Is Competition Engaging or Demotivating in Gamification?

Sunday, April 11, 2021

While everyone is unique in their own right, there are two main camps that most people fall into when it comes to how they respond to competition.

You will either lean into the experience and use the competition to fuel your actions, or you will feel overwhelmed and demotivated by the thought of competing with others and comparing your actions to theirs. 

Ultimately, what motivates one person may deter another and in the context of gamification which is based around user experience, engagement rates, and other important metrics, the last thing you want to be doing when creating a campaign with game mechanics in it, is creating an experience that isn’t fun and engaging for all users.

It’s important to gain everyone’s attention and engage them in the experience, but how can this be done when we are all so different?

Competition in Business Gamification

Gamification techniques within a business environment is put in place to help pull the best out of employees and increase employee engagement on a task. Yet, the office is not full of athletes who are all obsessed with completing a task faster than the person next to them, so what’s the point in even trying to apply it to your workforce? 

Well, according to the American Psychological Association, competition can help increase effort and enables higher performance from employees. The key to seeing a greater response from employees is to funnel the competition through Positive Emotion, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, & Accomplishments (PERMA).

What Motivates Employees?

There are two types of motivation when it comes to team members:

Intrinsic Motivation

Intrinsically motivated people are powered by themselves. They don’t need the promise of a bonus to be driven to accomplish a task. Examples of intrinsic motivation may include; 

  • A sense of achievement

  • Self-actualisation

  • Task accomplishment

Extrinsic Motivation

Extrinsically motivated people are driven by external rewards such as money. An example of external motivation could be sales staff receiving commission. External motivation may include: 

  • Money

  • Praise

  • Promotion

  • Rewards and prizes.

Competition in Gamified Learning

Learning and Development professionals need to make sure all their learners are engaged, motivated and happy to learn long-term – and they can ensure this is the case by utilising gamification platforms in learning.

We talk a lot about gamification strategies and how badges, experience points and leaderboards help to encourage users to try harder, log on more often and push their development forward. We’ve found time and again that gamification is the answer to the issue of securing learner engagement. 

Now, for learners that are naturally competitive, tough competition will be very motivating, rather than disheartening. They’ll be more likely to complete their assigned eLearning modules, explore their Learning Management System and do everything they can to gain extra points and badges because they want to climb up the leaderboard.

Of course, we’re not saying that learners are never demotivated by leaderboards, after all, everyone is different, but within the context of learning most students wish to achieve great results for themselves with where they rank amongst others being purely a consolation to the effort they put into learning.

Competition in Gamification Marketing

When undergoing game design for a marketing campaign, the use of leaderboards and other video game tools that drive competition are essential to seeing gamification work.

Whether it be real world or over social media, anticipation for a campaign from new users is build from engagement rates, and engagement rates are calculated from the average user by surface level factors such as the level of competition and social media analytics like shares on Facebook and Twitter.

If a marketing campaign isn’t seen to be driving competition and shares then outsiders will simply assume that there is either no urgency or that the quality is simply missing.

Final Word

More and more L&D departments are investing in gamified solutions to train their teams. Why? Because it’s been proven that competition in the workplace drives productivity. From leaderboards to experience points, from levels to virtual badges; there’s plenty of ways to implement this on your learning solution!

We can help you get started on developing your own gamified campaign right away, so be sure to contact our team today.

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