What is Gamification?

  • Gamification is defined as the use of game mechanics, style or design techniques to accomplish a goal. E.g., learning games, raising awareness of social justice issues.
  •  Gamification works when it is engaging, players are motivated to “win” the game, seek to satisfy their curiosity, and because it is fun!
  •  Gamification can be applied to any subject, discipline or topic, therefore making it a very versatile knowledge mobilization technique.

Resources, time, and skill

  • Resources, skill, and time to build a game vary depending on the complexity of the content and the game as well as the nature of the technology used.
  •  Learning games require content knowledge, ability to design learning objectives, activities to create the conditions for learning, and to develop methods of assessing the learning.
  •  As with other KMb techniques, understanding the audience, their level of knowledge, interests, and technological preferences is critical. Do keep in mind presentation time. For example, you may wish to build in shorter or longer options for users depending on the time they have available.
  •  The game should not be overly complex for participants. Design the complexity of the game to meet the needs of the audience. In general the less complex the better. You want their cognitive load on the content of the game not the operation.
  •  Cost to build the game vary. A good initial step in development is an inexpensive prototype to test the game, fine tune the structure, game mechanics, and design.

 Key Considerations

  • Electronic or not? Creating electronic interactive games requires access to skilled multimedia specialists and content that is highly rules based. The nature of your audience and the extent to which they use virtual media will be a determining factor.
  •  Competitive or collaborative? Your decision will depend upon your values and the nature of your audience.
  •  Audiences? Games can be suitable for all audiences. The design process needs to determine the most engaging format and process for specific audiences.

 The take away

  • Gamification is an engaging technique that can be applied to many different subjects or disciplines
  •  Start with an inexpensive paper based prototype of the game to test it with the target audience(s)
  •  Make the game fun to play.

 Resources and Examples

The poverty Game (http://playspent.org/),

The KMb Game (download presentation here)

Games for Change -An organization whose mission is to “Catalyze Social Impact Through Digital Games“





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