Measuring the Effectiveness of Gamification

Have you ever been gamified? My guess is that it’s happened on many occasions without you ever even knowing it. Allow me to prove my point. If you are a member of LinkedIn and have strived to achieve a level of completeness on your profile… you have been gamified! If you are a member of a Frequent Flyer Program (FFP)… you have been gamified! If you are a cardholder to a grocery rewards program… you have been gamified! These are just a few of many examples that come to mind that prove that gamification is all around us in a vast majority of things we do and see on a daily basis. By definition gamified elements take advantage of our human psychological predisposition to engage and strive to attain a higher level (or compete against one another). But how are we actually able to measure the effectiveness of gamification?

As you can see by the above examples, turning applications into games is a trend that is here to stay and one that is being widely accepted by big brand names and proving the concept of gamification extremely effective. Compelling and addictive gamification generates excitement that only adds to the player’s experience.

So you’ve been thinking about employing gamification techniques through simulation but you have some concerns over the relatively new term of ‘gamification’ and its effectiveness. Simulations have been around forever so there is less worry there, but when tying gamification elements into simulation could it be a set up for disaster or one for success? Most would probably agree with my adamant statement of “It would be a huge success!” With the wide acceptance of gaming we are now seeing a cross-over of acceptance into the use and effectiveness of gamification. When tackling the topic of measuring effectiveness of gamification techniques there is a wide array of measurements that we can calculate. By nature we are interactive, we yearn to reap rewards for our efforts and that’s why gamification just makes sense. It is applied in a way that is measurable unlike other methods employed within a simulation.

When gamification is not effective… In some instances gamification may not be applied in the correct method. By this I mean that the game designer may not have thoroughly tested their gamification elements to make certain that the behavioral change that is intended takes place. Although this may be done unintentionally it can lead to negative ramifications from a gamified program.

Learning professionals are jumping onto the bandwagon of gamification, citing that results from users are extremely valuable. By leveraging unique elements of the game to encompass a sense of accomplishment by the user and to provide an outcome of feeling like he/she has mastered a topic. Gamification techniques act as building blocks throughout a simulation primarily being used to increase engagement levels, but they do have other implications as well. If you want to drive continuous and extended participation with your audience then gamification is right for you. By giving motivation to play more, the experience becomes more interesting and the ability to reach new goals is given. So that’s the magic ticket or the golden prize if you will. If we start with what outcomes we expect by putting a training program in place than many may be far more successful, not only as a gamified simulation but from the prospective of as a trainee completing the learning process and taking away the expected learning outcomes.

By definition games challenge us to innovate and gamification is changing the learning outcomes of simulation. While simulation programs tend to be very successful by adding the extra element of gamification in, the user is fully engaged and actively participating in the experience. Gamification is one of the most exciting tools of late, the beauty of it is that it appeals to a wide range of age groups and is easily implemented. All told, gamification can provide your organization with invaluable results. What is effectiveness and success? How can we measure it with regards to the platform that gamification provides? By clearly setting business goals you can easily determine a way for the application of gamification empowered by simulation to help in achieving them. By utilizing game mechanics  in simulation it’s a win-win situation. While gamification efficacy tends to vary from application to application, the measure of success that it employs has been proven across countless gamification projects.

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