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What is Gamification?
Using game mechanics to create incentives for people to learn or accomplish a goal is the primary purpose of gamification. If you've ever obsessed over getting stars from your favorite coffee shop or earned points for completing homework on time, you've participated in a form of gamification. Game design can help companies drive engagement through social media or encourage participation in company culture. Game elements applied to real-world activities have the power to increase engagement in a way that's fun and even more importantly, trackable.
It's not enough to simply create a game around your activity, although that process never hurts. Instead, understanding the critical elements of gamification strategy, choosing the right gamification platform, and a deep insight into how reward systems drive engagement are all essential parts of creating a successful gamification strategy.
EdX.org currently offers a course in Gamification theory from esteemed Georgia Tech, Accessible Gamification. It features game theory and game thinking for those of you not familiar with the basic principles, plus an introduction to game design elements. It will teach you how to understand the intrinsic motivation to create things like customer loyalty and essential reward systems, and how to make it all accessible so that your customer base has equal access regardless of circumstance. If you want to go beyond using gamification for engagement, the University of Michigan offers a course in Gameful Learning, a strategy that takes how gamification works and applies it to a school context to affect real change. You'll learn about gamification design in classroom and individual autonomy, driving student buy-in for learning principles and using game contexts from places like video games to create a productive learning environment for students.
Gamification for Real World Change
Game designers can gamify just about anything, but understanding how these elements work together to create motivation and engagement can help drive not only business goals but more significant accomplishments in real-world problems. Humans are social creatures, and it's precisely our desire to connect and compete that makes gamification so effective. When we use gamification in non-game contexts, we build momentum and drive that engagement. Examples of gamification are all around us with loyalty rewards, challenges, and competitions as we interact at school, work, and business. Game-like elements could help solve world problems or find solutions to education to equip students to operate in a new world of connectivity. Explore how gamification principles can help ignite your career in a variety of fields and work with edX to understand gamified learning and game thinking.