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Gamification, educational or addictive?

In recent years, gamification has become a common way for companies to activate and motivate their users. A clear example is Niantic, the company which in 2016, together with Nintendo, launched the mobile game Pokémon Go. With the help of the GPS function, AR and gamification, Niantic got a whole world to start looking for Pokémon outdoors. But what exactly is gamification, and how does it work in practice?

Gamification is a concept where you use games and apply them both in and outside the gaming world, such as training apps and mobile games in online casinos. The technology encourages users to compete against each other, collect points, and increase levels. You are rewarded during the game for your achievements and, at the same time, encouraged to continue to develop and present constantly. Gamification works as a strategy to influence and motivate people's behaviour. It is mainly used to increase employees' commitment and motivation to drive the organisation's performance forward in the workplace.


How gamification negatively affects learning

The problem with gamification is that it also encourages a form of addiction. Because even if positive feedback and confirmation are good for motivating users, the basis for learning should not be performance-based. For example, if a user is fed up with: "you have devoted X number of hours/minutes/seconds to courses this month - continue to reach the next level", the purpose goes from learning something to increasing the number of teaching hours. Educations with gamification can thus quickly fail. Increasing your "points", "level", or many teaching hours should not be the primary reason for taking a course. There is no intrinsic value in taking a course - even if it can be the way to the learning itself - but the benefit only arises when you have learned something!


Create learning based on motivation rather than scores

So how do you teach knowledge to your employees in the best possible way without it becoming performance-oriented? The most effective way to teach is Performance Support or Workflow learning methodology. It is about making knowledge support available directly in the workflow, just when you need it most.

Performance Support as a working method notes that quite a bit of what we can in a professional role comes from formal courses and training. Most of what we can get comes from learning in everyday work and the experience that learning by doing generates. What Performance Support does is make available knowledge support when we need it most - and when we are, therefore, most motivated. By ensuring that you can learn while working daily, you increase knowledge intake and increase employee performance.

As a learning technique, gamification can undoubtedly fulfil a specific function in that course participants are encouraged to complete educations that might otherwise have been perceived as a bit boring. However, this should be seen as a bonus rather than the main reason the training is carried out.

When we add points, challenges, and levels to the learning process, we indicate that completing the tasks is essential, not learning itself. If it is a training app, an online casino or an advertising-financed mobile game, it is logical to attract users to maximum screen time from a development perspective. On the other hand, if you want to streamline the organisation's learning, gamification is the wrong way to go!


Feel free to download InfoCaption's e-book on Performance support, where you can read more about how you can make it easier for employees in the workplace and streamline the organisation. With Performance Support, you combine more comprehensive education with shorter knowledge articles available in everyday work. Learning in the workflow, when we are most motivated, is when we learn the best.



Learn more about Performance Support, download our e-book today!

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The Author

At the blog, we share inspiration and knowledge about digital learning and Performance Support, and inspiring cases from our customers.

Feel free to contact the author if you have questions or want to discuss the article.

Petter Lundqvist InfoCaption

Petter Lundqvist