How Does Gamification Work?

Traditional gamification is divided into game mechanics and game dynamics. Game mechanics consists of scores, rewards, levels, score boards and challenges, among other things. The main points of game dynamics, on the other hand, are active feedback, clear goals and rules, exciting plot and manageable challenges. 

When these parts are connected in one way or another, it activates production of dopamine in the user’s brain. Dopamine makes us feel good and we involuntarily seek more well-being by repeating the game. This is why gamification is used in many fields for encouragement and pleasure, creating better contribution margins or more usage in business and operation.[1] The same goes for gamification in education and communication. It is the key which unlocks the interest of the intended target. 

According to almost all research, gamification works and has a positive effect.[2] It is encouraging and increases the user’s delight but it can be negative if the competition gets too tough. 

New generations come with new expectations and must be met with a new type of communications. Gamification and the technology which the gaming world has brought us is very important to communicate our cultural heritage in this age of technology which we live in. Academics have analysed how the gaming environment enables us to reach people all over the world and opens new dimensions to deepen the visitors’ experience and user experience on an individual basis.[3]

Infographic created by NTL Institute.

Whether in tourism or the cultural sector, games are an effective way to the users’ hearts. Experience, identification, interactivity and participation are words which often surface when the positive sides of gamification are discussed. Most people know the learning pyramid that shows how badly communication and education through reading and listening fares against learning through participation and experience. The game demands participation and is more likely to yield positive results in any education and communication than the traditional ways of the past. 

Children play of their own accord but we sometimes say adults need an excuse to play. Increased gamification in learning and other fields of the society should lead to future generations being eager to play. We don’t grow out of playing anymore, now the games grow with us. Therefore, it is important to use games for cultural communication. 

[1] “Gamification and dopamine: why games motivate us”. 2019, July. Playmotiv.

[2] Hamari J., Koivisto J. & Sarsa H. 2014. “Does Gamification Work? — A Literature Review of Empirical Studies on Gamification”. 47th Hawaii International Conference on System Science 2014.

[3] De Freitas, Sara. 2013. “What can gamification add to cultural heritage?”.

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