Gaming has never been more prevalent than it is now; it’s gotten to the point where we are gamifying real life. What was once considered a pastime for nerds, geeks, and children is now something that’s enjoyed by just about everyone!
It’s the truth. Anyone who partakes in anything technological is most likely gaming. And chances are high that we game without even realizing it. It’s everywhere, and it’s extremely powerful in its effectiveness.
The evolution of gamification has transformed the landscape of our society. Gamifying real life has interesting effects on how we approach learning and doing tasks. It’s still a young concept, but it’s clear that gamification works as the most efficient method of learning nowadays.
The benefits are amazing and can make learning easier than ever, which translates to reaching success faster!
Why Gamifying Real Life Works so Well!
People like to play games. That much is a given since the beginning of time, but the effectiveness of gamification can be pinpointed to a very specific reason.
Now, let’s dive a little deeper!
Gamification targets REALLY strong human emotions:
These are just a few of the emotions that gaming influences! These emotions make people WANT to achieve their goals; when the goal is achieved, happiness and satisfaction are strongly felt. People then realize how much fun they had during the whole process, so they’ll naturally want to repeat it!
Gamifying real life allows us to tap into a side of the brain that was previously only used for “unimportant” fun. By taking advantage of the brain’s rewarding mechanisms, we are able to transform learning into an activity that is entertaining rather than boring.
People WILL learn faster, retain information longer, engage longer, and apply that knowledge better through gamification.
You don’t have to look far to see examples of this. Whether it’s schools, workplaces, or everyday life, you can count of seeing gamification at work.
Gamifying Fitness: Making Progress Fun!
One of the biggest de-motivators in exercising is seeing a lack of results. People are impatient; what used to take days now only takes minutes. We expect results almost instantaneously, so it’s a huge turn off to put effort into something that doesn’t seem to work.
The process of getting into shape does take time when done properly. The amount of time varies depending on the person, workout routines, and diet, but it will usually take at least 20-30 days to notice results. That’s more than enough time for the average person to give up.
That’s why it’s important to gamify fitness. I’ve already talked about how exergaming beats the two biggest reasons why people quit exercising, but it’s important to note that tracking progress motivates people to continue exercise. It’s the best way to keep people going when the results are hard to see -otherwise.
Games in general are just tons of fun, which will bring people back to them again and again. There are plenty of fitness technologies/apps that gamify the workout process, with examples including:
Fitbit uses progress bars to visualize how close you are to achieving your goals and leader boards to encourage pushing yourself to beat the competition. The visual interface is also very much like a video game, with detailed digital tracking and accurate determination of physical attributes like the heartbeat.
GymPact makes you put money on the line. If you workout, you get paid! If not, then you pay the members who stayed committed. 90% of their members reach their goals, so it clearly works! The money that you gain and lose isn’t all huge or anything (you won’t become rich doing this), but nobody wants to lose money! It’s a clever app that deserves its fair share of recognition and use.
–Burn Your Fat with Me!!- (App)
Burn Your Fat With Me!! is an anime “moe” type game that allows you to workout with a fictional romantic partner as part of an overall story. It’s certainly interesting, to say the least, and does well with its execution. The workouts themselves increase in difficult as you play, though they are simple in execution.
While the premise may seem strange (with some characters being harder to deal with than others), the game still finds success within its audience. There is a version that features guys as well, for those who are interested.
And of course, exergaming continues to be one of the best ways to make fitness entertaining. Just Dance, Dance Dance Revolution, Wii Fit, and virtual reality gaming are all examples of exergaming that have proven results.
Squats can become a bore after a while; squatting beneath gunfire is waaaayyy more engaging (not to mention heart pounding)! Of course, you can also do normal squats over a beautiful virtual lakeside view as well, or do squats with friends in a virtual room.
The possibilities are exciting and continue to be developed as technology advances. Exergaming is the future, backed up by the power of gamification!
Gamifying Schools: Giving Worth to Learning!
Points are everything at school. They are used to determine the scores of individual assignments, tests, and everything in between. The total point value determines a student’s grade at the end of a semester. That’s how traditional schooling works.
So it should naturally make sense to turn points into a game. By doing so, points are seen as more valuable, especially when there are rewards tied to it. Rewards encourage a student to keep getting points, which also has not-so-small benefit of getting high grades.
Other students that notice a successful student being rewarded will also be motivated to succeed as well; the result is a class that comprehends the material better and is excited to learn (in order to get those points)!
Here’s an example of this: Do students struggling with citations in their reports? Answers with no evidence or references = 1 point, correct answers with 1 article of evidence or reference = 2 points, and correct answers with 2 articles of evidence or reference = 3 points. When a student reaches 10 points, they are allowed to skip a homework assignment.
Incentives encourage participation!
This isn’t restricted to kids as well. Adults who participated in gamified eLearning scored 14% higher on skill-based knowledge tests, 11% higher in factual knowledge, and experienced a 9% increase in retention rate.
Gamification in education for adults is especially important. How many college courses do you see people sleeping through, or not even bothering to show up to? It’s an epidemic that could be fixed with gaming! Adults need to enjoy what they are learning too.
The industry of gamification continues to grow by the billions of dollars because it works!
Gamifying the Workplace: When People Play, Everyone Wins
Are you bored at work? If so, you probably fall into the 55% of all U.S. employees that are not engaged at work. Being bored at work is linked to the same amount of stress as being overworked!
That’s seems crazy, but the internal agony of being bored at work makes the comparison seem sensible. Boredom makes time pass by slowly, leads to a significant decline in productivity, and can make people eventually quit. What’s a solution?
Gamifying the workplace makes work fun and engaging, which in turn benefits everyone at the company. Managers get higher productivity from associates, while associates get to have fun and enjoy potential rewards.
Gamifying the workplace also addresses some of the biggest concerns that associates tend to have, like having proper real-time feedback, favoritism, and having accurate performance management. Visible progress through gamification makes people feel visible when great accomplishments are achieved. This in turn will encourage people to keep progressing.
One example of gamifying the workplace is to achieve status through sales with rewards along the way. People will enjoy earning those rewards, and the status that comes with it promotes that feeling of exclusivity; THAT is something the people tend to prize.
Another example is to have a short term contest that rewards associates depending on how well they do within the company.
This is one of the most powerful forms of gamifying real life, as it has the potential to make or break a company.
The Future of Gamifying Real Life
Rewards apps, progress bars, achievements, and so on. Once you take another look, it’s easy to notice why gamifying real life is important to the future of learning. In a world of fun and games, it can be hard to do the mundane and boring.
So why make it mundane and boring?
The world is turning to games to inject some fun into things that would’ve never been considered “fun” by the majority of people. As time goes on, I’m confident that gamification will become a more further integrated in our day-to-day lives. Points for making breakfast and carpooling, stuff like that.
Exergaming is only one branch of gamifying real life! Gamers are just getting started!
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