Regarding the scaffolding phase, one thing to note is that more often than not, it requires the exact same (or very similar) actions on a regular/daily basis, and the Gamification designer must answer the question, “why would my users come back over and over again for the same actions?”
Once you understand the intrinsic and extrinsic trigger/action/reward loops, you can deliver them via the experience.
Keep note that usually extrinsic rewards are better at attracting people to participate in the first place (Discovery and Onboarding), but towards the Scaffolding and EndGame, you want to transition to intrinsic motivation as much as possible.
This post was written by contributing writer Erik van Mechelen.
Collect till you can’t anymore
There’s something about collecting things that is an essential part of the human experience.
It’s in our nature.
We organized in groups to hunt and gather. Okay, we needed to survive.
But now we continue to collect.
Sure, there’s a counter-movement (minimalism), but even minimalists are in the business of collecting, often collecting experiences or relationships or something else they consider more valuable than material goods.
We collect stamps, rocks, feathers, books, ideas, friends, relationships, experiences. There’s something about it that we can’t avoid. Collecting can be about ownership and possession, or wealth and status, but however defined, you know it when you see it.
There’s a downside to collecting too much (perhaps). We all laugh or shake our heads when we see true hoarders in action, or people trampling one another on Black Friday. This could be some deranged form of the collecting mindset gone astray.
But it’s hard to make a case against the value of collections, whether inherent to themselves or to produce time savings or personalization.
Collections can be added to experiences, like my biology teacher in high school who had us collect 20 insects during our insect study (yes, it felt like Pokemon in real life). I get the same feeling as I collect knowledge and ideas from lectures and edutainment on YouTube.
When you interview for a job, the hiring manager will ask you for a collection of your experiences to discover if you have the skills and mindset to do the job and fit the culture of their company.
At bottom, life is a collection of experiences. Our past and present and future experiences coalesce to make a life. Collections matter.
This is a follow-up to last week’s post on What are Learning Games. One of the most promising applications of gamification is to enhance the learning experiences of children. The teaching tools of today are no longer limited to chalkboards, whiteboards, flashcards, textbooks and worksheets. Games offer kids more interactive options.
“There is no commandment which says, thou shall not have fun,” says one YouTuber who discussed the use of games for educational purposes. They can enrich a child’s understanding of information rather effortlessly. And with games, learning feels effortless, as opposed to being an aggravating chore.
But be forewarned. It is important to choose your educational game wisely. Just because it is packaged as a learning tool, does not automatically justify its worth. David Kleeman President of the American Center for Children and Media sums this up well as he says:
“I love and support the idea of tapping the engagement and strategic thinking of game play, but I’ve also seen very poor examples that are little more than gussied-up rote learning,”
With that said, here is my list of Top Ten Learning Games for Kids. They range from the teaching of simple and intermediate academics to more complex real life skills.
Learning Game #1: Dragon Box
Why wait until middle school to start learning Algebra? While some students excel in this subject, it is certainly not everyone’s favorite. Many kids learn to solve equations very mechanically without really understanding the underlying concepts at work.
In Dragon Box visual elements are used to represent the idea of balancing two sides within a closed system. The goal is to eliminate all unnecessary elements to get the box all by itself. The game progresses to higher levels which more closely approximates the types of equations that kids will eventually face in school.
I remember for my childhood (yes, even as an Asian kid), I hated math. It was the most annoying and boring subject. It was the epitome of “school work,” and it was what many parents cared about the most. I also know A LOT of other kids thought like me too.
The amazing thing about Dragon Box is that little kids LOVE to play it without knowing that they are solving complex math. There has been many case studies where 4+ year olds are mastering and solving thousands of middle school Algebra problems!
This is the epitome of a learning game – making something boring fun and exciting!
Learning Game #2: Mind Snacks
Mind Snacks is an interactive app that teaches words and phrases in different languages such as Spanish, Chinese, French, German and Japanese. There is also the option to choose SAT vocabulary. Instead of learning through rote memorization and repetition, fun touch screen games are used.
Most kids don’t like being confined to a desk with a textbook. But with Mind Snacks, they can learn foreign words and phrases in informal settings, such as waiting in line, or even during a long car trip.
Childhood is the best time to learn new languages. The earlier this is done, the better. With games like Mind Snacks, kids can optimize this valuable window of opportunity instead of waiting until middle school or even high school.
By the way, I must add that I have been playing this game for a while to learn Spanish myself, and it is by far the most fun learning experience I have had towards Spanish (comparable to playing Diablo III in Spanish).
The difference to this and Duolingo, is that Duolingo gamifies the Meta-game towards language learning, where Mind Snacks make the learning part itself fun!
Learning Game #3: DIY.org
Projects like baking a cake, knitting a scarf, planting a garden or even making toys can give kids an immense sense of Development & Accomplishment (Core Drive#2) and Empowerment of Creativity & Feedback. They also learn that not everything of value needs to be store bought, especially when they can use their own abilities to create these things.
Do it yourself projects teach problem solving skills, artistic sensibilities, resourcefulness and independence. They also help bring out the creativity that is inherent in all of us.
The site, DIY.org has an app called DIY – Get Skills, Be Awesome. Kids can showcase their creations and even share them in a larger community. This social aspect allows them to receive validation from peers their own age, not just from mom and dad (Core Drives #3 and #5)
Learning Game #4: Code Spells
More parents are realizing how important it is for kids to learn how to code, especially since this is a highly marketable skill. However, programming is not offered as a core subject in school for small children yet. But with a game like Code Spells, writing code becomes a fun pastime, not an extra learning course.
Players must help gnome characters perform certain tasks by using magic. But the spells they use need to be written in Java code.
A study on 40 girls (ages 10-12), showed that learning code was actually quite effortless due to this game. And some of the subjects even expressed disappointment that the game was over too soon. A highly addictive experience combined with immense learning equates to a fabulous learning game indeed!
I remember when I took my first computer class in Visual Basic, it was so boring and dull that I gave up on it quickly for the exciting topic of Economics (that eventually disappointed me), which led to a great regret for me because now being a professional in the tech world, I truly wished I learned more programming when I was younger. Hopefully this can prevent other kids from having the same regret later (and who knows, maybe it’s not too late for me!)
Learning Game #5: Scribble Naughts
Scribble Naughts is a media creation game for kids around ages 8-11 which teaches creative problem solving skills through imaginative scenarios that involve logic, spelling and creativity.
Players are given a particular challenge to solve. And they can do this by summoning just about anything they can think of, by typing it into a field.
Imaginations can run wild with all the different possibilities that can be brought to life. Players can even create new puzzles that can be shared with others (Core Drive #3 Empowerment of Creativity and Feedback).
If the super hero Green Lantern had played this game growing up, he would have eliminated his biggest weakness – lack of spontaneous creativity.
Learning Game #6 Dora’s Cooking Club
Dora’s Cooking Club is for ages 4-6. Most younger kids love Dora. So using this character to inspire learning in children is already a huge plus.
Kids learn about numbers, fractions, shapes and Spanish as they help Dora and her grandmother prepare a delicious Mexican meal.
Children are likely to play this game voluntarily as opposed to doing exercises in a workbook.
Unfortunately, this is a bit out of my league…I haven’t found the strength in me to master this game and be addictively edutained for months.
Learning Game #7. Game Star Mechanic
An important life skill (which is difficult to teach) is to come up with a good, creative idea and develop it through a process of logical steps.
With Game Star Mechanic, kids are given the opportunity to hone this ability by making their own games and sharing them with others. According to their site, their community has over 250,000 designers whose games have been played over 5 million times. Game Star Mechanic is even being used by teachers in classroom settings to fulfill STEM requirements.
If I had played this game on game design growing up, I would have become an even stronger Gamification Expert (assuming that this is physically possible).
Learning Game #8: SimCity
SimCity is one of the original awesome Learning/Productive/Serious Games in the industry that really got the hearts and minds of players. Eventually, you learn that it also gets the brains of players.
The makers of SimCity have come out with educational version (Sim City EDU) to fulfill classroom STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) requirements. Kids are asked to build virtual cities as they learn about socio-economic development, urban planning and environmental management.
This holistic framework helps kids develop big picture thinking styles where they learn how specific actions affect a larger system such as an entire city.
I wasn’t a big fan of this game when I was younger (it’s because I messed up the water piping and sewage system in my city the first time playing and gave up), but one of my best friends who loved this game ended up being an Architect – graduating from Architecture Association, one of the top architectural universities in the world.
Learning Game #9: Mindblown Life
Teaching money management skills often takes the form of stern lecturing between parents and their young adult children.
Mindblown Life is a game that is designed to teach money management skills to teens. Multiple players participate and interact with one another as they try to balance their professional and personal lives to avoid overspending (Core Drive #8: Loss and Avoidance).
Cofounder, Tracy Moore spoke to Mashable and said, “We’re at an unsustainable point in financial literacy…If we don’t do something now, the tomorrow that exists will be dramatically different from the one we imagined and the one we want.”
Albeit, money management is particularly critical in today’s economy. However, it is something that is best learned through the feel of managing your own money (Core Drive #4: Ownership & Possession). Mindblown Life is therefore a wonderful tool to help impart these life lessons.
Learning Game #10: The Misadventures of PB Winterbottom
Perhaps the most striking characteristic is the look and feel of the game, which is done in stunning black and white graphics. According to Destructoid.com, “All of the art is downright beautiful to look at…there’s a simple elegance to every detail in the levels and story frames that draws you in.”
The player moves through the game as a pie stealing character named PB Winterbottom. The player’s strategies can involve cloning him or even manipulating time.
Critical thinking and problem solving skills can indeed be cultivated effortlessly through imaginative and immersive digital activities such as Misadventures. This is like the kid version of “Portal,” where an understanding of physics (and the fun places where you can break the laws of physics!) become engaging and critical to solving the problems.
Conclusion on Learning Games
Most people think of games as being strictly recreational. But this does not necessarily have to be the case. Games can help kids of all ages master learning feats without the struggle and frustration that is often felt in formal learning contexts. When designed properly, they can boost feelings of confidence, accomplishment (Core Drive #2) and self efficacy. They offer excellent opportunities for players to tap into enormous reserves of creativity and problem solving abilities. And best of all, they can be incredibly enjoyable.
(Thanks to Christine Yee for tremendously helping me on this post)
This post was recently updated to reflect the 10 best educational apps for adults that use Gamification for 2018
Get ready to learn, the fun way! We have scoured the internet and app stores to find the 10 best educational apps that use Gamification for adults. See how companies and organizations are making learning languages, music, coding, art, history, and more fun and exciting for everyone!
10. TEDEd – gamified educational app to create actionable video lessons
How it works: TEDEd creates amazing, fun, entertaining educational videos for all ages to enjoy. In addition to their videos, they’ve created a web app that allows users to create video lessons that are actionable. Choose a video, add a description, add a quiz (multiple choice or open-ended), and prompt some discussion.
How it works: Khan Academy is an educational platform where students can learn math, science, computer programming, history, and more. What makes Khan Academy standout is their mission: they aim to provide this education to everyone around the world (currently in 36 languages) completely for free forever.
They’ve accomplished some amazing results:
Students who complete 60% of their grade-level math on Khan Academy experience 1.8 times their expected growth on the NWEA MAP Test, a popular assessment test.
Student use of Khan Academy correlates with score gains on standardized achievement tests.
20 hours of practice is associated with a 115-point average score increase from the PSAT/NMSQT to the SAT, nearly double the average gain of students who do not practice on Official SAT Practice.
Why it works:
Core Drive 1: Epic Meaning & Calling: Khan Academy truly utilizes CD1 to motivate donors, teachers, and volunteers on its quest to accomplish its mission. Because of their mission to provide free education to everyone forever, they’ve gotten companies that have donated over $10,000,000 each.
How it works: Coursera is an online learning platform that provides universal access to the world’s best education from top universities. Universities add their courses onto the platform and students can use Coursera to pay for and take a course.
How it works: Udemy is an online platform that allows educators to upload courses and for students to purchase these courses and learn online. Anyone from anywhere in the world can upload a course: you can learn anything from coding, to languages, to fashion, and even parenting.
Why it works:
Core Drive 2: Development & Accomplishment: on the student-side of the platform, Udemy utilizes progress bars to indicate the student’s progress and to encourage completion of a course. They also dangle a trophy at the end of the course as their reward for completing it.
Core Drive 3: Empowerment of Creativity & Feedback: Udemy truly excels on the teach-side of the platform. Anyone from anywhere in the world can create their own online course. They have the complete creative freedom to choose any topic and use their video editing skills to make their course stand out.
6. Tinycards – gamified educational app for learning with flashcards
How it works: Tinycards (by Duolingo) makes learning with boring old flash cards actually fun and enjoyable through the use of Gamification. Pick a subject: language, science, movies, and start to learn with flash cards.
Why it works:
Core Drive 2: Development & Accomplishment: Tinycards makes boring old flash cards fun by adding a gamified layer on top of them. As you progress through a deck of cards, your progress bar fills up and you earn accomplishments.
5. Blinkist – gamified educational app for reading non-fiction books in just 15 minutes!
How it works: Blinkist is for the professional on the go, the person that is super busy, but that desperately wants to carve out a little bit of time to learn something new. Blinkist summarizes over 2,000 non-fiction books to give you content that you can easily digest in 15 minutes.
Why it works:
Core Drive 2: Development & Accomplishment: Blinkist isn’t using a bunch of fancy avatars or leveling up systems; instead, it focuses on making the user feel incredibly smart and effective. Blinkist is a master at utilizing CD2 to help its users read more, learn more, and become a more educated person
4. Memrise – gamified educational app to learn a language through locals
How it works: Memrise is a gamified language learning app that utilizes a myriad of gamified techniques (including over 20,000 native speaking videos) to teach a new language. Players can learn English, French, Spanish, German, Japanese, Korean, and many more languages. In addition, Memrise has courses for art, math, and history.
The app is incredibly fun to use. You are an astronaut, going on your journey to learn a new language! As you learn and progress, you gain in levels and your pet alien evolves as well.
Why it works:
Core Drive 2: Development & Accomplishment: Memrise uses CD2 in a myriad of ways: from earning points for completing lessons to leveling up your little alien pet, the app continuously shows the user their status and progression.
Core Drive 3: Empowerment of Creativity & Feedback: Memrise has the “point and translate” mode that allows players to turn on their camera, point to an object, and get the object translated in real-time. It’s a phenomenal way to get creative and capture your own vocabulary library.
3. SoloLearn – gamified educational app to learn how to code
How it works: SoloLearn aims to gamify the way we learn how to code. As an educational app, SoloLearn naturally has lessons that teach players how to code, but that’s just the beginning. SoloLearn utilizes player challenges (players can compete head-to-head in a coding challenge and the winner earns XP), a Code Playground where players can show off the code they’ve created and get feedback from other members of the community, and a leaderboard that shows the top coders.
Core Drive 3: Empowerment of Creativity & Feedback: SoloLearn truly shines in the way it uses CD3 to drive player engagement. Players can create their own code and apps, upload it to the playground, and have players from around the world upvote their product and even play with it. This provides immediate feedback for the player and encourages them to continue engaging with the platform.
Core Drive 5: Social Influence & Relatedness: SoloLearn has an amazingly vibrant community (their Q&A discussion forum). The community is completely gamified, allowing players to upvote topics and get EXP for answering questions.
2. Yousician – gamified educational app for learning a instrument
How it works: Yousician is a Gamified educational app to learn a new language. When you’re ready for your lesson, you turn on the app, select your instrument, and choose a lesson or song to play. The app will play the background music, display the song tutorial, and listen to you play to give you immediate feedback about how you’re doing.
Why it works:
Core Drive 2: Development & Accomplishment: Yousician is structured like a game: you start off as a beginner with easy levels (easy songs). As you progress and get better, you unlock stages that get progressively difficult and you level up in level. You can also see your progress through the in-app analytics that shows how you’re improving.
Core Drive 3: Empowerment of Creativity & Feedback: This is where Yousician truly shines. The key to Yousician is that it listens to you play and gives you immediate feedback. If you struck a chord too soon, it will visibly let you know immediately and track your progress. In addition, you can upload your own music to the app so that you can learn to play your favorite songs.
1. Duolingo – gamified educational app for learning a new language (and it’s free!)
How it works: Duolingo is a free language learning app on your mobile phone. There are a ton of languages to learn: Spanish, French, German, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Italian, Portuguese, Dutch, Irish, and the list goes on and on. In fact, more Americans are learning a language on Duolingo than the entire American school system! It’s quite an impressive feat.
Duolingo is proud that they infuse Gamification into every lesson. From in-lesson grading, to streak counts and hearts, Duolingo has done a terrific job at making language learning incredibly fun and easy.
Why it works:
Core Drive 1: Epic Meaning & Calling: As stated in the Duolingo Manifesto: “There are over 1.2 billion people learning a language and the majority are doing so to gain access to better opportunities. Unfortunately, learning a language is expensive and inaccessible to most. We created Duolingo so that everyone could have a chance. Free language education – no hidden fees, no premium content, just free. Duolingo is used by the richest man in the world and many Hollywood stars, and at the same time by public schools students in developing countries. We believe true equality is when spending more can’t buy you a better education.” When you use Duolingo or pay for the premium version, you are contributing to this grand mission.
Core Drive 4: Ownership & Possession: There is a currency within Duolingo called Lingots which allows players to buy Power Ups (such as streak freeze) and buy attire for your avatar.
Core Drive 5: Social Influence & Relatedness: Duolingo has social language learning clubs within the app that encourage players to learn with each other. Although it sounds like a great idea, it’s actually implemented weakly–not much conversation is happening amongst club members, resulting in empty rooms.
Core Drive 6: Scarcity & Impatience: In order to play (to learn a language), you need lives. If you run out of lives, then you have to wait until you regain life to learn again.
Core Drive 8: Loss & Avoidance: In Duolingo, players get lives. Every time you fail a lesson, you lose a life. Run out of lives and you’ll have to wait until you can continue learning.
Conclusion: Education Gamification is here to change our future
Even with all the great examples above, this is just the tip of the iceberg of all the great education gamfiication examples. Education gamification is here to stay and here to change the world.
What about you? Do you know of any great education gamification examples that can really impact our society, not just for this generation, but also future generations to come? I look forward to learning about that in the comments!
Below are a list of gamification cases with ROI stats and figures, with links to the case studies, so you can see for yourself the huge impact it is causing on businesses.
Many of these examples and lists can be seen on other websites such as the Enterprise Gamification Consultancy and Barnraisers, which are great sites, but I wanted to make this list only focus on cases that have pure numbers or %s that can be measured as ROI.
21) EMC RAMP: with their gamification platform, the company rewarded positive behavior from employees, partners and customers which led to a 10% increase in documentation, 40% more videos watched and 15% more discussions
10) Teleflora gamified its store with a social engagement scheme offering points for actions, increasing traffic from facebook by 105% and conversion rates by 92%
11) America’s Army:30% of americans age to 16 to 24 had a more positive impression towards and has recruited more people than all the other methods combined while costing a fraction of the marketing cost
4) A subsequent research in the same social network service above showed the effects of removing the point based levels, status titles and leaderboards. The removal of the game mechanics showed a significant result as across the board activities on the social network service dropped by 52%.