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As an intern for Enterprise Gamification Consultancy my first assignment was to write a basic overview of the gamification discipline using Mario Herger’s recently published book Enterprise Gamification, Book 1, The Basics and the gamification platformGametize.com.
This project involved the distilling down of a 400 page book that covered the basics, psychology, and practices of gamification. Each chapter contained up-to-date thinking and case studies to illustrate and explain concepts such as the player, metrics, and strategy. Subsequently the singular chapters came together in an interlocking web that forms the discipline of gamification.
As a visual thinker I started by drawing a road map to visualize the pathways of Mario’s book which he used to explain the multiple facets of gamification. Case studies and extra information (such as history of gamification) lead to off-shots and other important material created forks in the road which altogether culminated in a map mirroring the complexity of the book.
Figure 1: Snapshot of topics covered in the book to help me visualize the flow of the book.
For this blog post, we interviewed Dr. Eran Gal, a Learnification expert. Dr. Gal has over sixteen years of experience with enterprises, helping them define, set and accomplish goals, as well as publishing research papers and lecturing at the Holon Institute of Technology.
We asked Dr. Gal to share his insights about what motivates employees, what types of gamification work better than others and what obstacles a company might confront when implementing gamification. Since Dr. Gal is an e-Learning expert, the focus of the interview was on Learnification. Learnification means using Gamification techniques for the purposes of training or employee on-boarding; the use of game mechanics promotes learning, review of materials and encourages a sense of completion. It also provides clear calls-to-action during the process of learning, and is more effective than traditional methods. By creating inherent incentives to learn, implementation of learnification projects promotes better employee knowledge and satisfaction.
What is your definition of Gamification?
Gamification is the use of game-like motivation mechanics in order to produce employee engagement in certain procedures. My focus is the procedure of learning for the purposes of training employees. The industry is moving from basic competitive games between individuals to more elaborate role-play games, which require team-work and cooperation. These gamified elements mimic complex real-life processes.
What do you think is the main challenge of Learnification?
Every Learnification model that exists today has to reinvent its relevance to the organization. Employees today are younger, tech savvy, self-conscious and have a lucid picture of where and how they want to be positioned in the future. The organization on the other hand is productivity biased and needs Learnification to support its goals; it cannot allow the Learnification process to become a disconnected, stand-alone process.
Jane McGonigal made the case in her TED-talk that "Gaming can make a better world". Fast forward two years later and we discover the first gamified applications that turn Jane's vision into reality. Thanks to a friend I stumbled over Luis von Ahn's TED-talk on Massive Scale Online Collaboration. Now this may be a pretty dry title for a world-changing application, not to mention the gamification approach included. But let's look at at Luis' work.
Luis is known as the inventor of Recaptcha. You’ve very likely interacted with recaptcha, as this feature is used by many websites to figure out if you are a human registering or ordering. In an additional field you enter the text that is displayed on an image. The text often being distorted, with stains etc. These texts are the result of scanning books, where old texts pose problems to the text-recognition software. Recaptcha now offers in each session two words to the user, one word being already known (and which is used to verify that you are human and not a bot trying to spam the website), the other one unknown. The same unknown word is offered to 10 other users as well, and if the results match, Recaptcha has another word that is known. This way every year text equivalent to 2.5 Mio books is being corrected and in total 750 Mio individuals worldwide had help identify these words in this massive collaboration effort.
Being a sales rep in a company as large as SAP, and selling technology in an area which is currently very dynamic can be a challenge. Not so much because nobody wants to buy your stuff, but more to keep up with all the information and changes that comes on a daily base and needs to be processed and prepared. I am of course talking about mobility and SAP's sales people, who are sandwiched between all the questions from customers and the flood of new technologies and mobile apps coming at them.
Yes, there are documents and videos teaching about all that, but who has time for that and it's a a pain to work yourself through that. Here is where Roadwarrior enters the stage. Roadwarrior is a game, that teaches sales reps through a simulated meeting with a customer how and what to respond to the customer's question. Offering information about the customer's company prepares the sales rep to tailor the needs and requirements. By offering multiple choices for the answers in what is called a "pre-call planning", sales reps can progress and unlock levels and earn badges and points for correct question and meeting preparation. Through their answers they create a 'cheat sheet', which later in the meeting with the customer can be used by the player to take a glance and use the information for answering. After the pre-planning, they are now meeting the customer. Answering the questions (and using life-lines, if needed), they can see immediately on the 'conversation meter', how well the meeting is going.
Coming to the SAP Labs offices in Palo Alto this morning, the first thing that caught my eyes were not the Angry Bird "post it wars" covered window front, that my team created a few days ago in a team event, but a blog on SAP's internal corporate portal. A little flash game called "Rocketeer" welcomed colleagues at the front page.
By controlling the speed and angle of a little rocket, you can navigate it through obstacles. The obstacles are nothing else than signs with a couple of facts about SAP. The farther you can fly the rocket without hitting any of the signs, the more you learn about SAP. This is what the blog said:
"Get ready to blast off for the new year. It’s fun, and it’s not rocket science: Just point your rocket correctly and give the right amount of thrust. As you soar to new heights, you’ll see some company highlights from 2011. And if you find the optimum trajectory, you’ll reach 2012 before running out of fuel."
A fun way to learn coding or improve your coding skills comes from Codecademy. This is a web-based, interactive platform, where players can learn to code and are rewarded with points and badges. They see their progress on progress bars and can connect with their friends and compete against them.
The website also includes encouraging feedback after each successful exercise.