Building a gamification platform

I thought I would post this up here and see what peoples opinions are.

I am currently in the process of rewriting one of our frontline support agent inductions and as part of this I want to introduce a gamification element that runs through the full 10 days.  I have that part in hand but the problem I have is getting a platform to do this on, i.e. keep leader boards, awards badges, etc.

So our new LMS does not support anything like this (don't get me started on that) and the company will not pay for another system to be introduced.  So I thought I would build one myself.

My question is, what would you look for in this kind of platform from both a trainer/administrator and user point of view.  My initial thoughts are:

1.  User profiles - give the users the ability to register a profile that their scores, badges, etc are stored against

2.  Awards & Badges - a structure of awards and badges that can be awarded

3.  Leader boards - Some kind of system to store scores and display them on a leader board for a particular course

Our new Intranet has the ability for users to message each other, use forums, etc so there is no need for anything like this, it simply needs to facilitate the gamification elements of our courses.  How the points and badges are awarded are being defined outside of this project.

Is there anything you think I am missing from my list above, I'm sure there is but I'm still in the early planning stages so trying to think of every eventuality.

Thanks, Dave

13 Replies
David Price

Nicholas Ostheimer said:

Hi David,

What's the reason for the Gamification Elements?

Nicholas


So during one of our recent 3 day courses we ran a very basic gamification element in which we scored people on the answers they gave, etc.  We entered these onto a web based leaderboard which I built and we found that it created far more engagement.  As we train across multiple sites across the world it created competition between all of them, with each group wanting to "beat" the other site to the top of the leaderboard.

I spent 3 months in India delivering this course and was so shocked how something so simple could increase the amount of engagement I got from trainees.

So going forward we want to build on this success and improve it.  All of our frontline agents go through a 10-15 day induction but at the moment it is very boring and nearly 100% PowerPoint driven.  This is just one of the ways we plan to make it more engaging as we will be adding more self teach modules which this will be integral to.

I still need to work out some of the details but we are hoping it will drive engagement with our agents in that they will want to do better and take extra "bitesize" modules to upskill themselves.

Joshua Roberts

Fantastic idea, I already know that I'd be hooked during an Induction if this were it's structure.

Have you thought about any ideas for a levelling system?

The scheme looks like a solid plan, you've got a good backbone for it. I'd definitely look for a levelling system to be in place as I think it again increases the interaction with the scheme. You will get results with a scoring system but I feel as though there is an increased loyalty that comes with levels. Rewards would become translatable to experience points which would then push them through the various levels. Reach a certain level and you unlock new courses, materials or ways of accessing information.

David Price

@Joshua - no I haven't thought out how to do the levelling yet.  I just came across it in one of my books so thought I would include it as something to develop

@Nicholas - I've picked up bits 'n' pieces from all over the internet.  Read a number of PowerPoints on Slideshare and a whole host of blogs.  Also purchased a couple of Kindle books which are handy:

- Business Gamification for Dummies

- Gamestorming: A Playbook for Innovators

- The gamification of Learning and Instruction

I'm also attending the Coursera 10 week course next week.

Joshua Roberts

@David

A lot of the structure will come from that levelling system. With a solid backbone for the system you'll be able to incorporate it to every task.

By using the levelling system you will slowly start to guide users to complete certain actions, the possibilities are endless. Encouraging forum participation or material sharing becomes easier as does course completion. 

I'd highly recommend taking a look around a site such as www.boardgaming.com which gives a very simple level system that can also push you down specific routes. The whole site has been gamified and it's aim is simple. If you write board game reviews (as I do) then you score experience points on the 'Critic' skillset, you then unlock achievements and forum avatars for the critic pathway. You become recognised as a review writer purely from someone looking at your profile.

Of course those who comment and get involved in the tips/strategy section work on a separate skill tree unlocking achievements and avatars related to tips/strategy. This allows you to use one universal levelling system but with subsections and 'skill tress'.

Scott Hewitt

Hi Dave,

sounds like a very interesting project that you have started.

User Acquisition and keeping them connected

I'd suggest that you have a look at Gamesbrief - The Business of Games (http://www.gamesbrief.com/). There is a lot of information on this site and you'll pick up a lot on user acquisition, free to play models, forecasting and lot more. You'll find that there is a lot here that you can apply to the deployment of your project.

Graphics and Interface

Don't forget the crayons! A lot of your audience will be using mobile devices to play games so will have a high expectation of what the interface should look like and work like. Something that is often overlooked when people start working in game based learning/gamification.

This is a good article from Smashing Magazine (a great design website) - http://uxdesign.smashingmagazine.com/2012/04/26/gamification-ux-users-win-lose/

A few things I get people to think about in their Gamification projects

What did you like about the games? Starting thinking about the things that you like in games, this could be:

Music - Could you use music and mood?
Interface - Did it use a hub system to navigate through the menu? How did you navigate in game?
Reward system - Where you rewarded for your performance? Could you spend your currency?
Progression - How quickly could you move through the game - What did you do if you got stuck?
Knowledge acquisition - What was the learning curve?
Character recovery - Did your character had the ability to recovery and recuperate? Do you lock people out?
Feedback system - Did you get feedback from the game?
Ability to fail and learn - Could you try things repeatedly? What is the feedback and failure mechanics?

End of game - What happens at the end?

Trying to get to the end quickly - Don't forget that people will try to achieve the task quickly - what happens if you can complete your app/game in minutes?

I also look at team work, team scoring, group problem solving - easter eggs. Can you building this into the game scoring - extending the reach of the game mechanics?

Trends for 2014

I've just written article for Training Zone on gamification in their trends paper. There are also 2 other great articles on gamification in the same paper from other experts. You can download it here:

http://www.trainingzone.co.uk/tech-trends-2014

Always worth and looking at the work of http://janemcgonigal.com/ if you getting involved in games!

If you have any questions feel free to drop me a message.

Hope this helps,

Scott