I just completed an online course from Wharton on Gamification via Coursera. It was amazing. If you want to learn more about it in detail, I would highly recommend you check out this six week course (it should be offered again in the Fall).

Why does Gamification matter? Why would you want to take a course on it when spell check doesn’t even recognize it as a word?

Here are my top three reasons following this week’s wrap up of the course. Again, if you want to learn more you should check out the course description (or send me a message on Twitter).

It Can Help You

Let’s face it. There are certain things you simply don’t want to do. Gamification applies game elements to these non-game activities to make them fun. Going to the gym. Eating healthier. Walking. Running. Any personal goal. You get the idea. Gamification, if done properly, can utilize data to apply common game elements like points, badges, leaderboards, and –most importantly– fun to transform these activities.

It Can Help Your Company

Extending the concept of activities you don’t necessarily want to do, but your company does, Gamification can also be applied to internal organizations and their customers. Internally, activities such as blogging for your company, engaging in social media on behalf of the company, speaking at events, or simply sharing knowledge are good examples of Gamification candidates. Externally, encouraging customers to perform desired activities like engaging on your website, purchasing more products or services, and social sharing are examples of activities that could be Gamified. Game elements may be similar or different to those mentioned above depending on the overall design.

It Can Help Achieve Social Good

Most importantly, Gamification can help achieve social good, moving beyond what is good for you or your company to what can benefit society as a whole. Recycling. Saving energy. Tackling teenage obesity. These are all examples of areas where Gamification can help drive changes in behavior. Again, the particular set of game elements may vary in order to be most effective.

An important note is that Gamification is not easy. While understanding game elements is relatively straightforward, designing a Gamified system requires a thorough understanding of business objectives/target behaviors, players, activity loops, and (of course) fun! Sound challenging? Take the course! 🙂


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