Gamification Overview

Gamification is about figuring out what makes games – especially video  games – so engaging, then applying those principles to work, education, etc.

Ted Talk – Gamification

7 Principles of Gamification

  1. Experience bars measuring progress
  2. Multiple short & long-term aims
  3. Reward all effort
  4. Rapid, clear feedback
  5. Uncertainty (probabilities of reward)
  6. (Unclear)
  7. Collaboration / social recognition

Keys to Gamification

Core Principles

  • Easy to learn, hard to master
  • Game-play develops a skill
  • Game mechanics “light the way” to mastery
  • As players progress, so do challenge and complexity
  • Embrace intrinsic motivators like power, autonomy & belonging

Game Design Thinking

Dynamics – patterns over time; reinforcement schedule; variable reward schedule most addictive; think slot machines.
Mechanics – points, badges, leaderboards, missions, etc.; mechanics light the way to mastery and provide clear goals & feedback
Aesthetics – obvious

5 Keys

  1. Know your players’ social styles
  2. Design for the three life-cycle stages
  3. Put PERMA into your engagement loops
  4. Light the way to mastery with “Progress Mechanics”
  5. (…)

Player Types

Novice – needs a good on-boarding experience
Regular – needs fresh challenges to keep them immersed
Enthusiast – needs exclusivity, recognition, to create impact


Being “in the zone”, studied and defined by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. To be in Flow is to be:

  • intensely focused
  • on an activity of your own choosing
  • which is neither too difficult nor to easy
  • which has a clear objective
  • and provides immediate feedback.


Purpose, Autonomy, Mastery (ir)


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