Can Gamification save the world?

Through learning and analytical thinking, Gamification can save the world.

keep-calm-and-save-the-world

Learning is one of the key benefits that Gamification propagates. You can learn to play or play to learn. Gamification awards points and badges for task completion, acting as an extrinsic motivator for action carried out. However, it is dependent on the initial motivation to do and learn. There has to be an issue to tackle beforehand, a critical problem area that will generate the desire. Only then, would adopting game mechanics and psychology be useful in improving attitude and subsequent behaviour. As much as intrinsic motivation is needed to play or embark on an activity/game, it does rely on support from others. Self-growth is only enabled by our need to project the best possible self to others, to form an impression we desire and to get the feedback we need to progress.

social-networking-businessThe act of gaming involves people. Do you enjoy playing a game on your mobile phone? Interest would definitely be lowered when you are the only one in your social circle to be playing it. When we play a game, good or bad, we would surely tell our peers about it. Being a lone ranger just isn’t fun. We are social creatures. The presence of our social network promotes engagement, sharing and perhaps learning. Research has shown that close embedded ties promote innovation and sharing. Due to the fear of being ostracised, it reduces opportunistic behaviour as well, delivering harmony among social network. Therefore, we would trust our social circle more and are willing to share our worldly encounters with them.

That said, social network are good for information cascade but it lacks the ability to enable analytical thinking and learning. Iyad Rahwan, Associate Professor in Computing & Information Science at Masdar Institute, put forward this argument in his blog post, “Limits of social learning”. Iyad goes on to mention that, in order to tackle complex issues like climate change or pollution, we would need better institutions to solve and promote critical thinking and learning.

So yes, we rely on our social circle to learn and share but remove the support, we are unable to find a solution on our own. We are merely copying. Playing games enable us to learn on our own, before comparison with our peers. We compete, in good fun, on who has the highest score or the best weapon. In games, we may be play in teams but it is still up to us as individuals to navigate the course. Our case study on GameLead demonstrates this; students complete challenges on their own and vote for their peers’ answers later. Games can also be used to tackle complex issues. Yukai Chou, a Gamification pioneer and keynote speaker, provides examples on this.

challengeacceptedGames promote analytical thinking. It probes for answer to challenges. A moment of laziness would only restrict you to a certain level, not being able to progress forward. You got to think and analyse the right answer or move, for the best possible points or rewards. In essence, games can help us to analyse and learn in a positive manner. It can do wonders for the world’s problems.

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This post was contributed by Max Ang, Business Development Mentee @ Gametize
Max is the summer Business Ninja at Gametize in 2014. He loves reading, especially on themes that deal with the modern society. A sporty person who enjoys runs in the morning and rock climbing on the weekends.

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