There is a lot of information on gamification, but........ honestly? Not that much on what does NOT work.
If you are considering designing, implementing and controlling a gamification program, this is a must read, unless you are prepared to lose profit in big.
1) Get some points and that it.
If you are looking to change behaviours, it would be great if it were that simple. With a magic wand throw some points to some activities. Done! Now... nothing happens as expected.
Why? Because we are not just Pavlov's dogs, we are not that easy. :-) And we are guided by intrinsic motivations, not just by the reward system in itself.
The way in which we operate is with our emotions tied to rational decisions - which aren't necessary linear. In this sense, we need to better understand how to create user engagement with our game design mentality, taking in consideration all possible irrational variables as part of the core design.
2) There is no way to measure results.
There is a first requirement on any project - same in gamification - in which we need to address specific challenges. And those subjects need to be tied to metrics to see a starting point in an optimization project.
And as many other corporate functions, the problem or need to gamify something comes from an indicator which is not were we need it to be.
So, even in the most manual cases of game-based-learning, there is a way to measure results. In order to see tangible results, those metrics has to be designed at the beginning, not at the end of the project (pro tip).
3) This is not for us.
In case of creating an online game with social networking tools, having a solid onboarding and a way in which skills can be challenged, we consider a range of users to design to. And age in specific does have implications when it comes to technology.
But....... A regular comment i hear is: "This is not for us, we don't play at work". Yeah, sure thing. So you never do a bet to a colleague to see who will complete certain tasks at any point i time? Are you aware that game design and game mechanics are transversal to all of us? :)
So, there is a way to get a gamification experience with all game design elements focused in our target user. And if we don't take in consideration this options, we will definitely create something we like, not what our users need.
As a short example in behavior change, the University of Colorado Denver Business School, found that using video games in training led to substantial improvements in performance, particularly when the video games actively engaged participants. The researchers analyzed 65 studies and data from 6,476 trainees, focusing on studies examined post-training outcomes for simulation games. The findings indicated that self-efficacy was 20 percent higher for learners trained with simulation games than for a comparison group, declarative knowledge was 11 percent higher, procedural knowledge was 14 percent higher and retention was 9 percent higher. (trainingindustry.com)
Not bad at all, hu?
So, next time you are in a situation of creating gamification elements, get productivity gains or even think on how to apply game elements in non game contexts, take in consideration this simple 3 comments and get your game on.
Or.... give me a call and we'll explore options.
Thank you for reading this note.