Games are so successful that they fascinate people from the most diverse social classes and cultures. This success has made scientists, and us too, curious. The result: Gamification.
That’s why we analyze the mechanisms of success of all kinds of playful environments such as video games, board games, sports activities, hobbies and more. We then transfer these to activities in professional and private everyday life, such as teaching, or to social activities.
This means that under the generic term gamification there are several approaches with which companies can profit from the potential of the game. These are serious games, game-based learning & simulations, but also gamification itself.
Only those who know the difference between these possibilities, as well as their special characteristics and advantages & disadvantages, will be able to decide on the appropriate application.
Gamification is the application of game principles to different business areas such as marketing, human resources, knowledge management, sales, project management and training.
It does not mean that you build a classic game. Such applications fall into the categories of serious games, game-based learning or simulations.
Instead, current and existing work processes, services and also products such as software and applications are enriched by exactly those playful elements that are sometimes responsible for human fascination and our attachment to playful activities.
In a Serious Game, the aim is that as the player progresses within a classic game, a real problem is automatically solved.
This is done by breaking down a question that currently occupies us in real life to the point where complex issues are made easier to understand and thus accessible to everyone by adapting levels, rules, game elements and more.
The game Fold.it is probably a prime example, which succeeded in making the scientifically highly complex and tedious search for the body’s own protein strands and their ‚folding possibilities‘ so interesting that thousands of players took up this challenge and discovered folding combinations that science had been searching for for years.
Game Based Learning (short: GBL) uses the product game as a tool to ‚transport‘ content to be learned and to convey it to the player in a more entertaining, understandable and sustainable way through playful interaction. A characteristic of this is often that the content to be learned has top priority. In case of doubt, the fun of the game should be subordinated to it. You can also put it this way: With GBL learning is the goal, whereas with a classic game learning is actually only a means to an end and the fun of the game comes first.
A simulation, in a business context, is a game that gives the player the freedom to tackle and test certain tasks within the simulation. This allows the person involved to fail within this context, to learn from it and to try again without having to fear real consequences.
While the characteristics of a simulation and a serious game are 1-to-1 similar up to now, the difference between both approaches is the desired business goal.
In Serious Games, the aim is to find solutions to real problems through the playful involvement of the users, which they had not yet come across in their direct and real environment. It can therefore also be described as a kind of ‚crowdsourcing tool‘.
In a simulation, on the other hand, the game ’simulates‘ a real process that is unavoidable from a company’s point of view. This means that the player of the simulation is trained for a very specific behaviour or that individual skills are to be consciously promoted.
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