Thursday, September 3, 2015

Gamification: Badges Revisited

My consulting work within the field of gamification allows me the opportunity to work with fascinating people and forward thinking organizations who are seeking new ways to level up their business or learning outcomes. This week was no different – and our topic for review was all about badges.

If you’ve read any of my previous articles you’ll find that I repeatedly remind us that gamification is much more than points, badges, and leaderboards – yet I don’t want us to forget that each of those game elements can have significant value in our gamification design.

Creative game thinking and game design has the potential to tap into the full range of human emotions and motivate a wide range of behaviors that will help you to achieve your business and/or learning objectives. That’s the beauty and value proposition of gamification. If you take the specific behaviors you’ve defined, you can then design your gamification strategy to create an experience that will cause people to do what you want or need them to do.
Although it is not enough to slap on some points, badges and leaderboards and call it gamification, if you are careful to align these elements with your business objectives, they will help you to appropriately target different styles of learners.
To prepare for my consultation I reviewed my volumes of notes and resources and pulled together some of my favorites, which I'll share with you.

Begin your journey into badges by reading my colleague Andrzej Marczewski’s article - Points and Badges Not Totally Evil. Here is Andrzej’s summary of his article – but go ahead and read the entire piece. It will put you into the right space to continue your journey.

"If you are using points and badges though, try to follow some simple rules – where possible.
  • Points are a method of feedback for most people. They show them how they are progressing – but they normally have no value beyond that, unless it is a loyalty scheme!
  • Badges and trophies should be looked at as a way to recognize an achievement. Where possible they should not be used as the reason to do something- they should not be the achievement. If you have to work for something, then it will be more valued and meaningful. If it is a badge for clicking like 20 times, it will at best be appreciated – at worst despised for being cynical and pointless!
  • If you are using points and badges to encourage people to engage in dull tasks, at least make them fun and interesting to earn. Give people a break from the mundane by throwing in funny badges for unexpected reasons. Add a few that require you to explore a little, or do less dull tasks."
Next, stop by BadgeOS™, a WordPress plugin that allows your users to complete tasks, demonstrate achievement, and earn badges, and watch the video Constellation Badge.

Think of the constellation as the road map for how all of the skills and activities connect.

Continue on to Badge Alliance for a compilation of interesting and informative white papers and resources.

And then, Create Badges and Badge Systems for a collection of online tools and platforms available for designing digital badges and awarding them using a badge issuing system. 

And finally, don’t miss Alice Keeler. She has created a template using Google Sheets that allows you to build a list of activities, and then assign a difficulty level, XP points and a badge to each task. As the participants complete the activities they can check them off and level up! 

This is certainly not an exhaustive list. If you have used a badge process or system, I would love for you to share your experience. Please feel free to contribute your feedback in the comments section below. 

Here are more gamification articles with ideas on gamification design for corporate learning programs: 
Take the first step, to become a qualified gamification designer. Do you realize that among the people reading this article, you may be the one who grabs this opportunity to take the first step? As you start to think about the benefits of learning this new skill, I bet your mind can uncover further benefits in being part of the gamification design community.

In fact, this week I hosted a Lunch and Learn Webinar designed to help you:
  • Identify the current best practices in gamification
  • Understand what gamification can achieve
  • Approach gamification from a practical viewpoint for your organization
  • Forecast the talent development industry for the next 7-10 years
  • Determine if a gamification certificate is a smart career move for you
The webinar was a fast-paced, interactive, gamified experience designed to give you a thorough grounding in gamification as it stands today.

If you missed the live broadcast or would like to re-watch the webinar you can access the replay at this site:

At the site you’ll also find a pdf of the Chat Log and a couple of my favorite gamification videos. 

By the way, this replay version of the webinar will be up through September 3rd, so make sure you watch it soon.     

Personal Development is a lifelong endeavor, and I am always looking for ways to help people acquire and communicate new skills that will help them make progress in their lives. I’m excited to see what badging can do for the future of talent development.  
About the Author:  Monica Cornetti
Founder and CEO, Sententia

A gamification speaker and designer, Monica Cornetti is rated as a #1 Gamification Guru in the World by UK-Based Leaderboarded. She is the author of the book Totally Awesome Training Activity Guide: Put Gamification to Work for You, writes The Gamification Report blog, and hosts the weekly Gamification Talk Radio program. 

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