Gamification: Choice & Engagement


Missions, activities and scoreboards. These components make up the gamified learning experience in Alludo. But a game isn't a gimmick--it emphasizes scaffolding, collaboration, and self-directed learning. It rewards work, and provides users with concrete evidence of their progress.

We’re constantly working to improve our game-building capacity. Not just because it's at the core of our system, but because a better game means more effective learning. We’ll explore this idea in our next series, taking a closer look at how games drive engagement, collaboration, interactivity, and competition.

Choice drives engagement

According to a Neiman Report, the driving forces behind engagement with gamified learning are choice and reflection. “With games, we learn best from a well-designed guided experience. This means inhabiting virtual worlds that guide players to make choices, solve problems and reflect on the results. Players have to reflect because their choices affect whether they win or lose."

Interestingly, choice is also a cornerstone of adult learning. In a game, teachers can choose what content they’d like to explore first; how they’ll use this information to create evidence, and more importantly, translate it into a skill for their teaching toolbox. Teachers take on professional development opportunities to better themselves, and the framework of a game provides that extra push to complete a task. Games leverage intrinsic motivation for accomplishment, with extrinsic motivations like digital badges.

This quote from Cristina Muntean sums up this idea nicely: “Gamification desires to combine intrinsic motivation with extrinsic ones in order to raise motivation and engagement. Intrinsic motivations come from within, the user/actor decides whether to make an action or not [...] Extrinsic motivations, on the other hand, occur when something or someone determines the user to make an action; for example: classifications, levels, points, badges, awards, missions.”

Making time to engage

It's impossible to get engaged with learning if you lack the time for it. According to a study by Deloitte, employees can typically devote just 1% of their work week to professional development. In a 40-hour week, that works out to just 24 minutes per week -- or less than five minutes per day. In five minutes, you might be able to read two pages covering a specific topic; or you could spend it in a game, learning interactively; focusing on practice, rather than theory.

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