An Empirical Study of Gamification Frameworks

An Empirical Study of Gamification Frameworks

Patrick Buckley (University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland), Seamus Noonan (University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland), Conor Geary (University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland), Thomas Mackessy (University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland) and Eoghan Nagle (University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 17
DOI: 10.4018/JOEUC.2019010102

Abstract

Gamification is a relatively novel concept which is attracting interest from academics and practitioners as a method of mediating individual behaviour. It is increasingly being used in a wide range of social and business contexts across a range of diverse activities such as education, health care and personal productivity. In this article, the components used to implement gamification are catalogued. Using a standardised rubric, a sample of gamified activities is studied to measure the prevalence of the various components used to implement gamification. This research provides an empirically validated catalogue of specific components used to implement gamification, which can serve to guide the work of academics and practitioners. It demonstrates variance in the use of the different types of component, indicating that the utility of gamification components may differ. Finally, by contrasting the utilization of components in the individual and group contexts, this research identifies the contextual sensitivity of gamification.
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Introduction

Human beings are hardwired to play. Games are an integral part of our personal, social and cultural identity. Scientists and researchers are discovering deep, complex relationships between our brains, learning and game play (Zichermann & Cunningham, 2011). These discoveries have aroused increased interest in gamification across a diverse range of contexts such as education, personal productivity and business management.

Gamification is the use of elements traditionally associated with games, such as structured rules, points and competition, to prompt desired behaviours in individuals. It can be seen as a suite of techniques and psychological prompts connected by their association with games and play. It is operationalised using specific, atomic components such as points or badges.

This paper investigates the components that are being used in gamified activities and processes. A catalogue of gamification components, derived from both the literature on gamification and an analysis of extant gamified activities is developed. This catalogue is used to analyse a sample of gamified activities. When aggregated, these data record the number of times each individual component is used across the sample and so provides a rich data set that can be analysed to provide a number of contributions.

First, the paper empirically validates existing theoretical derivations of the components used in gamification. This analysis also identifies extant mechanics that are in practical use but absent from the literature. A third contribution arises from quantifying the frequency with which different components are used to gamify activities. This analysis answers calls in the literature for empirical validation of gamification frameworks (Seaborn & Fels, 2015). This data is used to analyse the relative frequency of the various component that are used to implement gamification, which can serve as both a guide to practitioners and also a roadmap to guide further research in the area. Finally, by quantifying the elements of gamification used in different contexts, the paper demonstrates that the utility of specific gamification elements varies in individual and group activities. This demonstrates the importance of context in gamification, and serves to highlight the need for a more subtle understanding of the applicability and effectiveness of gamification in different contexts.

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