Flow & gamification: a misunderstanding

CvSoT Flow and other points v3 Flow 038 gamification a misunderstanding
Andrzej Marczewski

Andrzej Marczewski

Gamification Consultant with Motivait. I love to write about it, talk about it and bore people to death with it! If you really want to get to know me, check out the About page.

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9 Responses

  1. Avatar Żółte słupy ląd says:

    Great info. Lucky me I found your site by chance (stumbleupon).

    I’ve saved it for later!

  2. Ville Killku left me the following comment – that I seem to have lost somehow!

    There is one thing is dislike about your graphs: the relationship
    between the level of challenge and skill development. Why does facing an
    extremely difficult challenge eventually develop skill? Why are skills
    improved by repeatedly solving a simple challenge?

    Of course, in order to answer this, we’d need to venture deep into learning theory.. Is this going to be about gamification anymore, if we do that?

    Be that as it may, I’ll throw in one mostly unfounded idea based on
    some intuition and a superficial understanding of psychology:

    1. The challenge has to be of a proper level for a learner in order
    for learning to take place. Let’s throw in Vygotsky’s zone of proximal
    development (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zone_of_proximal_development).

    2. We can build a “game” that helps the learner solve those problems
    that he can solve assisted, but not unassisted, resulting in optimal
    learning.

    2.1 The game determines the skill level of the learner based on criterion-referenced tests (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criterion-referenced_test) and the Rasch model (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rasch_model), and thus is able to help the learner appropriately. We use game mechanics to improve short-term motivation.

    3. At sufficiently high levels, help remains available, but we move more towards uninterrupted learning and potential for flow experiences. Motivation becomes internal.

    Was there a point to this story? Maybe that flow can be a useful user experience concept at higher skill levels, and that gamification can help pave the road to that level. *shrugs*

    • My Reply
      I am not saying that a challenge increases skill. I am assuming that the
      system is built to help you develop the skills needed to face the
      challenge. I am saying that you need to keep the users perceived skill
      levels in line with the perceived level of challenge. Didn’t make that
      very clear though, so have noted it

  3. There is one thing is dislike about your graphs: the relationship between the level of challenge and skill development. Why does facing an extremely difficult challenge eventually develop skill? Why are skills improved by repeatedly solving a simple challenge?

    Of course, in order to answer this, we’d need to venture deep into learning theory.. Is this going to be about gamification anymore, if we do that?

    Be that as it may, I’ll throw in one mostly unfounded idea based on some intuition and a superficial understanding of psychology:

    1. The challenge has to be of a proper level for a learner in order for learning to take place. Let’s throw in Vygotsky’s zone of proximal development (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zone_of_proximal_development).

    2. We can build a “game” that helps the learner solve those problems that he can solve assisted, but not unassisted, resulting in optimal learning.

    2.1 The game determines the skill level of the learner based on criterion-referenced tests (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criterion-referenced_test) and the Rasch model (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rasch_model), and thus is able to help the learner appropriately. We use game mechanics to improve short-term motivation.

    3. At sufficiently high levels, help remains available, but we move more towards uninterrupted learning and potential for flow experiences. Motivation becomes internal.

    Was there a point to this story? Maybe that flow can be a useful user experience concept at higher skill levels, and that gamification can help pave the road to that level. *shrugs*

    • I am not saying that a challenge increases skill. I am assuming that the system is built to help you develop the skills needed to face the challenge. I am saying that you need to keep the users perceived skill levels in line with the perceived level of challenge. Didn’t make that very clear though, so have noted it 🙂

  4. Avatar Josep Ramon Badia says:

    I like this post so much. But thinking about this question…..don’t you believe that both lines would have, in time, crossing points instead of moving in parallel? If there is always an offset, depending on the attitude or intrinsecal motivations of our player, of course, it could create again boredom or, specially, frustration…An example: I play to Football Manager, and I want to buy a superstar player but the owner club doesn’t sell him whatever the offer, or my negotiating tricks: I can be a great skill but the challenge become impossible…so I re-start the session (a sort of frustration). If the game offers me some moments of coincidence skill/challenge, maybe the flow is better and for ever……or I’m wrong? WHat’s your opinion? Thanks.

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