Gamification is much more than turning your content into a game to convey your message. Gamification is the application of aspects of game elements such as levels, point systems, achievements and leaderboards, branching exploration, puzzle solving, and other game design techniques and mechanics to convey your message through interactivity.
One of the main benefits of gamification is that it increases engagement. You can see how this works when you understand the psychology of motivation, behaviour and personality types (with relation to play styles). Understanding these concepts in turn helps a designer leverage people’s desires for competition, achievement, status, altruism, and collaboration, among other things.
Motivation is commonly divided into two subtypes: intrinsic (internal) and extrinsic (external).
Intrinsic motivation is when a person is motivated to do something because they get personal enjoyment from doing the task. Intrinsic motivation fosters enjoyment, engagement, and creativity when learning and performing tasks. For example, one might participate in a sport because they love to compete or complete a puzzle for feeling of achievement in solving it. This form of motivation is more difficult to use in gamification as people enjoy a wide variety of things for a wide variety of reasons. Trying to encompass as many of these reasons in your elearning as possible would be unfeasible, but adding different interactions to appeal to a number of differently motivated people will still add engagement value to your elearning.
Extrinsic motivation is when a person is motivated to do something for external rewards or to prevent punishment. Rewards can be tangible things like points, badges, trophies, and even the traditional completion certificate, or intangible things such as status from your leaderboard ranking. This form of motivation is easier to add to an elearning module, which will ideally promote intrinsic motivation to complete it.
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