To Game or Not To Game?

PRIMEr was lucky enough to catch up with UTS-based Australian games design expert @andrewstapleton this week. At the meeting we threw around some ideas about how we could effectively build gamification into our mobile web app design to drive use, adoption and quality.

Three interesting things came out of our discussion:

  • Don’t lose the plot. Gamification of the learner-side can be problematic for the value proposition of the application, especially if it involves perks – or “extrinsic rewards”. Giving away perks when a user performs a cerrtain action on the platform leaves us at risk of creating the wrong kind of User base and the wrong behaviours. Extrinsic rewards encourage use of PRIMEr for the perks, not for the learning. This would leave PRIMEr no more than a raffle, a traffic magnet or rewards site and potentially destroy it as a learning tool, failing to engage its target audience and see the destruction of our value proposition.
  • Content as competition. Without getting all cultural-studies-PhD on our readers, PRIMEr can be thought of as a “Meta-game” for content providers. Think of the platform as a beauty contest between experts. Content providers log on and create content to compete with their peers in quality, popularity, etc. Awarding laurel wreaths to the highest quality providers will drive others to match and exceed them. Just as the Romans raced for honours so too the experts of PRIMEr…
  • Can we save commenting? We all know commenting (or at least its quality) has been a major problem with the internet. As the joke goes – How do you start an argument on the internet?  Say something. As reasoned discussion is a major part of the PRIMEr value proposition – you can’t learn with a crowd without discussion – we’re keen to reward great commentators who have real expertise and curiousity to supplement the value of the discussion feature. Intrinsic rewards from the community itself such as karma points, badges, stars, etc., may be the way to go to build a virtual campus of learners and experts.

Of course, this is fine for raising the standard of discussion but how do you police the idiots? We’re not sure gamification will help us with this but let’s just end with this question: does LinkedIn have a problem with trolls?

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