Being Kind When Discussing Gamification

I talk to people about gamification quite a lot! The conversation usually starts with a little curiosity, then some scepticism and if I have done well, enthusiasm.

One thing that happens in probably 9 out of 10 conversations is a little section I like to call “No, it’s not about making games”. You all know this one. The person you are talking to suddenly has a moment of revelation as the think they have understood what you are talking about and say “Oh yeah. Minecraft!”.

Now.  There are a couple of ways to handle this. The first is to stop them in their tracks and say; “No, my friend, you are barking up the wrong pixellated tree. It is about taking the ideas and mechanics from games like Minecraft and using them in non game situations.”

This approach usually leads to them looking deflated and no longer interested. You pissed on their parade.

The second approach is to say; “There is certainly a huge amount of benefit that has been seen using games like that in education, and there are definitely loads of uses for that kind of approach.” Then let them talk about how their kids love it and it shows them all kinds of great life skills. At an appropriate moment, you then address what gamification actually is and why that has benefit in just the same way as a full game. “Games are such great tools, but it is very hard and extremely costly to create a game that is great. But, you can make use of a lot of the ideas that make games like Minecraft so interesting an engaging, without needing to create full blown games.”

Then lead the conversation towards gamification!

The point is, be kind. When the conversation turns to games let it happen, but be confident enough to drive it towards gamification (if that is the best solution) without having to make them feel stupid!

You are the expert, not them. It is like going to learn a martial art and the first thing that happens is a big guy beats the crap out of you and says “You are rubbish”. You are not likely to come back the next week!

You could call it Onboarding!

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