I just read a vendor blog post that lists the pros and cons of gamification.

PLEASE, let us be smarter than this!

Gamification is NOT a THING !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

There can be NO pros and cons to gamification…

Gamification is a label for dozens of specific factors, each of which can be used or not used, or used alone or in concert with other gamification learning factors.

Here is a small list of gamification factors (just off the top of my head):

  1. competing against a standard
  2. competing against others
  3. being given some sort of non-tangible "award" for perseverance
  4. being given some sort of non-tangible "award" for some level of success
  5. being given some sort of non-tangible "award" randomly as you "play"
  6. working on a team
  7. escaping a threat
  8. working toward a specific goal
  9. performing with a time constraint
  10. et cetera (ad infinitum?)

[Hey, if anybody has published a list of gamification factors, let me know and I'll post it.]

Seriously, when we oversimplify, we not only show our ignorance of the magical complexity of human learning and cognition, we also hurt our own thinking and problem solving and those of every person with whom we are communicating.

Sure, some vendor wants to sell gamification. I get that. But what is really being said is: some vendor wants to sell gamification to the most vulnerable within our profession (newbies, etc.) and even to the less vulnerable and even to the best-and-brightest who may have a temporary brain freeze from such miscommunication.

No, no, no! Sorry! That's too cynical, right! Probably the vendor honestly thinks that their list of pros and cons is being helpful. Probably the vendor doesn't really understand that all of us must look more deeply than our industry's surface ripples.

How to end this blog post? Hmmm. This is difficult. I'm not sure. Okay, I got it.

Final advice:

  1. Evaluate the labels used in the learning industry.
  2. Seek the constituent factors.
  3. Get data on their causal effects.
  4. Hire learning experts from time to time to reality check your learning designs.
  5. Give yourself a gold star for reading this blog post to the end.
  6. You have reached WAWL Level 2, performing better than 92.4% of your colleagues!
  7. To get to WAWL Level 3, do a Google Search of Gamification, find a list of Gamification Factors, and send me the link.
  8. To get to WAWL Level 4, create your own list, reflect on what you discover, post it somewhere, and send me the link.
  9. May the forces of the Neo Elepha keep you safe on your journey. WHO-LA!