Gamification is manifestly the theme of the moment. A lot of people are struggling with defining the term itself. At bottom, it’s all about using techniques associated with games and gaming to create motivation. The question then is, motivate to do what? But that can mean a lot of things depending on the context:

  • motivate to buy?
  • motivate to think?
  • motivate not to think (for example, impulse buying)?
  • motivate to go deeper?
  • motivate to stay inside the box?
  • to go out of the box?
  • to understand?
  • to memorize and repeat? etc.

The cynical common denominator would be: manipulate rather motivate.

Then there’s the typology rewards. Some experts have suggested as many as six types of reward mechanics:

I would suggest a typology of five contrasting types of actual reward. Here are the first four:

  1. monetary or merchanise rewards (loyalty discounts, etc.),
  2. vanity rewards (points, badges),
  3. ranking rewards (where am I in relation to the others?)
  4. social rewards (how does this put me in a relationship with others?).

I would suggest that for learning the last two are the most important, especially if they are combined under the banner of collaboration.

A lot to think about in terms of strategies for learning. This is just the beginning, so why don’t we all get started together thinking about where this can take us (call that a “socio-professional incentive”).

Then there’s the fifth one which I don’t see many people talking about:

5. creativity rewards

Actually it can be instrumental in consolidating reward types 3 and 4. What I mean by creativity rewards is the emotion associated with having accomplished something that is original and has permanent value. Mastering a game means progressing with what someone else has designed. Creating a game (or anything else) takes us to a different level, especially when it involves collaboration, sharing of tasks and collective decision-making.


An example of the beginning of a Chatscaper dialogue.

That’s precisely why we created Chatscaper as a learning tool.


About pisackson

The cosmos is non-linear. Sub-atomic physical reality is non-linear. Our lives are non-linear. We are persuaded by well-intentioned guides, politicians and teachers to believe otherwise, but my mission is to help people discover the joy of non-linear thinking and acting, otherwise known as...creativity.
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