Getting your head in the game

Getting your head in the game


Gamification 101: Simple application of game mechanics

What is gamification

Gamification uses game like mechanics in a non-game context to reward task completion. It taps into deep psychological need states and triggers emotions that are linked to positive experiences such as happiness, intrigue and excitement. Done well, gamification pulls the levers of both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation to keep people hooked in and engaged for longer.

Examples in action

One very simple example of this in action is the unlocking and collecting of badges as a motivation tactic. The key to delivering against this technique as a means for Gamification relies on the user being set a goal, giving them the ‘ground rules’ about how to achieve that goal and then providing feedback on their progress. Badges work well to motivate users, focus their attention and ultimately can create community around like-minded individuals who have also completed similar tasks (think; Pokemon Go or NIKE Fitness App).

Photo by David Grandmougin on Unsplash

How to apply it

In the example above, goals keep us focused on what we need to achieve while badges challenge us and give us the extra motivation needed to complete the actions. Goal setting is most effective when users can see their progress towards their goal. As a result, gamified experiences should award users points alongside badges which accumulate to push learners over the threshold of their current ‘level’ of achievement and ‘level up’.

Photo by David Grandmougin on Unsplash

What makes it effective

The investment that the user makes into achieving their badges taps into two behavioural phenomena the ‘endowment effect’ and the ‘IKEA effect’. Together, the theories state that we place strong value on the things we own and actually overvalue the results of our labour. The reality in the example of a badge is that the value placed on achievement of the badges is irrational — at the end of the day, it’s just a badge! However, it is human nature to rationalize our achievements on the basis that we’ve invested time, money and effort into obtaining them — after all, you wouldn’t have invested your time, money and effort into obtaining the badges it if it wasn’t worthwhile… would you? Ultimately we’re all hardwired to want to complete things as well as respond to rewards, recognition and acknowledgement for our achievements. This is why Gamification is so effective.

Once this subconscious mindset is achieved the investment shifts to become about any future rewards that makes the next action more likely — that is; the completion of another task leading to the achievement of the next badge in order to complete a set and receive recognition for the achievement.

BCMs Gamification Experience

BCM has worked with a number of clients to develop gamified experiences. From applying gamified techniques to elicit behavior change, to developing engaging educational platforms that integrate into school curriculum — below is a selection of our work.

Love The Reef(above) — A gamified education platform developed by BCM for the Great Barrier Reef Foundation.
Reduce Your Juice (above) — A gamified mobile app developed by BCM for City Smart
Journi (above) — A gamified road safety education platform developed by BCM for the Department of Transport and Main Roads QLD.