PRESS RELEASE: Gamification and Gametize-powered app increase engagement by 60% in SMU’s pilot group

First SMU module gamified to increase engagement and interactions among students in a pilot implementation shows encouraging results. 94% of students want to see more modules gamified. The Gametize-powered app is designed by four students, facilitated by their professor, Dr Rani Tan. 

SINGAPORE, 6 Aug 2014 – In early 2014, Singapore Management University (SMU) and Gametize Pte Ltd co-produced a pilot Gamification app for Leadership and Team-building (LTB), a core module for freshman students. Gametize CEO Keith Ng, a head teaching assistant in LTB five years back, tapped on this opportunity to improve engagements between students. It was first proposed in early 2013 to his mentor, Dr Rani Tan.  After a year of planning, the GameLead app was made available on both web and mobile platforms. Lessons became more interactive and inclusive with the introduction of the app. GameLead became a success with SMU’s LTB teaching staff and students alike, with 94% of students recommending the use of GameLead for future classes of LTB.

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Gamification is the application of game mechanics and psychology to non-game context, in this case, learning. A gamified experience will ignite interest and build motivation during class, with the goal of instilling lessons as lifelong habits.

GameLead is an app for students by students. The game structure and content were wholly designed by four Teaching Assistants (TA), senior SMU students who had taken the LTB module. With the aid of head lecturer Professor Rani Tan, the TAs were able to design a gamified experience with the course content. LTB students were given a large degree of freedom as there were no deadlines to quests’ completion. Additionally, students can influence their peers by voting on others’ answers, through viewing an activity feed of submitted responses by other classmates. The app facilitated active class participation, as well as enabling SMU and Gametize to collect feedback about the module.

To provide an immersive gamified experience, GameLead consist of challenges for the students to act upon. A series of simple challenges, such as photos, quizzes, and videos prompted students to reflect on and apply what they have learnt in class. Group activities involving discussions and photo challenges were also introduced to bolster social interaction. With every successive lesson of LTB, an additional quest (group of new challenges) was made available for the students to attempt. Supplementary content, such as videos, were provided in weekly ‘bonus quests’ to help students learn better. The students commented that content introduced through videos was interactive, interesting, and relevant to the theories learnt in class.

A core goal of Gamification is to instil strong intrinsic motivation and self-efficacy. Rewards such as points and progression acted as extrinsic drivers for challenge completion. The option to choose prime presentation slots is an example of extrinsic drivers.


To experiment with the expectations of extrinsic drivers, students of one of the classes (G1) were explicitly informed that using GameLead (or not using it) will not deliver bonus marks/penalty to their grades (other than logging participation in class discussions, which was a crucial assessment at SMU). The TA left the information dubious deliberately at another class (G3). In the end, G3 had the highest challenge completions, compared to G1’s lower activity, showing the importance of extrinsic rewards to get users on-board or not.However, the provision of a point-based leader board did resulted in some students engaging in unwanted behaviour of not completing the game, seeing that they were nowhere near the top.

“GameLead is an evolution of traditional classroom learning. Through the use of digital technology, lessons can be made more interesting and interactive. The challenge is to find a balance between motivation and rewards” says Keith Ng, CEO of Gametize. “Thanks to the innovative team at SMU, we are able to conceptualize a unique learning pedagogy. From the successful pilot and enthusiastic response of students, we are encouraged to bring this app further.”

GameLead was designed to solve the problem of motivating and engaging students beyond the classroom, by providing a seamless and engaging experience through Gamification. Survey results revealed that over 60% of students felt more engaged through GameLead, demonstrating the pilot’s success. Gamification in education is a fairly new concept. With the success of GameLead, SMU and Gametize are set to develop a second edition with an enhanced storyline and reward system.

The press release can be viewed here.



About Singapore Management University
A premier university in Asia, the Singapore Management University (SMU) is internationally recognised for its world class research and distinguished teaching. Established in 2000, SMU’s mission is to generate leading edge research with global impact and produce broad-based, creative and entrepreneurial leaders for the knowledge-based economy. It is known for its
interactive and technologically-enabled pedagogy of seminar-style teaching in small class sizes.


The pilot Gamification app for Leadership and Team-building is helmed by the following Professor and Teaching Assistants:

Professor Dr Rani Tan has been teaching undergraduates at SMU, Lee Kong Chian School of Business, for almost a decade. She is also actively engaged in conducting a HRM module at the Master’s level for the School of Information System and does executive education at SMU. Besides her passion for teaching and coaching, she is also a trained counsellor and is very much involved in voluntary work in the wider community, especially in the area of mediation for the Community Mediation Centre, Ministry of Law in Singapore.

Leon Lim Jun Yang is a second year undergraduate at SMU School of Information Systems Management. He is very passionate in the area of leadership studies and strongly believes that learning can be made fun.

Joel Koh Yong Kiat majors in Strategic Management & Entrepreneurship in SMU. He believes in holistic learning and is the founder of The platform offers people the easiest way to learn and discover new experiences.

Patricia Anne Carthigasu is a second year undergraduate at SMU School of Social Sciences, majoring in Political Sciences. She believes in developing and harnessing the leadership potential in students to inspire social change in our society. She strongly believes in providing students a holistic, value-based education; and that learning should never be confined to the classroom.

Tay Weng Yew is a second year undergraduate at SMU Lee Kong Chian School of Business and a regular serviceman of the Singapore Armed Forces. His passion lies in leading teams to serve the community and believes that the world is everyone’s classroom.


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.

Our Selfie challenge app, Selfiely, is featured on CNET Japan!

Original Link (Japanese only):

Below is the translated version in English, by Sarah Ong:

Selfies All the Rage in Asia – “Selfiely” Combines Photos and Games to Get Users to Compete on Quality

In this series, our writers living in Singapore take a look at the local startup companies coming under the spotlight in Southeast Asia. We bring you the insider’s insight into Southeast Asia’s IT industry today.

We have been focusing on the startup companies featured in Startup in Asia held in May by Tech in Asia, which introduces Asia’s startup scene.

What are these ‘Selfies’ Trending Globally?

Taking your own self-portrait may be considered too embarrassing for us to fully accept in Japan. However, this has become so popular overseas that the term ‘selfie’ has been used to describe the trend. It has even been chosen as Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2013, and has appeared in English conversation over 170 more times compared to last year according to the Oxford University Press.


(Photo posted by Ellen Degeneres on Twitter)

One of the factors which led to the rise in popularity of the selfie was this photo, taken by the American Academy Awards host Ellen Degeneres with her smartphone. It features an all-star cast with American celebrities such as Brad Pitt, Meryl Streep from “Devil Wears Prada”, Kevin Spacey from “American Beauty”, etc. With a record-breaking 3,200,000 retweets and 1,700,000 favourites on Twitter, the trend spread throughout the world.

Selfies are all the rage in Asia, too. Not limited to Singapore, you can spot young women and couples taking out their smartphones to take a photo of themselves on the train, in cafes, and all sorts of places. Although they don’t seem to be bothered by the public gaze, neither do the public seem particularly bothered. Feeling embarrassed by selfies and occasionally giving such selfie-takers a cold gaze may be a Japanese trait.

Competing for the Most Voted-For Selfie Photos

Selfiely is an app aiming to stir up the ‘selfie culture’ in Asia even further. This was developed and soft launched by Gametize, a Singaporean firm providing platforms to support gamification in mobile apps, as the company’s showcase product during Startup in Asia. Since then, there has been a positive response by users, which Gametize has in turn responded to by devoting their full effort in further development of this app.

asia_3(Each quest in Selfiely shows a different group of challenges)

Selfiely is as much a photo-sharing app, where users compete for votes for their selfie photos, as it is a game app. Users login using their Facebook account and choose the ‘quests’ they wish to accept. Within each quest are challenges which prompt users to post their own photos and compete according to the points they earn from votes and comments.

For example, in the CNET Quest prepared by Gametize for this article, the aim is to master interesting selfie techniques through challenges such as “Take a selfie using a mirror”, “Take a selfie with your best friends or family”, “Take a selfie with the coolest IT product you own”, etc. You can apply various frames, stickers, text and effects to your selfie photos and post them with a caption.

Each photo posted earns users 10 points from the start. Furthermore, every 1 vote by other users earns you 1 additional point. Currently, although users with the most points are not given any special incentives, users still actively post their own photos as it allows them to interact with their friends in a fun way. In future, incentives such as rewards from sponsors and photo-printing for the most popular users may be established.


(From left: Co-founder and CTO Damon Widjaja, Development Intern Bharath Parameswaran, Business Development Director Erika Tuason)

The app is currently free to download and use. In time to come, in-app purchases to unlock features such as accessing celebrity selfie challenges may be introduced. Moreover, there are plans for monetization in the form of paid sponsors being invited to create quests for publicity of their brand and services or products.

There are other competitors existing in the market overseas, the most popular being Shots, which is invested by popular musician Justin Bieber, in addition to others such as Selfie Challenge and Selfie Battle. In order to gain ground against these predecessors, Selfiely is actively improving its service based on user feedback, and is devoted to maintaining an active community where photos running counter to public morals are kept to a minimum, especially where the tendency is towards the contrary for such photo-sharing apps. Gametize aims to acquire 500,000 to 1,000,000 users in the next 12 months.

Related tags: CNET, CNET Japan


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.

Press Release: Selfie World Cup with USD$1 Million prize

After a year of stealth planning and development, Gametize will launch the inaugural World Cup for Selfies, also known as Selfiely, with the top prize worth US$1 Million. Thirty two nations will be competing in the championship, while the individual category will be open to public. Selfie, the Oxford dictionary word of the year for 2013, has increased its usage by more than 17,000% since end of 2012.

Continue reading “Press Release: Selfie World Cup with USD$1 Million prize”