Stop Using Flow as an Objective in Gamification

Knot 1561626984 Stop Using Flow as an Objective in Gamification

In gamification, we (I) talk about flow all the time. But, as I have explained in previous posts, it isn’t really flow that we are speaking about in its truest for – rather balance. The fine line between challenge and ability, where a player might find themselves stretched but not in a position where the challenge is impossible (or boringly easy).

As a very quick reminder, Flow is a state that Mihály Csíkszentmihályi wrote about in his book “Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience [1]”. It is a state in which everything is perfectly balanced, skill, challenge, concentration and more. Time seems to stand still, the world around you evaporates – it is just you and the task. Read More ...

Optimal Experience in Gamification

In gamification, we often speak about Mihály Csíkszentmihályi’s Flow, a quick search of my site will bring up more than few posts on the topic. However, as I have pointed out before, we are not really talking about Flow but rather “Optimal Experience”.

We speak about one very specific part of Flow, that of balancing challenge against skill. As a quick refresher, one of the key conditions for Flow to occur is the perceived level of challenge must not exceed or fall below the persons perceived level of skill. If it exceeds it, the person will become frustrated at the difficulty. If it falls below, they will quickly become bored. Read More ...

The Language of Gamification – Short Glossary [Updated]

As I rewrite my book, I realise that there are many terms that I have been using that may not be known to non-gamification people. When I started writing it was with the intention of using plain language. Sadly, that is not always possible. So I have started to build a little glossary of terms as I use them. This is my interpretation of the words or phrases and is by no means complete. I will add to it over time I’m sure!

[Updated] Defining fun – some research results

UPDATED 27/08/2014

After a few more responses, I have realised I missed off Learning as a type of fun!!!

As many of you will have seen by now, I am running a short survey on what people find fun. So far I have had 155 results, for which I am truly grateful! Of course, I need more – so tell your friends, I am missing any answers at all from the 17 or younger age group!

However, I thought it would be fun to share some of the findings so far, show those of you that have answered so far that there is something happening with your answers. I have been categorising the answers into various types of fun, creating new types as I find answers that don’t fit into those I already have. So far this has given me 21 types of fun. Part of this process is to get your feedback on the types I have so far – are they all separate for example, or can I group a few. Also, can I group them generally beyond what I have already. I really need your feedback to help this process! Read More ...

Flow & gamification: a misunderstanding

Flow. A popular concept in gamification, goodness knows I have spoken about it often enough – just last week in fact.  It was that article that actually made me realise that there is a distinct misunderstanding of flow as Mihály Csíkszentmihályi describes it.

The image below is how we in gamification tend to view it, our simplified version.

We talk about the Flow Channel, the point where skill level and challenge level are in a good balance. So this would mean that Flow could be achieved when you have a balanced low skill and low chalenge. However, when we look at how Mihály Csíkszentmihályi originally described it, that would actually be apathy – not a state we want for our users! Read More ...

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