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Drive Behavioral Change

Articles / 06 Apr 2021

How do you design meaningful learning experiences?


When approaching gamification, we’re quick to think a badge, a leaderboard, and points are enough. There are multiple cautionary tales of unsuccessful gamified experiences because we fail to understand our learners’ real motivation.


If you are considering gamifying your learning path, you might benefit from knowing there’s an entire science behind meaningful, gamified experiences. We’ve selected three tips to get you started.


#1 – Select meaningful motivators for everyone

The rewards and emotional responses need to be meaningful to form new habits and drive behavioral change successfully. Refer to our previous article about player types to learn more about the different motivators. Identify key people in your organization who might fit the player profiles and bring them aboard in your ideation process.


#2 – Understand the mechanics behind gamified experiences

When designing learning experiences, we need to consider three fundamental mechanics – the setup, the rules, and the progression. These need to be defined beforehand and should not change during the experience. Otherwise, you will leave your users confused.


The setup is essentially your entire learning environment: who, how, when, and with what? Questions you may consider are if it’s going to be an individual experience, a group experience, or an option of either?


The rules are inherent to any game, but even more so to a gamified learning experience. If there’s unclarity, players will be frustrated and lose their motivation. Which actions are encouraged, and which activities should be limited? How are pressure and constraints applied to create a balanced sense of urgency and progression?


Finally, the progression mechanics describe how to move forward and which requirements to attain. This part is where motivators and reinforcements come into play. If we design this aspect successfully, the likelihood of creating repeating behaviors and habits is high.


#3 – Make it fun

If something is fun, our brains will engage. And if something is fun, we’re likely to respond to it emotionally and keep engaging. Thus, it is again vital to engage all player types in your organization.


Consider how you can cater to different types of positive emotions. A positive feeling doesn’t just have to be laughing at something, but it can be a surprise, a sense of control, achievements, winning, and so on. The hard part here is getting everyone on board. For example, compare how tasks without a time constraint create a different emotional response than those having one.


In our next article, we’ll highlight the science and research behind NAPCON Games!





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