Gamification on Coursera

If you are interested in Gamification there is an online course by prof. Kevin Werbach at University of Pennsylvania. The course is free (you’ll need to register to Coursera) and pay only if you want to receive a certificate after passing the final exams.

The first two lectures cover key topics such how to define gamification, its origins, what gamification ‘is not’, how to defines games and play and abotu the current state of the video game industry. You might already know about these topics (as well as many of the authors mentioned, such as Huizinga, Caillois, Salen and Zimmerman and so on). It is however quite interesting to see how this course is trying to clarify how gamification can be used and applied to non-game contexts. This is the course blurb:

Gamification is the application of digital game design techniques to non-game problems, such as business and social impact challenges. Video games are the dominant entertainment form of our time because they are powerful tools for motivating behavior. Effective games leverage both psychology and technology, in ways that can be applied outside the immersive environments of games themselves. Gamification as a business practice has exploded over the past two years. Organizations are applying it in areas such as marketing, human resources, productivity enhancement, sustainability, training, health and wellness, innovation, and customer engagement. Game thinking means more than just dropping in badges and leaderboards; it requires a thoughtful understanding of motivation and design techniques. This course examines the mechanisms of gamification and provides an understanding of its effective use

I’ll post my comments on these lectures as soon as something quite interesting for our purpose comes out. In the meantime I’ll post what I think is a sort of curiosity which has come out during the first lecture, while discussing the origins of the concept of gamification. On this page there is a ‘short prehistory’ of gamification, which includes a link to the first, as far as we know, consultancy company focused on gamification, Conundra Ltd, based in the UK and funded by Nick Pelling in 2003. As the author comments:  ‘Note that I was much more interested in applying gamification ideas to electronic devices than to the Web back then: just as now, I wanted to build physical things and to make them fun and effective to use’.


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