Want to know how to avoid common gamification mistakes?
The proven way to reach your goals is to stay away from the downfalls and know what’s next. Below you will find 8 common gamification mistakes to steer clear of.
Overusing or abusing points, badges, and leaderboards
Slapping points, badges, and leaderboards on a venture does not a game make, says Karl Kapp, author of The Gamification of Learning and Instruction: Game-based Methods and Strategies for Training and Education. The points, badges, and leaderboards only have value if they mean something.
“If points are tied to performance and give you feedback on how well you perform, they can be very helpful,” he says. “If a badge is tied to meaningful mastery of content, the badge has meaning.” Leaderboards, he says, work well when they’re being used to chart the development of groups: departments, divisions or countries, for example.
Skimping on game design
You can’t get the advantages of gaming without building a game, says John Ferrara, game designer and author of Playful Design. Good design is integral to an enjoyable game experience.
“Think of it as a broader experience than just badges,” he adds.
Putting your goals ahead of player goals
According to Brian Burke of the Gartner Institute, the best (no mistakes) gamification occurs when players achieve a company’s goals by pursuing their own.
“The important thing is understanding the target audience and understanding the target audience’s goals,” he says.
“The greatest opportunities are where organizational goals and player goals are aligned, where there is overlap.”
Starting too big
Often, Kapp says, companies go overboard with their first attempt to design a game. He advises companies to concentrate on one small thing when designing a game to help with training.
For example, don’t try to teach the entire sales process using a game. “Just pick one thing,” he adds.
Forgetting the point
Sometimes an organization can get so involved in designing a game, that the original purpose of the game is lost.
“These games get way too unwieldy very quickly,” Kapp says. “You can never make winning the game contingent on chance. The game must be contingent on learning and mastering the content. “
Thinking that everyone enjoys games
“People automatically think that everybody loves games and that everybody will participate,” says Kapp.
Not so. Companies would be well-served to offer an array of training materials, rather than gamifying all training.
For example, PepBoys used a game to teach policy to its staffers, but the employees could opt out of the game and answer a question instead.
Making assumptions about “gamers”
Just as companies shouldn’t assume everyone loves games, they also should not target one demographic only. Sure, lots of millennials grew up with games, but not every young person enjoys them, nor does every Boomer dislike them.
“It’s not age-dependent,” says Kapp. “It’s not age-bound and universal.”
Thinking games are the magic bullet
Games are not the way to teach every skill. Kapp believes any company considering gamification should first consider if there is another way to effectively convey the information that needs to be taught.
Or, as Burke says, “Gamification is not some kind of magical elixir that can solve every problem.”
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