Experimenting with Gamification at the Dinner Table

If you believe the experts, Gamification is a good way to motivate participants towards new knowledge, skills and attitude, increasing engagement and effectiveness. I wrote about this during ASTD2012. Read here…

In preparation for my Kluwer talk on the topic of Gamification (Meet + Greet, October 4th) I decided to test some simple game mechanics at home. This post provides guidelines for Gamification, explained via this short lunchtime experience…

 

First, don’t gamify things for no reason. At my dinner table I have trouble getting my girls to eat “everything”. Today, upon presenting the stoemp with broccoli and salmon, the reaction was unanimous: “I don’t like that!” ..so I wanted to motivate them into a different attitude and behaviour.

Secondly: Clarify concrete objectives or expected outcomes. Easy! I wanted them all to eat at least 3/4s of the entire plate, evenly spread between stoemp and salmon.

Third: Consider who is going to play and choose the right motivators. My eldest girl likes to win. She needs “conflict” gaming elements that allow her to do better than other people. My other two daughters respond better to game elements that allow for self-expression. Personally, I wanted to see some collaboration between them all..

 

Create your game

The objective of the game was clear: Clear your plate before the time runs out (my eldest interpreted this as “beat your sisters as well”).

Design the game structure and how to play. I created a game whereby “rolling a dice” would tell you which part of your “food-man” you could eat. First, each player was allowed to turn their plate of food into a “food-man” consisting of 4 legs, a body and a head. This element of self-expression created much amusement!

Here’s what my 3yr old made…
20120916-132331.jpg

I also asked them to make 4 pictures that could be screwed up and used as a “dice-mechanism”.
20120916-132624.jpg

The rules…
On each turn, players lucky-dipped which part of their “food-man” they had to eat next…
20120916-132827.jpg

If you got a leg picture, but had no legs left on your plate, you couldn’t eat. Otherwise, you had to eat what the lucky-dip said!

Throughout the game there were 2 feedback elements that kept motivation up: Social comparisons and time feedback.

If you finished your plate in the allotted time you won. This meant that everyone could win, making it a “self-competition” game rather than “conflict-based”.

Personally I didn’t design much for the collaboration aspect, but I was surprised: At one point, my 7yr old lucky-dipped a leg, but with no legs left on her own plate, she ate some of her little sister’s salmon for her!

 

If you have designed your game well, then you will be easily able to measure results. This experiment resulted in all plates 100% clean in a record time with no moaning from any children. Awesome!!

 

I am experimenting with games for training and learning that implement these simple ideas.

Imagine what you could do to:

  • Motivate employees to
    reduce paper usage
  • Encourage posting on internal social-media based knowledge sharing platforms
  • Cut company costs
  • Create Intercultural connections in a multinational corporate environment

…all your need is some simple game mechanics and a little creativity!

 

Have fun!
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Visit www.infinitelearning.be

 

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About Dan Steer

Wandering corporate trainer, learning and development consultant, conference speaker and professional El-Magico. I help people get better at stuff by creating and facilitating Infinite Learning © opportunities. The world would be a better place if everyone was doing what he loved and doing it well. I am working to bring out the "El Magico" in everybody. Training in presentation and communication skills, leadership, social media for learning and marketing, learning and development management + personal effectiveness.

Posted on September 16, 2012, in Leadership, Learning Management and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Heya i am for the first time here. I found this board and I to find It
    truly useful & it helped me out much. I’m hoping to offer something back and aid others such as you helped me.

  2. I have written another post about how it feels to be the user in a gamified (learning) experience

    Check it out here
    http://www.astd.org/Publications/Blogs/L-and-D-Blog/2012/12/The-Gamification-User-Experience-What-Does-It-Feel-Like

  1. Pingback: Epsilon2012 – Gamification for Learning « dansteer

  2. Pingback: A few of my favourite posts for today’s new visitors « dansteer

  3. Pingback: Karl Kapp on Gamification | dansteer

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