How Gamification Elements Drive Employee Motivation?

Top 7 Gamification Elements That You Need To Know About

Gamification refers to a process of using gaming elements in non-game conditions with a purpose of reinforcing positive learning behavior.

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Gamification has triggered a mass following among L&D professionals and Training Leaders. Organizations are finally visualizing and reaping the benefits by applying gamification in their training programs. 

There are various forms of game elements used in gamification. It is called so as it adds a game-like feel to the entire module that enriches a learner’s experience. There are times when training can become boring, sluggish and plain uninteresting. Gamification can help you plug that gap.

Revisit details of Gamification. What is Gamification? What are the 7 Key Elements of Gamification? Read HERE

Some skeptics might feel that gamification is just the next shiny thing out there without any grounding in science or research. That’s not the case, however. Gamification works because it’s rooted in accepted psychological theories, but first, we will qualify the 7 gamification elements and how it ties up to the accepted theories of motivation and engagement.

Here are the TOP 7 Gamification elements that are widely used in the Gamification world.

1. MILESTONES

Every game structure requires milestones that have a start and an endpoint that requires players to complete or pass through. Milestones can appear at every level of a gamification experience.

Milestones let learners show their competency levels apart from fulfilling their need for achievement, success, or power.

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In the business world, milestones can be best understood as the quarterly assessment each employee needs to pass through for achieving his/her ultimate reward–promotion.

2. RULES & GUIDE TO A GAME- CHARACTERS / AVATARS

A game-like structure includes rules of the game and occasionally is accompanied by a guide to winning. This guide helps a learner when they might get stuck at crucial points during their gamification expedition.

Choosing a character that plays you in the gamification world gives a learner a SENSE OF AUTONOMY.

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Characters or avatars fall into “rules of play”. These refer to a visual representation that a player can choose that in many ways represent themselves within the gamification world.

3. POINTS/SCORES

If you have played any game when you were young, you will know that for every correct move that you play, you get awarded some scores. Points are accumulated by performing correct actions in a gamification environment.

Points motivate individuals to perform a particular behavior either positive or negative which has consequences.

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Points are provided to execute an action. The actions may be positive or negative. Points are rewarded for positive action and deducted when a negative action is performed. One way or another they motivate players to think before they act upon a reaction.

Points act as an immediate positive reinforcement. They are usually the first and foremost forms of motivating individuals to perform well on a particular task. Achieving these points may be crucial for other tasks associated with the program.

4. BADGES

You achieve a good result and you are awarded with a good-looking badge, or better yet, a handsome amount of virtual money! Badges fulfill many layers of motivation within an individual.

Badges fulfill the NEED FOR POWER, SUCCESS, STATUS SYMBOL, COMPETENCY in a learner and ACTS AS A GOAL SETTER for them. 

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Badges give a sense of accomplishment to players and show them that they have succeeded in performing a positive task. When they are specific badges to be won for different tasks, they fulfill the need for power in individuals. They also act as a symbol of status for individuals. Getting awarded a badge shows that you have proven your competency for a particular skill. There can be nothing more motivating than proving someone wrong-even yourself!

When an individual knows that overcoming a particular hurdle and reaching to a desired goal will help them gain that much-awaited badge-it motivates their actions. Some badges can be achieved only after reaching a particular check post-the need to reach there faster increases, thus engaging a player further.

5. LEVELS

When a difficulty element is added in a game, the excitement to conquer it doubles. Levels refer to different checkpoints that a player needs to overcome on his/her gamification journey.

Levels act as a GOAL SETTER and provides a feeling of ACHIEVEMENT. 

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It is advisable when designing a gamification module, that each level becomes progressively difficult and tests different areas of competence in a learner. Informing individuals about the benefit of crossing a specific level where they get awarded for their actions acts as a big goal setter. And overcoming these difficult levels fulfills the need for achievement in learners. Thus, boosting the motivation levels of learners. 

6. LEADERBOARDS

We have all seen a scholar roll, even wished to be a part of it. It usually displays the names of honor students. Similarly, a leaderboard displays all the names of the players so that each one can see where they stand when compared to others. It usually displays the name according to the top score.

Leaderboards FOSTERS COMPETITIVENESS and fulfills a learner's NEED FOR COMPETENCY.

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Along with fostering competition among individuals, they also deep dive into a person’s need for achievement and power. Seeing your name displayed at the top of the leaderboard will surely send a wave of excitement within an individual. If a player’s name is already displayed on the top it will reaffirm the belief in one’s competence. You have proven you are the best among others!

Leaderboards also show the top teams leading the charts. When it comes to departments being competed against each other, it becomes fun and motivating. You don’t want your team losing because of your low scores. Sharing experiences and goals foster a feeling of community and collaboration and players get motivated.

7. OBSTACLES / CHALLENGES- PERFORMANCE GRAPHS

Where leaderboards are used to display scores of all individuals, performance graphs are used to show an individual’s journey by comparing the latest performance to an old one. This way an individual knows where he stands when it comes to his personal ability.

Performance Graphs focuses on NEED FOR IMPROVEMENT. They provide IMMEDIATE FEEDBACK to learners. It EXECUTES AN ACTION from learners.

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You just saw the commonly used game elements in a gamification module and how game element fulfills a basic need in a person. But, one must remember that game elements are always used in a combination to enhance the gamification experience. Single game elements do motivate an individual, but the degree of motivation might be less. Using it together increases the degree of motivation.

See Resource: What do different schools of psychology say about these drivers of motivation?

Further Reading On Gamification

1. Basics of Gamification- Get introduced to all things that make up gamification- right from gamification definition to the 7 key gamification elements that make the gamification experience enchanting and engaging.

2. Different Types of Gamification and Choosing the Correct Strategy- Both the terms-gamification and serious games are used interchangeably, but they are different. Learn what the difference between them is, what are their characteristics, and when should they be used.

3. Benefits of Gamification over E-learning- Get introduced to the TOP 10 reasons why training leaders are vouching for Gamification over e-learning.

4. Gamification Elements-Motivation-Psychological Perspective- What do the books of psychology say about motivation? How does this relate to our 7 gamification elements? Read to know the answer.

5. When to Use Gamification? Is gamification the magical elixir? Is it the solution to all the problems? Maybe not! Read the 4 situations that warrant the use of gamification.

6. How to Design a Successful Gamification Experience? What are the TOP 4 often overlooked gamification techniques that can make or break your gamification experience? Get the answer here to design an engaging gamification experience.

7. Implementing Successful Gamification Program- Get introduced to the “5-Step Method” of ensuring a successful gamification training campaign in your organization. Learn how to deliver right from planning, communicating, strategic partnership, to claiming success.