Kahoot, can be utilised to help create a game that includes questions with multiple answers about a subject the students have studied. This game can be shared with all pupils within the class by typing in the link. One of the rules in Kahoot is that the student has to answer all the questions within a certain time limit. Whoever answers the most questions correctly within that time is given a reward. Those who did not win can restart and try the game again. With this format, pupils are experiencing and playing the game individually but are connected to the same resource within the class. The aim is for pupils to become aware of correct and incorrect answers. By embedding a competing element by including a time limit and reward system, the game provides fun and increases engagement. The reward system will increase intrinsic motivation so the students will want to keep playing the game. By creating a game like this in a classroom, the non-gaming context can been modified into a gaming context. As a consequence, the whole activity becomes purposeful for the students with an added bonus of excitement.
It can be argued that gamification refers to Skinner’s operant conditioning. This is due to the fact that rewards, labels, and sounds are used within this model to help transfer knowledge (Calvillo-Gámez, 2010, p. 55). The effect of gamification is to change and increase the user’s knowledge. However, it has been suggested that gamification is also a means to connect users with knowledge as in some cases, they may not be interested in learning without the aid of games. Essentially, gamification motivates users towards the intended purpose of gaining and reinforcing knowledge.
Calvillo-Gámez, E. (2010) ‘Assessing the Core Elements of the Gaming Experience’, Evaluating User Experience in Games. Vol 4 p 47-71
Dignan, A.(2011) Game Frame: Using Games as a Strategy for Success. New York: Free Press
Dixon, D.(2015) ‘Pattern Languages for CMC Design. In B. Whitworth and A. De Moor, eds., Handbook of Research on Socio-Technical Design and Social Networking Systems.’, IGI Global, Hershey, PA, 2009, 402-415
Jacob, M. (2014) ‘Gamification of Software Applications Hawaii International’, Conference on System Science Vol 4 p 48-82
Ted. (n.d) Ted. Available: ttps://moodle.bradfordcollege.ac.uk/course/view.php?id=7386§ion=