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Mario Herger
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A question that I get pretty often is what are the game mechanics that make the best gamification design? I struggle with this question, because it is so wrong from many angles. And here is why.

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Mario Herger commented on a post on Blogger.
Here are some studies about gamification in education:
An Experience Report on Using Gamification in Technical Higher Education:
Game based learning vs. gamification from the higher education students' perspective:
Gamifying Quantified Self Approaches For Learning: An Experiment With The Live Interest Meter:

Then here some facts and figures:
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A graduate journalism professor from NYU uses multiple game mechanics to engage his students. Among them are leaderboards for social media, where students over the course of 14 weeks to grow their followers, as well as handing in over 20 assignments.
And through a company called Stray  Boots, I organized a Wall Street treasure hunt, in which students  learned the history of the area through playing a walking game.
A report from the 2006 Summit on Educational Games by the Federation of American Scientists found  that students recall just 10% of what they read and 20% of what they  hear. If there are visuals accompanying an oral presentation, the number  rises to 30%, and if they observe someone carrying out an action while  explaining it, 50%. But students remember 90% "if they do the job  themselves, even if only as a simulation."
Results: Collectively, my 15 grad students correctly answered 77 out of 150  questions (or 51.3%) from the reading passage but for the Treasure Hunt  they got 89 of 150 right (or 59.3%).
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LiveOps Inc., which runs virtual call centers, uses gaming to help  improve the performance of its 20,000 call agents—independent  contractors located all over the U.S. Starting last year, the company  began awarding agents with virtual badges and points for tasks such as  keeping calls brief and closing sales. Leaderboards allow the agents to  compare their achievements to others.
Results: Since the gamification system was implemented, some agents have  reduced  call time by 15%, and sales have improved by between 8% and 12%  among  certain sales agents, says Sanjay Mathur, vice president of  product  management at LiveOps, Santa Clara, Calif.
Introduction of the platform was met with an 80% adoption rate in the very first week. And these adopters were found to have outperformed non-users by 23%, with an average +9% higher rate of customer satisfaction. Further measurement proved that gamification reduced training from an average of four weeks, to 14 hours. That's over three-and-a-half weeks of earned productivity.
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A special education teacher used game mechanics to adress problems that she had with students.
Results: MathLand led students to a 17% improvement in statewide assessment, Attendance increased by 13% in the first two years, Standardized test results moved upwards by 22% at the end of year three
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Go To Jupiter is a Game Based Learning Solution, used to teach to 500 agents about a new medicine.
Astrazeneca’s agents have to earn points to be the first to reach a Stadium (which represents the official launch event of the medicine and where agents, answering questions using a remote control, can earn new points to improve their game ranking).
In the web game, agents can get points by answering quiz and playing different mini-games focused on the features of a new product.
Results: High usage rates (97%)
The most of the agents where using the platform outside of their work time
95% of the users completed each teaching session
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Slalom Consulting Seattle-based Slalom Consulting had 2,000 employees in offices around the United States. To improve internal communications, the company decided to create a mobile application that would help employees learn the names and faces of their colleagues. To encourage participation, the application included a "leaderboard" showing who had the highest scores, says CEO Brad Jackson.
The tactic backfired. "We found that only 5% of the people truly cared about being at the top of the leaderboard," he says. The prizes - gift cards - weren't enough, either.
"What changed for us is when we transformed to teams," he says. "Whether by organization, or randomly assigned teams, there was a dramatic shift in the engagement of the game. People didn't want to let their team down."
Results: Participation grew from 5% to 90%, he says, and recognition scores went up from around 45% accuracy to 89%.
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Results: 56,600 visitors, 13,660 registrants and 34 home loan applications in the first six weeks.
project costs for InvestorVille were around 400,000 Australian Dollars
the game generated about 600 loans
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Feedback from some clients is that the Deloitte Leadership Academy experience has become “addictive” and competing with peers is now part of how clients are achieving their learning plans. The leader board has been an important element as it creates a status oriented competition amongst users inside their organization
Results: 46.6% increase in the number of users that return to the site daily
36.3% increase in the number of users that return to the site weekly
An average of 3 badges per active user
Top user has collected 30 badges already
Already one user has earned the Leadership Academy Graduate badge which is expected to take 12 months to achieve
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To help users learn about the software, the free trial was gamified and onboarded the users. An intriguing storyline was created and a healthy reward system to incentivize users was offered to finish the trial and understand 3ds Max fully. Iin-game benefits were coupled with real world prizing and a grand prize of a license to the Autodesk Entertainment Creation Suite Ultimate Edition 2013 was awarded.
Results: 54% increase in trial usage,
15% increase in buy clicks, and a
29% increase in channel revenue per trial start.
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eLearning provider OTT had experienced high growth and was offering over 100 courses to agents. The Operations Director had noticed that although more courses were being completed in total, the average number of passes per course was falling. So they invested in gamification. Members were encouraged to earn virtual badges by completing eLearning courses.
Results: average increase of 65% in user engagement with some clients benefiting from an uplift of over 300%
One client had a live course on the website but did not actively promote it over 12 months.  Gamification had a big effect on their results.  Pre-gamification their course was getting around 10 course passes a month.  Post-gamification launch they were averaging around 50 passes a month.
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Kaplan School of Information of Technology
Results: grades were more than 9% higherthe "unsuccessful rate" -- the number of students who failed the course or did not complete it -- decreased by 15.76%spent up to 17 percent more time actively engaged than their counterparts

More Facts & Figures here:

Karl M. Kapp has also many examples in his book "The Gamification of Learning and Instruction"

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Mario Herger commented on a post on Blogger.
Stack Ranking no matter how you do it, always creates competition. Introducing competition in an environment that requires collaboration and cooperation environment is generally tricky and a bad idea. Here is some stuff on Competition, how it works and why it mostly does not work, even in a space where conventional wisdom says "They all like competition so much" such as sales. Bullshit!

A better approach is like games are doing: games always know how well everyone is doing, and everyone can see how the the others are doing too. In time, accurately, and objective. This instant feedback also allows players to learn what they can do to become better.
Think now sales again, where the best guys would never share how they did it with the lower performers. Because this threatens my position in the stack ranking. In the end, the company (and the customers) lose. So again: Stack ranking is destructive, no matter how you do it.

Here is a series of articles about the gamification score and how it helps to more objectively, timely, and accurately measure employees without resulting in competition:
The Gamification Score as a more Accurate Measure for Employee Evaluation

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