Tag Archives | Scott Nicholson

Using Gamification to Enhance the Library Experience

Welcome back! If you missed my blog post on BLAP gamification and rewards, please read that first!  Back for more? Here’s your reward!

I realize that star I gave you last time was meaningless, but my hope is that you will be learning a skill here so that you won’t need someone to give you a star to incorporate meaningful gamification.

The idea behind meaningful gamification is to use game design elements to help a participant discover a personal connection to a real-world setting. The theoretical core of meaningful gamification can be found here.  One of the important theories behind meaningful gamification is Self-Determination Theory by Deci and Ryan, which states that to have a positive well-being, people need to feel that they have control over their own situation, that they need to feel competent, and that they need to feel connected to others.

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Gamification in Libraries: A Word of Warning

Greetings! I’m Scott Nicholson, author of Everyone Plays at the Library: Creating Great Gaming Experiences for All Ages, and an associate professor at the School of Information Studies at Syracuse University. During the 2011-2012 academic year, I was on sabbatical as a visiting professor at MIT, where I worked with the GAMBIT game lab. When I returned to Syracuse, I started the Because Play Matters game lab, which focuses on the creation of transformative games and play for informal learning environments. “Transformative games” is a term coined by Jesse Schell for games designed to change people; these also are known as serious games or games for change.

One area that I have focused on since then is Gamification. Gamification is a new term for an old concept: using game design elements for a real-world context (Deterding et al., 2011). Libraries have been doing this for decades through summer reading programs where patrons track books read and then receive a reward. Many modern gamification applications are based upon the game design elements of role-playing games. Upon accomplishing something in the real world, players receive points. As players get enough points, they are reward by gaining levels or status on a leader board. Additional challenges can earn players achievements, and players are rewarded with badges that are publicly displayed. My term for this type of gamification is BLAP: Badges, Levels & Leaderboards, Achievements, and Points.

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