Gamification is actually quite simple and it involves taking an existing website or a current online community and adding some game mechanics to it to add a means of participation and engagement. It is often used to increase site loyalty as well. When using gamification, the same techniques that are used by game designed will be used to engage visitors and to motivate actions that could enhance the experience at the site or increase business. Gamification can create loyalty because it gives site visitors or patrons something to engage in and look forward to when they return. The process has actually been used for many years but has increased in popularity since the world of online gaming has expanded. The reason it is referred to as gamification is because over the years, we have learned a lot from playing games. They engage and motivate and now, this same mentality is being used in the world of business and education as a way of engaging those who access online communities and various websites. In short, it is a way to keep people entertained and attracted to a site so that they continue to return, thus increasing loyalty.
Gamification vs Games
There is a great difference between playing games and using gamification. Gamification does not actually involve playing games, yet it takes the elements of gaming and uses it to enhance an experience. There are usually two types of gamification that are used, Intrinsic and Extrinsic. With Extrinsic gamification, the elements of a game are added to a certain system, which can include earning badges, the use of progress bars or generating points for actions taken. With Intrinsic gamification, it is all about increasing motivation to engage the user.
Games are generally played for fun and are a casual experience that offers a break from reality. Gamification is not about playing an actual game at all. It is used to offer a more enriching experience and to generate a loyal base of patrons or site visitors by engaging them using gaming mannerisms and rewards. Gamification has been known to greatly enhance learning experiences and it often used by large businesses to attract new customers and maintain existing customers.
Benefits of Gamification
Gamification comes with some amazing benefits when it is used properly and it is a popular tool that is now being used with education and business. Gamification is not just for a user or customer, it is also quite beneficial for employees as well. When an employee is engaging, they become a larger asset for the company. Engaged workers are known to be less likely to leave a company and they perform 20% better than others. With gamification, businesses can be more effective at engaging employees by offering the chance to earn achievements, rewards and status.
Another great benefit is that gamification helps to promote learning. By implementing game concepts, people are more able to learn and accept new information. They remember things more when they are engaged in an activity, which is why gamification has become a huge tool being used with e-learning sites. Instead of reading through training materials or the traditional dull learning process, gamification livens the experience and makes it more interactive and enjoyable.
In addition to the benefits of gamification with learning and business, it can also be used to promote good health and mental status. It can be used to reduce stress levels and it is now being used on many corporate wellness programs.
Why Gamification Works
Given the long and successful history of games and gaming systems, it is assumed gamification will always work, and in most cases, this is a true statement. Online game-like activities have started to become increasingly popular in business, fitness, education and many other areas. Some of the largest companies in the world use gamification to extend their loyalty base and training programs for employees. In 2013, a study revealed that over 70% of Global companies plan to implement gamification for customer retention and marketing purposes. The US Army is even on board and they have created a virtual army experience that is used when recruiting and training.
Gamification works because it gives users more control. Most people do not like to be forced to do anything and when they are in control, they have a more enjoyable experience. Any gamified system will provide more control for the user, leading to happier and more loyal individuals. The those that are used with gamification also are a reason for its success. People like to be rewarded and know where they are heading, so when progress bars or achievements are used, there are goals to attain and this enhances motivation and interaction. They also reinforce good behavior.
Everyone likes to feel a sense of achievement, whether in the workplace or while learning. With gamification, there are rewards that can be earned as steps are taken and achievements are met. This involvement and engaging action makes things much more enjoyable and also helps to make users feel like they have done something right.
Human nature has us always setting goals and competing with ourselves and others. Gamification helps with this through the use of progress bars and rewards systems. While users are not actually playing a game, they are moving closer to their ultimate goals and they can see their progress along the way.
These are just a few of the reasons gamification works and why it is currently being used by many learning institutions and companies around the world.