Strategies for Meaningful Gamification


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These are the slides from a talk I gave at the Meaningful Play conference at 2012. The full paper behind the slides can be found at

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  • If there is no interest in the task, then there is little internal motivation.
  • Strategies for Meaningful Gamification

    1. 1. Strategies for Meaningful Gamification: Concepts behind Transformative Play and Participatory Museums Scott Nicholson @snicholson Syracuse University School of Information Studies Because Play Matters game lab
    2. 2. Overview• Meaningful Gamification• Concepts of Play• Participatory Museum• Strategies for Meaningful Gamification @snicholson
    3. 3. Gamification• “The use of game design elements in non- game contexts” (Deterding et al, 2011, p. 1)• Most common game design elements = scoring systems @snicholson
    4. 4. BLAP Gamification• Badges• Levels & Leaderboards• Achievements• Points @snicholson
    5. 5. The Secret of External Rewards• “Once you start giving someone a reward, you have to keep her in that reward loop forever.” – Zichermann & Cunningham, Gamification by Design.• Fine for skill building or short-term events• Problematic for long-term behavioral change @snicholson
    6. 6. Meaningful Gamification Theoretical Framework• Self-Determination Theory / Organismic Integration Theory• Situational Relevance• Universal Design for Learning• Player-Created Content• User-Centered Design• @snicholson
    7. 7. @snicholson CC Canadian Coast Guard on Flickr
    8. 8. Meaningful Gamification• The use of user-centered game design elements in non-game contexts – Instead of organization-centered• Use rewards sparingly if at all• Focus on helping user find meaning in non-game context through game elements• Allow user to set goals and create their own experience @snicholson
    9. 9. Solving for Play• Game = Play + Goals + Structure• Game – Play = Goals + Structure = BLAP Gamification• Play = Game – (Goals + Structure) Think about the PLAY and PLAYer @snicholson
    10. 10. What is Play?• Features instead of definition• Common features –Voluntary –Exploration / Improvisation –Constraints• Catalyst for learning @snicholson
    11. 11. Stages of Play (Eberle)• Anticipation• Surprise• Pleasure• Understanding• Strength• Poise• Cycle -> Transformative @snicholson
    12. 12. TransformationJesse Schell: Serious Games “Transformative Games” @snicholson
    13. 13. Transformative• Transformative Gamification – The use of transformative game design elements in non-game contexts• Transformative Play• “Transformative Learning” @snicholson
    14. 14. Transformative Learning (Mezirow)• Breaking Boundary Structures –Disorienting experience –Recognition of others –Create a plan –Acquire new skills / knowledge –Raise self-confidence @snicholson
    15. 15. Ludic Learning Spaces (Kolb & Kolb)• "free and safe space that provides the opportunity for individuals to play with their potentials and ultimately commit themselves to learn, develop, and grow" (2010, 27)• Play + Constraints @snicholson
    16. 16. Participatory Museums @snicholson
    17. 17. Adult Play Concepts from Participatory Museums• Roleplay• Experimentation• Collaboration – Synchronous vs. Asynchronous• Personalized experience – Public vs. Private choices• Optional @snicholson
    18. 18. Challenges from Science Museum Design• Balance open play with directions• Immediate apprehendability• Connection of abstractions to real world• Play spaces to engage instead of exhibits to observe @snicholson
    19. 19. Strategies for Meaningful Gamification• Focus on information-based play elements – Optional (JP Dyson) – Improvisation/Exploration within constraints – Play vs. Games – Example: Removing rewards from summer reading programs @snicholson
    20. 20. Strategies for Meaningful Gamification• Create transformative opportunities through participatory activities – Engagement on both intellectual and emotional level – Facilitate play activities and reflection – Roleplay activities with consequences – Create and share content, goals with others – Example: Nike +, SCVNGR @snicholson
    21. 21. Strategies for Meaningful Gamification• Thinking in three dimensions (Eberle) – How would the gamification system work in the physical space? – Creating active play instead of passive observation – Using real-life metaphors – Creating rings of activities instead of lists – Create spaces for social engagement – Example: Online classroom @snicholson
    22. 22. Summary• Facilitate user making meaningful connections• Focus on engaging play and games instead of rewards and points• Reflection and sharing is as important as doing• Create spaces for voluntary exploration @snicholson
    23. 23. For More Information Because Play Matters game lab http://becauseplaymatters.com @snicholson