Will my Course Participants Engage with Gamification

Will my Course Participants even Engage with Gamification? Discover what makes your Learners Tick!

Gamification has become a popular approach for course creators to increase learner engagement and motivation. However, you might be wondering if gamification will truly resonate with your course participants and how to actually get your students involved with the strategies you’re implementing. 

 Game mechanics, player types, competition vs cooperation, motivation, behaviour models….there’s sooo much to think about when it comes to gamification, you probably feel like your brain is a bit scrambled just trying to determine where to start. And if you’re demotivated when it comes to the gamification principles in your course, then your members certainly will be too! 

Gamification isn’t just about plonking a few games in here and there and hoping for the best. It’s about strategically placing motivators in the right place to encourage movement through your course and motivating people to achieve learning objectives. 

It turns out (so says human Sigma experts John Fleming PhD and Jim Asplind!) that engaged customers generate a whopping 1.7 times more revenue than ‘normal’ ones. It's no wonder engagement is business objective #1 for many organisations and small businesses!


So where do we start? 

We need to start by thinking about the very people we want to engage in these behaviours, the ones we want to see succeed.  Your course students! Behaviour sits at the core of every engagement program so understanding what makes your learners tick and what feelings are associated with them getting a result secures a solid foundation for your gamification strategies.

Richard Bartle is somewhat of a gaming god. He developed the Bartle Test of Gamer Psychology. This test categorises players into four main types based on their preferences,  motivations and the things that drive them.The Bartle Test has been widely used and referenced in the gaming industry to understand player (or participant)  behaviour and to design game experiences that cater to different player types. These player types apply to the techniques, strategies and processes of gamification as a whole, not just specifically to building actual games.

To better understand their motivations and preferences, let's take a closer look at the four main player types identified by Richard Bartle: Achievers, Explorers, Socializers, and Killers. By understanding these player types, you can tailor your gamification strategies to create a more engaging and inclusive learning experience.


Achievers are born competitors:  

Achievers are driven by accomplishments, goals, and recognition. They enjoy overcoming challenges, earning rewards, and progressing in their journey. To engage Achievers in your online course, consider incorporating systems of points, badges, or rankings. Clear goals, challenging tasks, and recognizing their achievements will motivate them to actively engage and excel in the course. Think about the satisfaction Achievers get from tracking their progress and earning virtual rewards, just like the daily encouragement you receive from your smartwatch's fitness app.


Explorers do exactly that, explore:  

Explorers are fueled by curiosity and the thrill of discovery. They love uncovering hidden content, are happy to dig around and follow links, exploring new ideas, and diving deep into subjects. To engage Explorers, provide opportunities for self-directed exploration and discovery. Offer additional resources, optional readings, or bonus content that allows learners to delve deeper into the subject matter beyond the core curriculum. They are motivated by the joy of uncovering new things and expanding their knowledge. For the ultimate gamification you could try a virtual escape room with the reward being to unlock a bonus!


Socializers are more interested in social interaction:  

Socialisers prioritise connections and interactions with others and it plays an integral part of the experience. They thrive on building relationships, collaborating, and engaging in social activities. Socialisers like you to incorporate collaborative activities, group discussions, and opportunities for peer-to-peer interaction. Group projects, forums, or live chat sessions can foster a sense of community and provide avenues for social engagement among learners. Socialisers make a lot of friends along the way which makes them particularly important to course creators as they integrate with other participants and encourage them along the path with them. Think team tasks, emphasise connection on your social platform (the Kajabi community product does this particularly well!) and sharing knowledge.


Killers are in it to win it!  

Killers, despite the intimidating name, are motivated by healthy competition and strategic game play. They enjoy the thrill of outperforming opponents, gaining power, and asserting their skills. They’ll do what it takes to get to the top. Incorporate gamified quizzes, leaderboards, exclusive content or challenges that allow learners to compete against each other in a constructive manner. By appealing to their competitive nature, you can drive engagement among Killers in your online course. Warning! Resist the temptation to build a program solely around this type of personality. It will drive competition to the limit and alienate any other player type from even trying to join in. Think leaderboards and exclusive content for top performers.

Understanding the different player types and their motivations is key to designing an engaging online learning experience. By incorporating elements that appeal to all player types you create a well-rounded environment that caters for diverse learner preferences. Just as a side note, learners can exhibit a mix of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation within each player type but that's a whole new topic!


If you want to Take Action!
You can take the Bartle Test here  I thought I would be a Socialiser but it turns out I’m actually more Explorer!
Here are my results:

Do the groundwork before you begin and really dig deep exploring what makes your learners tick so you can put together something that is effective and integrates with your biz values. At the end of the day you need to be comfortable delivering the strategies and helping and encouraging your students along the way becomes an important part of your course experience.

Appeal to your learners desire for accomplishments, curiosity, social interactions, and healthy competition and remember, a well-designed gamified experience can bring out the best in your learners, fuel their motivation, and make their learning journey enjoyable and rewarding.


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