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The Intrinsic Motivation RAMP for Gamification


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Based on my original blog post, the Intrinsic Motivation RAMP is a framework to help you better understand the basics of motivation and their places in gamification. The original post can be found here -

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The Intrinsic Motivation RAMP for Gamification

  1. 1. THE INTRINSIC MOTIVATION RAMP FOR GAMIFICATION Andrzej Marczewski’s Core Principles of Gamification Series
  2. 2. A lot of talk in gamification turns to the relative values of Extrinsic rewards vs Intrinsic Motivation. It often seems like a conversation about good and evil. I have been guilty of this many times in the past! The truth is that both have their place, but intrinsic motivation is where longevity and true engagement will come from. This presentation is based on my original blog post found here - framework/the-intrinsic-motivation-ramp/
  3. 3. DefinitionDefining Motivation
  4. 4. Defining Motivation • Intrinsic motivation is defined by researchers Edward Deci and Richard Ryan as “the doing of an activity for its inherent satisfactions rather than for some separable consequence”1. • They identify three intrinsic motivators: competence (or mastery), autonomy and relatedness, forming the basis of their Self-Determination Theory 2. • Additionally we will also consider Purpose as a fourth motivational consideration 3. • In contrast, extrinsic motivation is “a construct that pertains whenever an activity is done in order to attain some separable outcome” 1. • In terms of gamification, this would be considered any reward that was given to a user as an incentive to do something, for example, badges. 1. Ryan, R.M. and Deci, E.L. Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivations: Classic Definitions and New Directions. Contemporary educational psychology 25, 1 (2000), 54–67. 2. Ryan, Richard M., and Edward L. Deci. "Self-determination theory and the facilitation of intrinsic motivation, social development, and well- being." American Psychologist 55.1 (2000): 68-78.
  5. 5. Relatedness, Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose Defining the Parts of the RAMP
  6. 6. Relatedness • Relatedness is the desire to be connected to others. In gamification, social status and connections that come from communities satisfy this desire. I feel this is the glue that holds gamification together and elevates a gamified system above being just another gimmick. After the badges become boring due to habituation and the points are meaningless – having a community that enjoys their interactions with each other becomes the key to retaining their engagement and loyalty. • The sense of belonging and connectedness to other people is, in my mind, underrated. When you feel that you are part of a community and create relationships - that sense of community is much stronger than any digital reward you might get from posting an article to twitter! • Within the enterprise, this can be found in internal social networks as well as in the office. I mentioned social status as well. This may seem like an external force and to a certain extent, it is. However, status can be a very personal thing. Feeling that others value you, your input or your experience is very motivating. You do not need a leaderboard to feel that, you need to have connections with people and some way to get those people talking, sharing, and giving each other feedback. • Relatedness is the key to encourage participation from Socialiser User Types.
  7. 7. Autonomy • Autonomy can have multiple meanings, but the core concept that I consider in gamification is that of freedom or agency. Most people do not like to feel that they are being controlled or stifled. Without some level of freedom, you will struggle to cultivate innovation and creativity. • Google recognised this when they implemented their 80/20 rule. Their employees were encouraged to spend 20% of their time working on their own projects. This led to some of their most important innovations, Gmail and Google News being two well-known graduates of this way of thinking! • You could also look at this in terms of meaningful choices. When teaching a new topic or idea, are you giving the user the freedom to choose how they learn for instance? Are they able to choose the path that best suits their needs or learning style or are they forced to do it one way or no way? • Giving users a level of autonomy will help them to feel that they have at least some control of what they are doing. For example, in an enterprise situation, it is the difference between micromanagement and leaving your employees to get on with their job. It shows them that they are trusted and can not only give you happier people but may also surface some great innovation. • This is what motivates Free Spirit User Types to engage.
  8. 8. Mastery • Mastery is the process of becoming skilled at an activity and eventually mastering it – becoming an expert. It is important to us that we feel our skill is increasing in direct proportion to the level of challenge. If this is perfectly balanced, it is often referred to as Flow, discussed later. • The path to mastery is an important concept seen in most if not all video games. These days, rather than being given a manual to read, you are guided through training levels that spoon- feed you everything that you need to know in order to master the game. This early phase is referred to as onboarding. The challenge is increased as your level of skill increases. Once you are out of the training levels, this does not cease. The game continues to get harder as you get better at it, but it offers less and less handholding. • In an enterprise situation, it is important to consider that if you do not continue to challenge employees, they will begin to feel less motivated. In the same way, if you do not encourage them to improve or even change their skills in ways that line up with their own desires, over time you will see de-motivation. • This is what drives the Achiever User Type
  9. 9. Purpose • First, we will tackle Purpose. When I speak about purpose in RAMP, I am specifically talking about altruistic purpose. This is the desire to help others in some way 1. This is the type of purpose we are speaking of in the Philanthropist User Type. • The other type of purpose is meaningful purpose. This is more a desire to understand the meaning of what you are doing and our significance in the general scheme of things 2. This type of purpose is experienced by all use types, it is not specific to one. • In the enterprise, you can implement this in a few ways. The first is giving people the ability to provide meaningful help to others. This links in well with relatedness when you look at internal social networks. Research has shown that altruistic actions can make people feel good about themselves – described often as a warm glow. 1. Sigmund, Karl, and Christoph Hauert. "Altruism." Current Biology 12.8 (2002), R270-272 2. Grant, Adam M. "The significance of task significance: Job performance effects, relational mechanisms, and boundary conditions." Journal of Applied Psychology 93.1 (2008): 108-24.
  10. 10. The Intrinsic Motivation RAMP The Final Picture
  11. 11. The RAMP Model
  12. 12. Layers of Motivation Where RAMP fits in with motivation in general
  13. 13. For the purposes of gamification, I break these down into three distinct layers. These layers can help us to understand how and why certain types of gamification may or may not work. Base Physiological needs include air, water, sleep and procreation. Safety is more about securing yourself and your family. Belonging relates to our need to be with others: fellowship, family, sexual intimacy etc. Esteem covers less primal needs, achievement, respect, confidence and the like. With self- actualisation, we see our needs to solve problems, be creative and be good people. Most go to work for one reason, to earn money. Money leads to security. It provides you shelter, it keeps your family safe, it provides food for you all. Before money, jobs, and the like, this was all much more primal. You secured your family by physically protecting them. You hunted for food and you built shelters. For most, this is now taken care of by earning money. We do not need to hunt for food or build huts for shelter; we now buy all of those things. Emotional Once our base needs and motivations are satisfied, we can focus on the other more emotional motivations. I describe these as our need for relatedness, autonomy, mastery and purpose (RAMP). Trivial A lot of gamification efforts sit in this area – often referred to as PBL gamification (Points, Badges and Leaderboards). They have their place, but for now, it is enough to understand that these types of incentives are only truly effective when the first two layers of motivation and needs are satisfied. Three Layers of Motivation
  14. 14. Get in Touch @daverage If you found this interesting and want to know more, get in touch. Check out my book, Even Ninja Monkeys Like to Play on Amazon or my Website for even more content on player types, motivation and gamification!