Gamification– making things that don’t seem to be a game into a game is growing in popularity. Game mechanics, scoring, points, time elements, pattern seeking, item matching, content ratings are quickly working their way into almost every element of life.
One huge proponent of the movement is Jesse Schell, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University. See the fascinating future he envisions by watching the video below.
One of my favorite examples he mentions is the replacement of traditional grades with experience points being used by Lee Sheldon, I’m so doing that!
An article on Fastcompany, How Video Games Are Infiltrating—and Improving—Every Part of Our Lives, discusses several examples of corporations adopting a gamification stance on training. Here are some of the instances mentioned in the article:
Some companies invent their own games to train employees. Sun Microsystems has conjured up two, Dawn of the Shadow Specters and Rise of the Shadow Specters, which take place in an alternate universe called Solaris, colonized by a race of people who happen to reflect the company’s values. At McKinsey & Co., potential recruits play Team Leader, in which they manage a team whose fictitious client, Wang Fo, faces serious challenges. The players must answer 10 questions, each of which involves a set of decisions. At the end, players see (anonymously) how their scores stack up.
Archrivals Google and Microsoft use game design to tangibly improve company processes. In 2006, Google created a game to help it tag pictures and photos on the web. Search engines have a difficult time with image searches, and while facial-recognition software has made strides over the past decade, a new computer can’t scan a photo of, say, Robert Pattinson and tell you who it is. It can’t tell you what car he’s driving, if he’s a celebrity, or what kind — athlete, chef, actor, singer. (If you don’t know, of course, you may be beyond the help of computers.) Google’s solution: Tap the manpower of the web by making image-tagging a game. The Google Image Labeler, which it licensed from MacArthur fellow and Carnegie Mellon professor Luis von Ahn, randomly pairs anonymous volunteers, both of whom are shown an identical set of images. They have two minutes to label each shot. Players receive points when their labels match — validation that a tag makes sense. The more descriptive a tag, the more points the team earns. A leaderboard keeps track of the best scores.
Here is an article describing some of the mechanics that make “real-life” into a game, The New Games People Play: How Game Mechanics Have Changed In The Age Of Social. Here are two examples of game mechanics that attract people.
- The crux behind game mechanics is the feeling that you’ve accomplished something. (is this the result of most training classes or online learning experiences?)
- It is important for people to see how they did compared to other people. (rare in a training situation.)
Other elements of Gamification are “competition, scores, rules and some sort of challenge and interaction” as indicated in an article titled Is Gamification the Future?
Lots of interesting potential in gamification, could it be the next level of electronic performance support or a motivational ploy to pull learners into boring training or a way to modify and alter behaviors based on rewards. Very behavioristic.
If you want to veer a way from the philosophical implications and implements some games for learning, check out Schell’s book, I use it for my instructional game design class and find it effective for conveying game concepts.