The statistics are astonishing, as of January 2014, over 67 million people play League of Legends per month, 27 million per day, and over 7.5 million concurrently during peak hours. And if your good at it the prize money for winning the world championship might get you to question your chosen profession, it was $2.3m in 2014 and 2015. Playing an on-line game is part of daily life for many people.
This blog is “of course” not about League of Legends. In fact I have to admit I had never heard of it, just shows how far out of touch you can become with popular culture. It’s not even about the gaming industry which is said to be worth £3.9 bn to the UK economy, it’s about a growing and fascinating area of learning called gamification.
Gamification is the use of game mechanics (rules, design and tools) in a non game context to better engage and motivate learners to achieve a desired objective. There are two types, structured, where you are looking to propel a learner through content and reward them for the desired behaviours and content driven where the game is the content i.e. the learner is a character in the game and is required to undertake tasks that are in turn rewarded.
Gamification techniques – Game mechanics
Games are not of course all the same but they do have similar characteristics, these “techniques” can then be used in a non game context i.e. a learning context. The idea being that if they engage and motivate the gamer, they will do the same for the student. Games need some form of measurement to assess performance and a reward to act as an incentive. Below is a note of some of the measurements and rewards used in gaming but could be adapted for learning.
- Points – Used to keep score
- Badges – visual stamps that are awarded to users on certain achievements and are normally displayed in their header and profile page
- Levels – shows ranking and progress
- Leader boards – a high score that is displayed for all to see
- Rewards – not a badge but something tangible e.g. money….
You don’t need to spend millions developing a game to get the benefits from gamification, and its not all about beating others, here are a few tips.
- Set up a points system – identify the activities that will help you achieve your goal e.g. spend 2 hours each evening studying, 10 points. Answer 2 questions each evening, 20 points. Attempt the mock exam, 40 points. Score 50%, 80 points etc. Keep a running total of your points in a place that you can see when you study
- Levels – Only move onto the next chapter or session when you have the desired points
- Leader board – Keep a note of your highest score from the other subjects
- Rewards – The best part. Set up a series of rewards e.g. a night off, go for a run, have a glass of wine, bar of chocolate etc. Increase the rewards as gaining the points becomes more difficult. If you beat your leader board score, then your rewards can be even greater, maybe a day out shopping/at the football etc. Why not ask others to contribute to the reward, if I get to the top of my leader board how about you buy me dinner. You will be surprised how many people, friends and family will effectively sponsor you.
And finally tell your friends what you have done, “just eating a massive bar of chocolate which was my reward for scoring 80 points on my study game.”
Of course you might get fat doing this, but don’t worry there is another game that can help – it’s called weight watchers…..
Technology can help
As ever technology can help, check out this app HabitRPG – Click