For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been studying a free online course in Gamification, delivered by Associate Professor Kevin Werbach of the University of Pennsylvania.
Do not let the word ‘gamification’ bamboozle you! It’s just a word with lots of syllables to describe the use of game elements and design techniques in non-game contexts. ‘Game’ does not mean just video or electronic games, it is inclusive of any type of activity with a constraint, a set of rules and an objective.
Gamification can be used in a variety of ways (eg. in a company context, it has application for sales and marketing), but for change agents, understanding what makes games appealing and compelling, and how these same principles can be applied to motivate, encourage participation, and drive learning and behaviour change, is a potentially powerful tool.
How could you get people to return to your site again and again? Could they be rewarded for contributions they make to your initiative? How could they encourage others to become involved?
If these questions interest you with respect to your work, then learning more about gamification via this course is a worthwhile investment of your time.
This opportunity to study one of the first university-level courses on gamification is made possible by Coursera, a company that partners with the top universities in the world to offer courses online for anyone to take, for free, so that professors can potentially teach millions of people worldwide.
The course syllabus – which looks at the definition, design and psychological aspects, and application of games, and identifies the potential pitfalls and limitations of gamification – covers the following topics:
1. What is Gamification?
3. Game Thinking
4. Game Elements
5. Psychology and Motivation (I)
6. Psychology and Motivation (II)
7. Gamification Design Framework
8. Design Choices
9. Enterprise Gamification
10. Social Good and Behavior Change
11. Critiques and Risks
12. Beyond the Basics