Why is World Cup such a sensation?

It all started in Switzerland, 1904. FIFA was created with the intention of organizing a European football tournament in 1906 Switzerland. FIFA describes this very first tournament, which nonetheless took place, as a failure. Then, in 1908, football became official competition in the London Summer Olympics. But it was for amateurs, not professionally trained players. Football then reappeared as a competitive sport during the Stockholm Olympics in 1912, again limited to amateurs. The tea magnate Lipton then organized the first football competition between individual clubs (not nations) in 1909, and this is widely regarded as the very first World Cup, although only few European clubs participated.

uruguayFast forward to the truly inaugural World Cup in 1930 in Uruguay. So far, 19 World Cups have taken place (not held in 1942 and 1946 due to WW2) and been won only by eight different national teams. Brazil have won five times, and they are the only team to have played in every Cup.

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World Cups have become one of the most exciting and engaging (even if you only watch) sports happening in the world.

The reason the World Cup is so engaging or motivating is that it’s not just a series of games, but a gamified sports experience, which is equally delightful for those attending and those watching over Internet or TV. The gamification elements and methodologies of the Cup include:

  1. Competition: the world’s best 32 national soccer teams all compete for one coveted world cup.
  2. Narrative: each World Cup lasts for one month, and during that month each national football team builds its own narrative (and corresponding branding, for those of you business-minded)– the underdogs, the former champions, new comers, etc. It all blends into one experience that is memorable, emotional and addictive.
  3. Team-work: football is a team game, and while each team might have stars, the team dynamic usually yields some very interesting and unexpected outcomes and results.
  4. Mastery/progression: with each match won, a team advances (to the next stage) and competes with teams who have also qualified and reached the same stage until only one remains.
  5. Achievement: each time a team makes it to the top three or beats an old or formidable rival, there is celebration.
  6. Sense of belonging: in many cases, people root for their national teams or teams whose country or vision are close to theirs (for example, Egyptians root for any African country as well as Spain, Portugal and Italy).
  7. Surprise/uncertainty: while each World Cup has its favorites pinned many months before its beginning, games are full of surprises. Many an underdog won, and many a Goliath failed. This sense of unknown and uncertain creates additional exhilaration for fans.
  8. Fun: whether one experiences a match in the stadium, surrounded by lots of dancing and singing fans or in front of a TV in a dark room, following the games is a lot of fun.

While there is no overall gamification strategy throughout the FIFA World Cup Brazil site, there are few sponsored games such as Castrol’s Predictor Challenge, McDonald’s World Cup Fantasy and Hyundai’s Your 11.

world_cup_2014_ball_brazucaWorld Cup has become the most widely viewed and followed sporting event in the world, exceeding even the Olympic Games. In 2006, more than 26 billion viewers in 214 countries watched the World Cup on television, and more than 3.3 million spectators attended the 64 matches of the tournament. A true titan of games!

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This post was contributed by Hayk Hakobyan, guest writer
Hayk is a consulting partner at Gametize, based mostly in MENA region.
He is a consultant (marketing, innovation, gamification, social media, org dev), entrepreneur (@kartagapp, @engezni), TEDx speaker,advisor/coach (@thezimbabwean, @verdademz, @mtramadv), and volunteer (@takingitglobal).

Will stories triumph or should branded games lead the way?

Stories and branding should work in tandem. Stories create longevity and branding build the critical mass.

onceuponatimeTo build on the previous post, “Storytelling in Gamification”, we would now stress the importance of managing the story. Developing good content matters but it must adapt with changing circumstances. Success of a game depends on continued involvement by the organization, not limited to the initial involvement. There has to be a holistic approach to an organization’s goal and a player’s motivation.

This post takes its influence from the article by Tadhg Kelly of Tech Crunch, “Why does ‘Just Add Gameplay’ Endure?”  Tadhg Kelly argues that games are funded by institutions due to strong pitches but does not really translate into real success. Games are being branded by companies, with the promise of engagement and the higher calling that games can influence positive social behaviour. This manner of creation will endure for a time but real gameplay will still triumph. Players are able to sieve through propagandistic motives for the golden gameplay underneath.

Advocating good content creation has always been core to Gamification, rewards and badges are secondary extrinsic motivations to play. Good content uses storytelling. We should not use Gamification as a branding tool. We have to understand the impact and effects on players.

There has to be proper content design and management. People play with a desire to gain mastery and to achieve personal goals. Organisations use Gamification to create a cohesive and empowered workforce. The intrinsic purpose is enhanced by games. A branded game may aid in building a following but for it to reach its intended goal with time, we have to bear in mind the objectives and motivations of players. This is where good storytelling content will play an important role in setting the course and flow of the game. Long term engagement will blossom and make the game relevant to the players. Here is the post on creating good content through good design principles.

Brand the game but have good stories lead the way. Kick start a story with these tips:

1) Take inspiration from well-known tales

goldilocks_by_teelamb

Remember Goldilocks or David and Goliath? These endearing tales are able to leave a profound impact and are stories that teach important life lessons. We set objectives and the lessons to be learnt. Only then, we can lay the foundation for great stories to be told. Stories have to form a connection and give meaning to the recipient, stirring emotions and enabling remembrance.

2) Seed an idea and let it grow

ted

Back in school, teachers would enlighten children’s imagination by telling a story through an object, like a teddy bear. The story would begin by, “There was once a teddy bear which could talk…” and then pass it round the class. Children would then continue the stories, sparking new ideas along the way. Have an idea and let your team build wonders on it!

In short, we should first brand the game for awareness and work hard on creating engaging content. Engaging content will attract and retain players. Seed ideas from your team and build it with a solid objective (end in mind).

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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.

Why are video games so addictive?

Whether you’re flinging angry birds on your phone or chasing aliens on your Xbox, video gaming has become a common part of society. The masterminds responsible, the game developers, have gotten really good at motivating people. It’s their job after all to create games that will engage players for as long as possible. The question I’ve begun to explore is this: how do they make “fun” happen using game mechanics? And more importantly, how can we take the addiction from games and use it to make people work?

video_games_on_page working-from-home

As it turns out, people who play games do so for at least one of these six reasons: competition, challenge, diversion, fantasy, social interaction, and emotional satisfaction. So let me describe each one and how they are used in Gamification.

Competition: Just turn to your local sports channel during the World Cup or the Olympics and you’ll see. An entire nation of people will rally behind a sports team and cheer because they feel like they are competing against another nation. A sense of competition can engage an entire nation to a sporting event even if many of them did not have much interest in the game before. This motivation is utilized in gamification through the proper use of a leader board and a meaningful points system.

Challenge: People don’t want an easy life, they want a challenging one. This is a tricky balance for game designers as it requires tasks both obtainable and sufficiently difficult. There should be a good understanding of what the players are capable of and how much difficulty they can therefore withstand.

Diversion: The point is to draw the player away from stress. Be it the friends, challenges, story, or a beautiful design, game mechanics can help a player forget about the negative or stressful aspects of life. Diversion both draws a player into a game this way and also opens up the person to engage at an even higher level.

Fantasy: Fantasy is about escaping reality for a more pleasant experience. People have been doing this since there have been story tellers. This game mechanic is used a bit differently in gamification mostly because we are concerned with injecting fun into the real world instead of stepping outside of it. Using narratives and stories, a proper gamification case will make the real world seem like a fantasy world. For example, a player could be defeating an evil scientist by learning about the different domains within his company.

Social Interaction: Some like to focus on socializing more than on a good narrative or on completing challenges. For them, games are more about the people they play with than the game itself. In social games, rewards are given for completing tasks together or for sharing game content with other players or potential players. This is a common example of gamification and allows for both social interaction and help with marketing.

Emotional Satisfaction: This is the feeling you get when you’ve worked hard for something and have earned a great reward for it. It is a sense of accomplishment that naturally comes from success and as emotional creatures we can’t help but want more of it. As much as quick and immediate feedback is important, people also need to receive an appropriate kind and degree of feedback for significant accomplishments.

These six factors are what makes games so addictive. Using the above described game mechanics, Gamification reverse engineers this process and drives desired action. We should all be as addicted to work as we are to games!

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This post was contributed by Michael Chang, Business Development Mentee @ Gametize
Michael was raised in Seattle, WA and is a third year economics student at Hillsdale College (as of 2014). He worked at Gametize in Summer 2014 to learn how he can use my economics knowledge for business development.

Now’s the time to motivate employees through Gamification

Motivation is an employee’s intrinsic desire to do work, and this often results in a more productive person. It is the initiative taken by an individual to complete a task. This motivation has to be nurtured and cannot be left alone to grow. There has to be “a pat on the back” for it to grow stronger.

Think about the times when you were praised for your work. How did you feel? It felt good doesn’t it? You have been acknowledged and your labours are starting to bear fruits! This simple act of acknowledgement can do wonders for the employee’s well-being.

teamwork This acknowledgement can take place through the adoption of game elements. Often, employees in various departments indulge in friendly comparison and envy. They embark on a journey of exploration for answers, igniting the motivation and initiative needed to innovate and create exceptional results. Employees are engaged in business processes, just like game players are engaged in game processes. It adopts the mechanics and psychology of games to promote action. Some of the most frequently used game elements include PBL, which fosters at once cooperation and competition inside companies. To advance, departments, like games, require good skills and teamwork, and these elements increase employees’ knowledge and cooperation.

HR-Gamification-trainerHuman Resource Departments have taken note of this trend and has begun using Gamification to engage employees. Gamification can be said to be an evolution of traditional management methodology. The availability of new technological resources has introduced gamification psychology/elements into processes of many organizations. The Generation X and Y are technologically savvy and are slowly replacing the retiring Baby Boomers generation. They are familiar with technology and would feel most at ease with games at work. In an age of information, they are an impulsive and impatient bunch and thrive on instant gratification. Hard work is expected to be recognised. Game elements of points and rewards are instant and it affirms their motivation to excel. Also, points and rewards act as little incentives that serve as a form of acknowledgement. Human Resource Departments needs to re-energize and motivate employees for daily work tasks, to enable better efficiency and productivity.

diy_gamificationGamification is certainly coming of age, with the help of ubiquitous and unrelenting technological advances, and through the understanding of proper motivation, we are set to enter an evolution. Employees’ engagement is set to be more dynamic and interactive, with partnership and participation being the rule of thumb. This will enable a profitable service profit chain – a correlation between employee satisfaction and customer loyalty.

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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.

What’s the best motivational theory

motivateThere is an ongoing discussion about which of the motivational theories is more (or less) valid, applicable or descriptive. But to start with, let’s have a brief overview of some of the known motivational theories around.

Conceptually speaking, motivational theories fall into two broad categories: content and process. Content theories of motivation analyse the “what“ behind motivation, and process theories focus more on the “how“ of motivation.

The most famous of the content theories is the by-now classic Maslow’s theory.

  • Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs theory tells us about what people need (from basic physiological ones such as hunger to belonging to a group to self-actualization), and these innate needs are what motivate/drive people to action. Maslow’s need theory is the carrot and the stick theory of motivation.

Since recently, most popularized of the process theories is Csikszentmihaly’s Flow.

  • Csikszentmihaly’s Flow postulates that people enter state of flow (bliss, happiness) when they are fully immersed in an activity during which they lose their sense of time and have feelings of great satisfaction.

We will elaborate more on the theories of content/process motivation in the upcoming posts.

Most theories agree on few basic premises: humans have basic and other needs/wants/aspirations. Understanding and catering to those will motivate humans to act. Some of the motivational theories are blatant about needs and carrots-n-sticks type of motivators. Others, such as Dan Pink’s intrinsic motivators theory, repackage the higher-level human needs into more romantic-sounding autonomy, mastery, purpose, which still are needs, just higher-level ones. Yet others, such as Fogg’s model, also require external, environmental factors, triggers, in addition to basic and social but personal needs such as ability.

controlNow that we had a quick overview of some of the motivational theories, let’s dig a bit deeper and see what other aspects of human psychology and behavioural science have to say about motivation. Research shows that people love to be in the control (overlearning) state, because it gives them a sense of security and safety. However, as we acquire new/develop skills over time, we inadvertently move into the relaxation/boredom/comfort state if we don’t pick a more challenging task. We are however motivated by challenges, surprises, and varieties, to avoid boredom.

In real life, this often pushes us into the arousal state, because it is usually very hard to find tasks with the right level of challenge that match people’s skills exactly. They are either far too easy (boring) or too hard (frustrating). So the apparent paradox of human motivation is really our attempt to find that fine line between certainty and uncertainty.

thinkingSo, which of the motivational theories is a better one? Some have a more universal application (SDT, Fogg’s Model, Flow); some have a narrower context but not least significant impact (Achievement Goal Theory in sports or Goal Theory in education); and some focus on specific environments (Hawthorne’s experiments, Herzberg’s Theory or Equity Theory for workspace). Thus it’s hard to put all theories on a yardstick and measure their efficiency, impact and implications.

One suggestion is to look at and evaluate what has been used/applied/tried out in a specific industry, achieving a goal or solving a problem. If results/impact are satisfactory, that theory can be given a chance. If not, approach the problem from the point of view of a specific theory and check which domains/contexts the specific theory has so far been applied and which are the results. Based on that, make a decision.

Lastly, if no obvious or known precedent has taken place and you are not sure which way to go, here is another suggestion. Let’s call it a Candy-Crush approach, inspired by a short video of what makes Candy Crush so successful. The video elaborates on some unique points of how Candy Crush is the running success, including:

  1. On-boarding and pacing (from level to level) process, which is done in a balanced way, varying both types of actions, randomizing (but not too much to cause information overload and confusion) game elements and level shapes, which offers a bigger chance of entering Flow;
  2. Think of ways to constantly modulate interest of people and induce wonderment about what’s next, which allows to keep motivation and drive to discover what’s next;
  3. Create a PBL-type of system which encourages and facilitates transparency among people;
  4. Introduce a progress or mastery-bar, which would visualize where each individual is, how much he/she needs to go to the next level/stage.

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This post was contributed by Hayk Hakobyan, guest writer
Hayk is a consulting partner at Gametize, based mostly in MENA region.
He is a consultant (marketing, innovation, gamification, social media, org dev), entrepreneur (@kartagapp, @engezni), TEDx speaker,advisor/coach (@thezimbabwean, @verdademz, @mtramadv), and volunteer (@takingitglobal).

Increase motivation through good design principles

humanCominteractionStudies on interaction design have brought about a significant understanding on the motivations of people and how it can be applied to create usability. Usability is a method of design that puts the user at the heart of design. It aims to provide an simple, useful and familiar interface. Good design reduces cognitive efforts, increasing motivation and promotes empowerment. We are cognitive misers and we thrive on simple information that is easy to reach. When interacting with a digital interface, we are attracted to strong visuals and words.

Motivation is the creation of desire and the ability to carry out tasks willingly. Good interaction design relates to incentive theory. It is the promise of reward, after the occurrence of an event. Positive association are formed if the feedback is quick and its iterative nature will ensure that it transforms into a habit. Reward helps to enforce a certain behaviour rather than punishment, which does the opposite. Therefore, there is a need to design interfaces which are easy to learn and use, so as to provide an enjoyable user experience. Simple design also help in the maintenance of arousal. There has to be an optimum level of arousal for sustainable motivation. The following principals demonstrate good content mechanism and creation.

Visibility

This is the provision of content and instructions that are clear to the players. Players are able to see what needs to be done through the interface, with minimal need for instructions. Create content that is simple, useful and familiar.

Mapping

Players should be able to map an instruction to a desired outcome, and it should take context into consideration. Asking a detailed question ensure clear follow up and response by the player. The provision of an “Accept challenge” button are clear indicators of a call-to-action to the players.

Feedback

This is an indicator of successful completion. Gamification promotes this through the awarding of badges and points for task completion. Feedback also serves as a point of reflection, to point out when players make a wrong move. Providing iteration encourages learning, strengthening retention and recollection of knowledge. Feedback is like a form of operant conditioning, a method of learning for success and iteration for errors. Example, content for a repeatable challenge can allow the player to keep going till success. Repetitive action results in retention of knowledge.

Consistency

There is a need to have constant flow, to align players to the goals of the game and organization. Storytelling and the provision of good content provides this consistency.

Affordance

A well-thought of design should not overwhelm players. It should “afford” players with a path to move along. It is the creation of motivation. Making content easy-to-follow increases motivation to play a game.

Constraint

These are the limitations impose on the players. Providing scarcity and unpredictability actually increases a player’s desire to play and do. Abundance creates a familiarity that would be taken for granted. Locking a level create dissonance that stir uneasy emotions in players, increasing motivation to complete a game. Constraint also make content simple and not overwhelming.

keep it simpleMotivation is the self-efficacy of a person to engage in voluntary actions. It is action without the need for a carrot. Gamification taps on the motivations of a player to create engagement. The above guide goes well with the Gamification framework of Yukai Chou, an international Gamification keynote speaker and a partner of Enterprise Gamification Consultancy. He developed a Gamification Octalysis to explain various drivers that ignite motivations. Adopting good design principles and Gamification techniques allows for the creation of good content that strike the motivations of players.

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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.

Gametize 5Ds Framework and Life Hacks

Gametize has developed a 5D framework to guide users of our platform, in the building of their very own game. It is a good walk through on seeking problem areas, building solutions and catering to the needs of the players. However, it is not only a good framework to build the right game for the right audience. The 5D can be applied to areas of life as well, from setting productivity goals to social relations.

probsolution(1) Define your problem

To understand any situation we are in, it is always crucial to get as much information as we can. We need to understand what’s bugging us and rifle in on the critical problem area. From there, we can then move on to solutions and have a peace of mind.

(2) Determine your goals

Once we have identified our problems, we need to seek out end goals. To take an analogy, we can drive on an endless road with no end in sight, but very soon, we will run out of petrol and stall. Therefore, we have to know what we want to achieve whenever we embark on a course of action. It sets the path, map out the journey and sends out caution when we deviate. Goals create focus, increasing productivity.

(3) Decide your target behaviour

Target behaviour defines the types of behaviour we want to see players carry out. This is carry out through challenges created. Likewise, through our interaction with others, we can determine the outcome. How we treat others is very much how others would treat us. This is in line with Cooley’s “Looking Glass Self”. We should definitely set the stage for a more friendly and fun place to work and live in. On a personal stance, our attitude determines the behavioural outcome. Take for instance, exercise. When we developed a positive attitude towards exercise, it can help kick start a rewarding regime, enabling better health.

bartleplayertype(4) Describe your players

This is a general profiling of our players. We create a general psychographic of would-be players. Using the Bartle’s player type, we can engage the players accordingly, from lone killer to friendly socialites.Describing players enable us to predict behaviours that occur through game interaction. It aids in the creation of appropriate content. It is always good to understand others through their lens. Every life journey is different. A little sensibility could do wonders for human relations.

Problem-Solution(5) Design your Gamification strategy and experience

The final step involves creating an actionable plan to bring about a desired experience. Gamification is use as a tool to educate and advocate certain behaviour, which would be transformed into habits over time. We need to be clear on what we want to achieve, be laser focus and develop a zest for exploration. This sets the motivation needed to achieve.

Gamification is the adoption of game mechanics into non-game context, increasing motivation through rewards. However, for it to be truly effective, there has be strong intrinsic motivations. Gamification is an influence that promotes positive behaviour and direct attention to a cause in a good way. The 5Ds set the foundation; you create the life changing experience of your desire.

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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.

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.

GameLead: A Case Study of Gamification in Learning

Singapore Management University (SMU) and Gametize co-produced a pilot gamification program for Leadership and Team-building (LTB), a core module for freshman students. Our CEO, Keith Ng, a head teaching assistant in LTB five years back,  tapped on the opportunity to improve engagements between the students, and first proposed in early 2013 to his mentor, Dr Rani Tan. The goal is to create a gamified experience that will ignite interest and build motivation before or during class, and instilling lessons learned as a lifelong habit.

After a year of planning , the GameLead application was made available in early 2014 on both web and mobile platforms to be accessed by students in the classroom and outside of it.

Each quest involved a series of simple challenges, such as photos, quizzes, and videos that prompted students to reflect on and apply what they have learnt in class. With every successive lesson of LTB, an additional quest was made available for the students to attempt.

An activity feed enabled students to view submitted responses by other classmates and vote for their favourite answers.

The GameLead Title Screen
The GameLead Title Screen (mobile). After a year of planning , the GameLead application was made available in early 2014 on both web and mobile platforms to be accessed by students in the classroom and outside of it.On every lesson of Leadership and Teambuilding, one additional quest was made available for the students to attempt. Each quest involved a series of simple challenges, such as photos, quizzes, and videos that prompted students to reflect on and apply what they have learnt in class.An activity feed enabled students to view submitted responses by other classmates and vote for their favourite answers.

The application also facilitated active class participation, as well as enabling SMU and Gametize to collect feedback about this programme through itself.

Empowering Students

The game structure and content of the app were wholly designed by 4 Teaching Assistants (TA), senior SMU students who previously took the LTB course. With the aid of head lecturer Professor Rani Tan, the TAs were able to design a gamified experience which incorporated course content.

LTB students were given a large degree of freedom as they were not given deadlines to complete the quests. Additionally, they had the option to influence their peers’ scores by voting on others’ answers.

Creating an Immersive Experience

Screenshot of the "Class Participation" Quest
Students recorded their contributions to class discussion in this quest

The students recorded their participation in class discussions via one of the quests, and this encouraged them to look at other quests. Activities such as group discussions and photo challenges with group mates were introduced to bolster social interactions. TAs were actively involved in the promotion of the app during class. Supplementary content, such as videos, were provided in the weekly quests as bonus to help students learn better.

The students felt that content introduced through videos was interactive, interesting, and relevant to the theories learnt in class.

Motivation: Intrinsic, Extrinsic and Fatalistic

For some, the intrinsic earning of points and progression indicators acted as a strong motivators to complete the challenges. The top groups were rewarded with options to choose prime presentation slots to avoid clashing with their other school commitments.

Screenshot of first week's challenges
The first week’s challenges: Ice-breakers!

In one of the classes (G1), the students were explicitly informed using GameLead (or not using it) will not deliver bonus marks/penalty to their grades (other than logging participation in class discussions), while in another class (G3), the TA left the answer dubious deliberately. G3 had the highest challenge completions, compared to G1’s lower activity, showing the importance of extrinsic rewards to get users onboard.

It must be noted that some students engaged in the unwanted behavior of not completing the game, seeing that they were nowhere near the top of the point-based leaderboard (a fatalist effect).

Room for Improvement

The use of GameLead via the mobile app was lower than expected. Students preferred completing challenges in the web app on their computers. This means that the accessibility of GameLead on mobile could be improved in order to keep these students engaged.

Certain students had expectations of a real game, partly due to the title of the app (GameLead). These students were also expecting more complex and entertaining gameplay. In the next run of GameLead or future educational apps, more game items such as virtual items or well-designed storylines could be included to improve on this gamified experience.

Conclusion

Our verdict: Successfully Gametized! But there are still things that we can improve on.

GameLead was designed to solve the problem of engaging students beyond the classroom, by providing a seamless and engaging experience through gamification. With regards to this objective, SMU’s LTB teaching staff and students found GameLead to be successful in achieving it, with  93.7% of students recommending the use of GameLead for future classes of LTB in our survey. Not a single mention of “fluff” was recorded in our survey responses.

Gamification in education is a fairly new concept, especially with the use of digital technologies. An iterative approach to improving GameLead based on the data is key to its continued success.

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This post was contributed by Quek Keng Yong, Business Development Mentee @ Gametize
Keng Yong has been placed at Gametize to do a 6-month internship through the iLEAD programme of NUS Entreprise in 2014. He studied Business at National University of Singapore. In his spare time, he likes to ride a bike or play computer games.

Productivity and Play: a paradox?

MIT’s Erik Brynjolfsson wrote about the productivity paradox in a 1993 paper, which can be summarized as the contradiction between technology investments and its benefits (lack of) to organizations. The main takeaway is that technology should not be measured in terms of economics benefits. It should, instead, be seen as an enabler and part of a wider process change in the organization.

playworkDue to vague understanding and wrong measurements, potential solutions do not have the chance to be implemented. Play and productivity are caught in a similar paradox. Play has a bad reputation with productivity. When play comes to mind, we naturally assume that it is disruption to work. But, have you ever thought that play might be the antidote to higher levels of productivity?  Play, coupled with the dynamics of our social network, brings about a cool synergy that makes everyone focus and happy. We grumble in the face of dull work but throw in play, happiness blossom and productivity stays positive.

kittlyplayPlay boosts morale and enthusiasm; it makes you want to do. It does not rely on extrinsic cues to rein in participation.  No one likes working in a stiff environment or under a stern boss. Adding an element of fun relaxes the atmosphere and contrary to popular beliefs, it does not prolong work completion. When we engage in play, stress gets reduce, which improves creative thinking and social relations. Social relations are vital for ideas generation, sharing and learning. A harmonious social network is a product of being relax and comfortable, and being open to one to another. Transparency brings about lower incidents of miscommunication, improving productivity.

childplayProductivity is the ability to do work well. Therefore, play does not clash with productivity, they are partners in crime. Play should not be limited to a child’s priority. Play results in uninhibited children, leading them to be fearless risk takers with low censorship. This gives room for learning and sharing, without the excess baggage. Adults should be actively involved in play, especially in the work context. It is probably the serious act that leads to adults being frustrated and stress at work. Negative emotions produce bad work, hampering productivity instead. Play promotes exploration and sharing, which improves productivity. There should never be a paradox between play and productivity. The productivity paradox is about wrong measurements and wanting more for less. In terms of human capital, we are productive only when we are happy and well. We need to consider play as a measurement tool.

The challenge is to build a bridge of play and productivity. Gamification would be the gel to involve play in work context. Through applying game context and mechanics into non-game situations, play is introduced. Gamification holds the fundamentals of play, share, learn and explore. These fundamentals are all about encouraging the creation of a casual and relaxed atmosphere. Hence, we should leverage on technology to embrace the possibility of bringing fun to whatever endeavour we pursue.

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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.