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Feb 2016

How to Bring Gamification to Life: A Short Practical Guide

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Shaping the future of learning

Gamification is about turning learners into engaged and motivated players. Previously we've written the various ways to engage players and creating a positive feedback loop to motivate them, but when it comes down to it, how do you actually bring a gamified course to life?


Six Easy-to-Follow Steps to a Gamified Course

Step 1: Define the business objective

Ask the client what would make this gamified course a success. What does the business need to achieve? For example, do they need to increase the number of sales?

Top tip: to identify the real business objective list everything the client says, then rank them. Then eliminate the ones that are not a means to an end and justify the remaining ones so you can see their dependencies.

Step 2: Identify the behaviour change

Once you've defined the business objective, be clear about what behaviours players have to do different to achieve this objective. This behaviour change is what will define your 'win' state. You'll also need to identify how you're going to measure this behaviour in the game.

For example: the behaviour change is that learners must identify the sale opportunity in all customer calls. This is what will achieve the business objective of increasing sales. And the one who identifies the most opportunities is the winner.

Step 3: Understand the learner

Now in order to get your player to make this change, you have to understand what type of learner they are. There's different ways to categorise learners, but here's one that's pretty easy to get your head round.

According to Richard Bartle, there are 4 types to learners: 

  • Socialisers - love to play in order to enjoy other people's company
  • Explorers - want to have a go and discover something new
  • Achievers - like it when they earn a badge, a prize, a new skill
  • Killers - always 'have' to win. We all know that person. If you don't – it's probably you!

You'll want to offer something for all these types of learners if you're catering for a large audience.


Step 4: Define the engagement and progression path

Next you have to define how you're going to get learners to play in the first place. To do this, choose your first mini challenge. Then give your players a moment to rest. Once they've had that rest, lay out your next mini challenge. You'll need to repeat this pattern until you've reached your 'win state' and feel the learner will have achieved the behaviour needed for your business objective.

For example: First learners have to find the simplest of sales opportunities. Then they can rest with a fun video. Next, see if they can do the same thing with 'real calls'.

Step 5: Make it fun!

Here's where you can think big. What will tempt the learners to have a go? What will tickle their motivations? 

For example: Can you identify the millionaire caller who will give you the sales bonus of a lifetime?

Step 6: Use the right tools for the job

Now you'll need to identify what's the overarching structure of your course. Will players be in teams, against each other, or be playing alone? You'll need to think about how learners progress, what rewards - if any - you will offer, and what learners will be competing for. As well as deciding on how you'll motivate your learners, you'll also need to decide whether or not you'll give feedback - and how. 


Those six steps in one glance:

  1. Define objectives
  2. Identify behaviour
  3. Understand what motivates your learner
  4. Create a progression path
  5. Make it fun!
  6. Create a structure


Next week: Find out why any gamified course you create is powerless without the player's consent. But how can you get consent when your client is about the roll out the course to all its employees?

More about gamification



Shaping the future of learning

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