Guide to Learning Gamification, incl. Free Tutorials • Discoverology
29 items | 362m read

Ultimate Guide To Learning Gamification

6m read | Introduction
Ultimate Guide To Learning Gamification

Gamification is a term that is widely used and regularly thrown about nowadays. Ever since its creation, the word has held some fascination for people due to how it sounds and the connotation around it, not to mention how popular it is when someone’s looking to rhyme with -tion. However, while the word does seem to be quite popular of late, not many know exactly what it means or how it is supposed to be used.

Common sense dictates that gamification is something that is quite simply related to games. Since -ification is something attached to dictate a process or a procedure, gamification should mean turning something into a game. The idea of turning something into a game is one that is commonly associated with gamification and forms the basis for it. However, while that is quite an appropriate understanding of the term, there’s more to this term than meets the eye.

The Origins of Gamification

The idea of gamification came into being back in 2002 when Nick Pelling came up with it. He coined a term that no one fully understood, but the association of the word with games made it appealing to the masses. In the seventeen years that have passed since then, the world’s changed by quite a lot. However, what still hasn’t changed is people trying to comprehend exactly what gamification constitutes. While, for some, the idea of gamification might be clear, the extent to what it offers still eludes man’s understanding.

The reason behind the mass confusion about gamification is exactly this issue. People do not understand just how much gamification can mean and come up with definitions relying on structure or context. Some research into the term would turn up hundreds of different answers, all exploring the same idea in different ways. Some make the concept simple, while for others it has far-reaching designs that include far more than mankind can comprehend currently. However, if there’s one thing that can be affirmed from such an exercise is the fact there exists no concrete definition for gamification as yet.

Understanding Gamification

Many people have been trying to make terms with gamification ever since the term was coined. However, this exercise has gained a greater interest in recent years, with the elusive meaning of the word driving greater attention towards solving it. One definition to arrive recently (in 2014) that explores gamification along with its roots declares:

“Gamification is the use of game mechanics and experience design to digitally engage and motivate people to achieve their goals.

Several aspects can be dissected and explored in this proposed definition. The idea of introducing game mechanics is something that almost all commentators agree upon, and it’s perhaps the only part of the definition that holds its weight in the overarching search for gamification.

However, it’s the second part that blares troubling sirens. In a world that’s becoming increasingly digital, the idea of gamification being used to “digitally engage” individuals is not far-fetched. However, the question remains that can gamification not be applied in the physical domain? Gamifying emails is something that occurs nowadays, but can’t the same concept be applied with analog procedures. Well, it actually can and is being carried out right now. Every time a fun teacher turns education into a game, the concept of gamification takes hold in the analog world. If it’s all about introducing game mechanics, the digital world can’t be the only environment for that.

The last part of this definition is not as confusing or controversial. Motivating individuals to achieve a certain goal does tie in with the proposed principles of gamification. After all, introducing game mechanics to otherwise mundane tasks would usually have motivation as its end goal. However, could gamification not simply be utilized to make certain daily tasks more fun? Instead of only trying to turn tasks that people do not feel like doing into more appealing ones, gamification could also be used to make other general tasks more fun. Gamification should not just be limited to making dull things fun. Instead, it can bring some more fun to all aspects of daily life.

What Gamification Can Offer

One current application of gamification is making email more fun to read. This includes work emails and all kinds of different surveys and forms that people might need to fill. Such activities usually drive people away and make them use minimal attention. Hence, making these appealing to garner more attention from people is a great way to utilize gamification. But there is still far more than gamification can offer.

Gamification can be used as a great motivator in workplaces. Adding game mechanics to general operations and tasks for employees makes them more interesting. Rather than getting tired on the job and irritated by the work they have to do, employees will instead enjoy their tasks and attempt them with greater fervor and attention. When it comes to thinking out of the box and developing the workplace into a fun environment, gamification is simply one of the best solutions to consider.

It is not just workplaces and the world of electronic mail that can make good use of gamification. It’s a fantastic concept that can be utilized in each aspect of human life. After all, what isn’t good about adding more fun to life. With gamification, people can make even the dullest of daily chores into something they would enjoy doing. It’s not just about motivation, it is also about giving your life an increased dosage of fun activities. With gamification, you can change your life in a way that you will enjoy, for many years in the future.

Gamification is a powerful idea that still hasn’t made its way as a defined concept in the human mind. However, as people continue to explore it, the extent to which it can affect human life for the better is startling. Get ready to hear a lot more about it because it is here to stay.

About This Gamification Guide

This guide offers the most insightful articles, educational videos, expert insights, specialist tips and best free tutorials about gamification from around the internet. The learning guide is split into four levels: introduction, basics, advanced and expert. You can learn at your own pace. Each item shows an estimated reading or watching time, allowing you to easily plan when you want to read or watch each item. Below you’ll find a table of contents that enables you to easily find a specific topic you might be interested in.

10 items | 143m read
8m read | Basics

What is Gamification?

In 2002, Nick Pelling coined the term ‘gamification’ and freestyle rappers everywhere rejoiced at the rhyming potential it offered. The world is now a very different place, we’ve had three new Spider-men, Andy Murray won Wimbledon and we no longer ‘Ask Jeeves’ if there’s the slightest chance that our missing sock has been sucked up into a black hole. But what is the definition of gamification?
6m watch | Basics

Principles of Gamification

Mechanics and game design principles can enhance our own lives through applications at school, work, and personal habit-building. What could happen in a world where there’s no distinction between work and play?
10m read | Basics

The Theories of Gamification

The foundation of each and every successful gamification project, time and again, is a solid game plan. No plan? No success. Define your goals, game concept, reward structure and design first, win later.

Be sure to ask yourself the following strategic gamification questions:

How will your game engage people to perform a certain action?
How will your game educate your target audience or enhance their skills?
How will you reward players?
How will you create a likeable game and motivate people to play?
What will be the structure of your game?
12m read | Basics

Understanding Gamification

Gamification is the process of engaging people and changing behavior with game design, loyalty, and behavioral economics. It’s taking what’s fun about games and applying it to situations that maybe aren’t so fun. It’s about applying that feeling of flow to everything from employee motivation to research studies to marketing campaigns.
4m read | Basics

Gamification and Open Innovation

Open innovation injects new ideas into an organization by providing the ability for non-employees to submit concepts for consideration. The process relies on a pool of involved and enthusiastic contributors who want to participate in the process. The challenge is how to attract and engage these innovators in a way that sustains their interest and increases the quality of their submissions. Gamification is an excellent tool to achieve this goal.
11m watch | Basics

The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

This lively RSA Animate, adapted from Dan Pink’s talk at the RSA, illustrates the hidden truths behind what really motivates us at home and in the workplace. Learn how gamification creates motivation at work in this 11-minute video.
4m read | Basics

Gamification As A Means Of Motivation & Participation

Gamification is the process of integrating game mechanics into any existing application, be it a website, an enterprise app or a community. The primary aim of gamification is to motivate participation, increase user engagement and enhance loyalty. Gamification can successfully turn any dull activity into an exciting journey of learning through mental exercise.
64m watch | Basics

Mastering Game Mechanics

Despite the staggeringly vast variety of games out there in the world, they draw primarily from a core set of basic mechanics. Many games which at first seem very different share fundamental design patterns, subgames, and strategies. What is a “draft,” and more importantly, what is its true function? Where to rondels come into play? What is the purpose of an arbitrary decision? What does “skill based movement” mean for a game? Are all auctions created equally? Whether you are a player, maker, or even simply observer of games, understanding these core components will provide a surprising degree of insight into their nature.
12m read | Basics

The Four Elements of Game Design: Challenge & Choice

While game design is a complex task, the process of designing a game does not have to be hard. There are some simple rules we should follow, and we can view these as the absolute fundamentals—the elements of game design. As creators and artists, we do not always have to follow these rules, but understanding them will allow us to break them on our own terms.
12m read | Basics

The Four Elements of Game Design: Change & Chance

A game is more than a singular challenge. It is, essentially, a series of micro challenges—we might face hundreds or thousands during the course of the game. Things like “collect a coin” or “kill an enemy” or “jump the pit”.

Sometimes, the player might deliberately “fail” a micro-challenge in order to benefit overall but doing counter-intuitive moves is often a result of complex gameplay and a clear overall goal. A game needs to contain challenges which are not static, and revolve around choices the player has previously made.
7 items | 101m read
60m watch | Advanced

Functional Theory for Game Design

Keith Burgun, author of “Game Design Theory: A New Philosophy for Understanding Games”, explains the functional theory of game design in great detail.
8m read | Advanced

Gamified Storytelling

Games can include stories, but can we do it the other way around by applying gamified features, such as role-playing, into storytelling? In this article, I would like to discuss whether stories can be gamified and what does it take to make a successful gamified story.
8m read | Advanced

Gamification in Marketing

Gamified content makes your sales funnel better. It’s engaging, so people remember it. This, in turn, creates greater brand awareness.

Customers start to think more about your brand, which gets them curious. They subscribe to newsletters, buy one or more of your products. All of a sudden, you converted a visitor into a customer and it’s all because of gamified marketing.

How effective is this strategy at helping brands meet their goals? Very effective, according to the gamification marketing results we’ve seen.
12m read | Advanced

Using Gamification To Improve Customer Engagement and Retention

“Engaged consumers have a significant impact on your bottom line,” says Alex Gault, vice president of sales and marketing, DeepMarkit. “According to Gallup, brands that successfully engage their customers realize 63 percent lower customer attrition and 55 percent higher share of wallet.” And a prime way to engage customers is by using games that reward them for playing – and shopping — with you.
10m read | Advanced

Examples of Gamification in Business

In this blog we have been telling you many things about gamification and game-based learning (GBL). We have talked about the trials faced by e-learning, analyzed the challenges to GBL companies, we have told you about the advantages of gamifying your company and revealed the secrets of the first game on leadership in the market.

Today, we are gathering ten pioneering examples of game-based learning or gamification.
4m read | Advanced

Enterprise Gamification Success Stories

Many large companies, including Xerox, Allstate and Hyatt Hotels, use gamification to teach employees processes and procedures, improve productivity and even to pump up sales and reach revenue goals. Here’s a look at their different approaches to engaging employees in unusual ways.
9m read | Advanced

Surprising Industries that Use Gamification

If you want people to do something (buy a product, practice a certain behavior, etc.), make it an interesting journey for them. As we’ve seen, a little creativity goes a long way. And while gamification might not be the best option for every organization, it’s certainly a tool you shouldn’t underestimate.

Some legitimate criticism of gamification mentions concerns over whether or not rewards are meaningful. To gamify is not simply to push out some random, brightly-colored ribbons for every occasion. It seems to be a delicate balance, and even the best of us aren’t exempt from failure.
11 items | 112m read
4m read | Expert

Myths About Gamification

Of course, there are gamification programs that don’t work, but that doesn’t mean the concept is intrinsically flawed. When programs are implemented properly, companies find that the effectiveness of gamification is no myth.
4m read | Expert

How Leading Companies Use Gamification for Company Culture and Talent Management

In recent years, HR departments have also started to capitalize on its power to engage people by applying the typical aspects of gaming – point scoring, competition with others and rules of play among them – to their employee management strategies.

Ford, Google, Disneyland, Microsoft, Cisco and Deloitte are among the many organizations that have introduced gamification to enhance business performance.
15m watch | Expert

Tricking Your Brain into Learning More

When 50,000 of Mark Rober’s 3 million YouTube subscribers participated in a basic coding challenge, the data all pointed to what Rober has dubbed the Super Mario Effect. The YouTube star and former NASA engineer describes how this data-backed mindset for life gamification has stuck with him along his journey, and how it impacts the ways he helps (or tricks) his viewers into learning science, engineering, and design. Mark Rober has made a career out of engineering, entertainment, and education.
8m read | Expert

The Future of Gamification

I had the opportunity to meet two famous experts on the topic of gamification, who I was very happy to bring as speakers at conferences I chaired in my small country–Macedonia where gamification is not yet very well-known to brands. They are both authors of books on the topic of gamification, both have delivered Ted Talks and both have worked on gamification strategies for various brands.

I asked them on their take on a few things: the framework they use for designing gamification solutions, which industry they see gamification making the biggest change, what are the gamification trends in 2019 and their favorite best-in-class gamification solution.
3m read | Expert

Benefits of Gamifying your Company

Implementing gamification programs in the company presents many advantages and benefits. More and more organizations are choosing to implement these gaming techniques to improve productivity and competitiveness of their teams.
6m read | Expert

Gamification Best Practices For Your Business

Game design should reflect the users’ journeys. Every stage should apply a deep understanding of its users’ needs and objectives while giving him or her an engaging educational experience. If the goals of gamification are to achieve higher levels of engagement, improve performance, and stimulate collaboration and innovation, the opportunities it affords businesses are great—it leads the way in eLearning tools to engage employees and enhance the learning experience to ultimately optimize performance.
4m read | Expert

Best Practices for Implementing Gamification

The word gamification and the practice of it is relatively new on the scene. Actually, the term wasn’t widely adopted until about 2010. The newness of this concept has caused a bit of confusion and ineffectiveness when it comes to implementing and optimizing gamification in the workplace.
24m read | Expert

Gamification Platform Comparison

Gamification software are tools which are used to employ game design elements in non-game contexts to improve user engagement, organizational productivity, flow, learning, crowdsourcing, employee recruitment and evaluation, ease of use, the usefulness of systems, physical exercise, traffic violations, voter apathy and more. Gamification optimizes the pleasure of communing with a brand.
24m read | Expert

Open Data, Crowdsourcing and Game Mechanics

The aim of this paper is to shed light on the dynamics of civic participation, media agency, and data practices. To do so we analyze an investigative journalism story run by The Guardian that combined open data, crowdsourcing and game mechanics with the purpose of engaging readers. The case study highlights how data can be made accessible to people who usually do not have access; how game mechanics can be deployed in order to foster civic participation by offering users a sense of autonomy, competence and relatedness; and how crowdsourcing can organize a large group of people into achieving a common goal. The combination of these three elements resulted in a case for civic participation in the digital era.
10m read | Expert

Further Reading: Best Gamification Books

Actionable Gamification: Beyond Points, Badges, and Leaderboards. Gamification Pioneer Yu-kai Chou takes readers on a journey to learn his sixteen years of obsessive research in creating the Octalysis Framework, and how to apply the framework to create engaging and successful experiences in their product, workplace, marketing, and personal lives.

Gamify: How Gamification Motivates People to Do Extraordinary Things. This book goes beyond the hype and focuses on the 20% that are getting it right. The book examines some of these successes and identifies the common characteristics of these initiatives to define the solution space for success. It is a guide written for leaders of gamification initiatives to help them avoid the pitfalls and employ the best practices, to ensure they join the 20% that gets it right.

Play to Learn: Everything You Need to Know About Designing Effective Learning Games. This book bridges the gap between instructional design and game design; it’s written to grow your game literacy and strengthen crucial game design skills. Experts Sharon Boller and Karl Kapp share real examples of in-person and online games, and offer an online game for you to try as you read.

The Gamification of Learning and Instruction: Game-based Methods and Strategies for Training and Education. Karl Kapp introduces, defines, and describes the concept of gamification and then dissects several examples of games to determine the elements that provide the most positive results for the players. He explains why these elements are critical to the success of learning.

10m read | Expert

Further Learning: Best Gamification Courses

Gamification Course by The University of Pennsylvania. Gamification is the application of game elements and digital game design techniques to non-game problems, such as business and social impact challenges. This course will teach you the mechanisms of gamification, why it has such tremendous potential, and how to use it effectively.

Gamification & Behavioral Design: The Octalysis Framework. After taking this course, students should be able to understand how the brain works, how to trigger motivations, and be able to apply that to all sorts of aspects in their lives, such as fundraising, sales, team motivation, parenting, teaching, relationships, and more.

Gamification: Motivation Psychology & The Art of Engagement. This is a course that will teach you about human beings and what encourages them to do the things they do. This unique course is inspired not just from textbooks and science experiments, but from personal, first-hand experience. Experience teaching children, managing teams and design applications.

Save the World With Design, Data Viz, & Gamification. This course helps designers, sustainability professionals & social change entrepreneurs learn how to implement 15 unique design, data visualization and gamification techniques so you can powerfully motivate your people to create real and measurable change on the causes you care about.

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