How to choose a suitable gamification strategy? Undoubtedly, this is the question that most organisations looking to introduce gamification in their learning processes are facing. In order to define an appropriate gamification strategy, it is very important to analyse what are the factors that motivate your audience.
The behaviour of individuals, their willingness to perform certain tasks, is determined both by inherited factors (intelligence, impulsiveness, emotionalism, etc.) as well as learned factors, our reaction towards certain situations (motivation, willingness, collaboration, etc.).
All behaviour is motivated by some reason and we must make an effort to analyse the factors that motivate people to change their behaviour to do those things that they did not want to before.
To which factors we must pay attention?
- Purpose/Meaning: Helping others creates an epic feeling that leads them to do things to be part of something bigger.
- Mastery/Achievement: Learning new things to improve personal development and accomplish achievements.
- Autonomy/Self-realisation: Creating and exploring new things generates a sense of curiosity that fuels the need to cultivate creativity and discover new challenges.
- Social Influence: Interacting with others and creating social connections, sharing knowledge and experiences and seeing the achievements of others. This factor is very powerful because it generates feelings of acceptance, influence and competitiveness.
- Ownership: Owning things and accumulating wealth.
- Scarcity/Impatience: There is a natural tendency to desire things we cannot have or have difficulty in obtaining and which leads us to constantly think about reaching that goal.
- Loss: The loss embodies the sense of failure and the feeling that the time, effort and/or resources have been invested in vain.
Types of motivation generated by these factors
The importance of the above factors lies in the motivation they generate in people and which makes them take certain decisions or others. There are two main types of motivations, extrinsic and intrinsic.
Extrinsic motivation: impels the user to perform an activity for the simple fact of getting some kind of incentive, usually related to material rewards. This motivation is enhanced by stimulation of Mastery, Property, Scarcity and Loss factors.
Intrinsic motivation: one that, naturally, promotes performing an activity for purely personal interests, without receiving a reward, because in this case the incentive is the fact of performing the activity itself. Purpose, Autonomy and Social Influence factors enhance this motivation.
We can see two very clear examples of the use of gamification on two popular applications like Farmville and Twitter, and identify very quickly what motivational factors are supported:
- Farmville, extrinsic motivation: the key factors used in their gamification system are Ownership and Loss as the main goal is to have the farm with best crops and animals through continuous and active participation or everything that has been achieved will be lost.
- Twitter, intrinsic motivation: the key factors used are Autonomy and Social Influence since the main objective is to express an idea through a maximum of 140 characters, getting maximum publicity (followers, retweets…).
Which factors we should enhance in our gamification strategy?
If we want to define a strategy that quickly engages our audience, we must start with those factors that generate extrinsic motivation. However, this motivation does not last over time. Users get bored quickly and need a stronger motivation, so if we want to raise a long-term strategy, the factors that generate intrinsic motivation should be strengthened.
In short, an appropriate gamification strategy must consider what motivations users respond to best, and therefore does not need to include all the above factors, and should enhance those reporting better results depending on the type of audience we are addressing and the period of the project implementation.