Gamification: taking games beyond leisure
Competitiveness, socialization and fun , are some of the most important elements that characterize the games; whether they are tabletop, electronic or traditional.
All of them end up generating players' feelings of involvement and engagement that considerably improve the performance of the players in different tasks that surround the game; and all, also, are present in an increasingly popular phenomenon: the gamification .
What is gamification?
The concept of "gamification" is born from the idea of achieving good results in work dynamics, implementing mechanics and techniques typical of games in contexts outside of them (Werbach & Hunter, 2012). It is important to note that, in gamification, the game is not about the purpose, but rather it is the means through which we managed to increase the levels of concentration and involvement in the tasks in which this process is applied.
For example, gamification can be used in the workplace to increase the levels of involvement of workers in the achievement of organizational goals, or in the field of education with the aim of achieving a more fun educational process that allows the students stay more time focused on study tasks (Brull & Finlayson, 2016).
In addition to the uses in these areas, a line of research is recently being developed with the premise of implementing these techniques and methodologies in medical contexts; is generating very interesting results. For example, a study carried out by AlMarshedi, Wills and Ranchhod (2016) served to reinforce the idea that to make a gamified frame of reference in the self-management of chronic diseases, such as diabetes, improves the results obtained during this process, since it is carried out in a way, worth the expression, more conscientious .
Elements of gamification
There are a large number of elements for gamification, and new techniques and new methodologies are constantly emerging , since it is a relatively young research and development field (officially).
Among all the elements to gamify content, they stand out for their extensive use and for their good results, such as rewards mechanics, progression bars, rankings or achievements and social functions such as the inclusion of avatars in forums and chats.
In the case of rewards principles, thanks to them, it is possible to encourage and reward users when they perform actions that interest us or when their results in different tasks are satisfactory.
This mechanics has great utility because in contexts, for example, educational, they act as reinforcers of shared knowledge behaviors, so that some users, to get more prizes, spend more time than they would normally use in the creation of content for the group.
Progress bars, rankings and achievements
Implement progression bars, rankings and achievements in gamification helps create a competitive model that produces high levels of motivation towards short-term objectives, usually more powerful than prizes.
In group contexts, in addition, this competitive model is constantly fed back and reinforced by the performance of all the participants involved, which produces repeated behaviors to improve the results themselves with the aim of being higher in the ranking or achieving achievements than others. do not have.
By last, The social functions of gamification are a useful catalyst of the previous ones , especially in online educational contexts.
These social functions such as chats or forums allow members to interact based on personal needs; some use them to publish their personal achievements, causing others to be challenged and persevere in their tasks, and others use them to exchange impressions, experiences or to ask for help.
Types of players in gamification
There are different player profiles depending on the characteristics of your personality and the same happens in the case of gamification. It is very important to know the different existing profiles as it can be of great help at the time of gamification some type of content, course or task, to make it closer and more attractive to the audience that is offered.
Erroneously, in the gamification, the theory of the different profiles of players is usually used. Batle (nineteen ninety six).Although the content of this theory is relatively extrapolated to the field of gamification, making some qualifications, its use is usually extracted from this theory, which ends up leading to errors, since this list of types of players focuses specifically to video game users.
In response to this bias, Amy Jo Kim (2012) published on its website a model similar to that of Batle (1996) adapted to gamification and serious games processes. This model includes four types of typical players:
Player profile moved by needs to compete with others , doing a lot of social behavior and self-improvement. Sometimes, this type of motivation may not be entirely efficient because it can generate situations of conflict or too stressful.
Collaboration and collective actions are useful ways to socialize . These profiles enjoy the feeling of "winning together" and are a great external support for users who need support.
The exploration of content, people, tools and worlds can be a rich and rewarding activity . People who enjoy exploring are motivated by information, access and knowledge.
This profile is strongly dedicated to self-expression with the aim of improving their skills and abilities by giving free rein to their creativity.
Although it seems simple, this model is quite complex, since these four types of user form four axes through which the type of each player can be described in greater detail using what the author calls "Social Engagement Verbs ", which capture different motivational patterns located between two of the types mentioned above.
As we have seen, gamification is a process that is currently seeing its boom period . It offers great possibilities in terms of education and the world of work and, in addition, promises great advances and advantages in the field of health and care.
However, there is still a long way to go and only the judge will be in charge of demonstrating whether the use of these techniques and methodologies are the key to the education and well-being of the "Nativos Digitales" generation.
- AlMarshedi, A., Wills, G., & Ranchhod, A. (2016). Gamifying Self-Management of Chronic Illnesses: A Mixed-Methods Study. JMIR Serious Games, 4 (2), e14.
- Bartle, R. (1996). Hearts, Clubs, Diamonds, Spades: Players Who Suit MUDs. Journal of MUD Research 1, 1.
- Brull S., Finlayson S. (2016). Importance of Gamification in Increasing Learning. J Contin Educ Nurs. 47 (8), pp. 372 - 375
- Werbach, K and Hunter, D. (2012). For the Win: How Game Thinking Can Revolutionize Your Business. Philadelphia, PA: Wharton Digital Press.