Learning Gamification With Coursera

As business builders we’re always eager for new knowledge that can give us “the edge”. Gamification is a hot domain for such knowledge, and through Gamification Coursera you can get a great introduction to the topic.

The background – Gamification, what, how?

Games are the most natural context of media interaction for anyone born in the late 70′s and onwards. We all grew up with video games, computer games, browser games, etc… and somehow the world has made “games” the baseline for how to create user engagement. ”Gamification”, then, is about taking elements from games and transmutate them into UX elements in the DNA of the products and services we design.

Popular examples are the badges system in Foursquare, and the “progress bar” for your professional profile on LinkedIn – I’m sure you know of many more cases! I like to think of pure gamification, if there was ever such a thing, as “practical application of incentives from social and motivational psychology theory”.

I attended a great online course through the Coursera platform a few months back. It gave a good overview of where game elements can be effectively implemented, what those elements look like, and many more gems of knowledge. To give you a taste of the practical usefulness of the course I’ll share with you the six steps to create a game-inspired activity in your business:

“The 6 D’s of gamification design”

  1. DEFINE business objectives – just like any activity, you must decide the desired outcome, what it will mean to your business.
  2. DELINEATE target behaviors – you must specify and, where applicable, quantify what you want your market to do in response to your activity.
  3. DESCRIBE your players – using the term “players” sets the context of high engagement.
  4. DEVISE activity loops – how will one action of the “player” naturally lead him/her to the next one, etc?
  5. DON’T forget the fun! – where is the intrinsic motivation that keeps the player engaged, not only for the implicit or explicit rewards?
  6. DEPLOY the appropriate tools – pick from the toolbox to assemble the whole scenario (you’ll learn MANY tools in the course!).

Game elements: Avatars, Progression, Levels, Points, Rewards, Quests, Social Graph and Badges (Photo credit: dullhunk)

Now, a disclaimer: the Gamification course was open during last fall, and there’s no info yet on when it’ll be available again – but you can always pick up the book For The Win” by professor Kevin Werbach who taught the class. In any case, I urge you to keep your eyes on Coursera and on the exciting domain of Gamification!

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How familiar are you with the world of computer games? Have you tried looking at how you could borrow the elements that make games fun, and implement those elements in your own business? Please share in the comments!

 

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