What is a gamification approach?
If you’ve ever found learning was easier when you were having fun, you were likely experiencing some type of gamification.
Gamification approaches use game design techniques to motivate participants towards a specific outcome, such as increased knowledge or behaviour change.
Gamification is all about making learning, reflecting, and changing attitudes and behaviours less threatening and more enjoyable.
Key elements in gamification include things like: story or narrative, immediate feedback, ever-increasing challenges, rewards and progress indicators, social connection (like group play), and player control.
Why use a gamification approach to engage men?
Simply put, learning through play aligns with our instincts as humans.
Gamification approaches can be particularly effective when engaging men because it makes difficult concepts less threatening and more enjoyable.
What are the most promising ways to use a gamification approach?
Games that include collaboration (like a multi-user or chat-based game) can help bond men around a common cause, like positive behaviour change. This is most effective when the game is built around a story or narrative they can collectively engage with.
Make sure game-players get immediate feedback. Instant feedback is satisfying for anyone, but it can also be an important way of encouraging desired behaviours.
Keep your potential users in mind when you design your game. Ideally, you should be collaborating closely with your target audience throughout the process.
Don’t forget the fun factor! Games that balance learning with fun create ideal cognitive conditions.
What is an example of putting a gamification approach into practice?
Campus Craft is a simulation video game that was designed for, and piloted among, American university students. Its goal was to prevent sexual assault by engaging players in prevention education around consent negotiation, binge drinking, and stress management. Players were tasked with solving a mystery. In the process, they participated in health-related conversations (like discussions about consensual sex, impact of drinking on sexual behaviour, etc.), which in turn affected the game development.
Researchers studying participants of Campus Craft found that it decreased rape myths while increasing knowledge related to sexual assault prevention.
What else should I know before implementing gamification approaches?
Not surprisingly, gamification has mainly targeted youth populations; however, making learning fun and engaging is just as effective with adults. We need to try more gamification approaches for grown-ups, particularly in workplace settings and other places men gather.
Read more about gamification approaches:
In addition to the Shift research reports listed earlier, the following resources offer further information on gamification approaches:
- Interaction Design Foundation – Gamification
- True Education Partnerships – Gamification in Education: What is it and how can you use it?
- Change Conversations – How to Use Gamification for Social Change