The Future Unlocked: Gamification

Extracted 08MAR2012 from

There are many ways to motivate people. An employer motivates an employee to work by dangling the reward of a paycheck. A mugger motivates that same employee to relinquish his paycheck by threatening him with a gun. Or, if you agree with the recent trends in marketing, health care and education, there's Gamification. Dr. Scott Rigby of Immersyve Inc. defines Gamification as, “...using video game mechanics – like points, scores, and levels – to build greater motivation for customers to stay engaged with a business.” Research into both the motivational power of games and applying that same paradigm to non-entertainment industries goes back to the turn of the 21st century.

Jesse Schell, former Imagineer with Disney, game designer and Professor at Carnegie Mellon University, energized a crowd of designers and professionals at the DICE (Design Innovate Communicate Entertain) Summit... In the final moments of his keynote speech Shell comments, “Is it possible, maybe, that since all this stuff is being watched and measured and judged... then maybe I should change my behavior a little bit and be a little better? … It could be that all these innovations are just crass commercializations but it is possible that they'll inspire us to be better people.” He's quick to qualify, “If the game systems are designed right.”

...Scott Rigby [points out from the perspective of Self Determination Theory] “There are lots of ways I can get you to behave or do things. Rewards. Threats. But, what leads to meaningful behavior change? You see this with how businesses try to motivate customers, teachers students and doctors patients...If you're using a lot of what we call extrinsic motivators, dangling badges, dangling gold stars... you may get people to behave in the short term but interestingly that undermines what we call their intrinsic motivation to behave in those ways.”

See also for a meta-theory that brings Self-Determination Theory into a broader framework sufficient to address these issues of learning and development.