Gamification | Penn University – Online Course

Jesse Schell Talks:

Gamification in Context


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What is a Game?


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Game Elements

1] What is Gamification?

After the introductory material on the course, the first topic we need to cover is what gamification actually means. As we’ll see, there isn’t universal agreement. However, there are a set of concepts and examples that are clearly within the scope of gamification.

  • 1.1 Introduction
  • 1.2 Course overview and logistics
  • 1.3 Gamification defined
  • 1.4 Why study gamification?
  • 1.5 History of gamification
  • 1.6 Categories and examples

Optional Materials

2] Games

You can’t understand gamification without understanding games. This unit explains why the concept of games is deeper than most people realize, and the game-based foundations for gamification.

  • 2.1 Gamification in context
  • 2.2 What is a game?
  • 2.3 Games and Play
  • 2.4 Video games
  • 2.5 It’s Just a Game?

Optional Materials

WEEK 1 HOMEWORK: Quiz (due September 9)

3] Game Thinking

The ways game designers approach their craft is also the way to tackle a gamification project. Seeing situations through the lens of game design is an essential skill in this area.

Optional Materials

4] Game Elements

The raw materials of games and gamification are called game elements. We’ll earn how to break down a game into its constituent parts and apply them to create gamified systems.

Optional Materials

WEEK 2 HOMEWORK: Quiz; Written assignment 1 (due September 9)

5] Psychology and Motivation (I)

Gamification is a technique for motivation, so it ties very directly into psychology. This unit introduces the behavioral psychology concepts relevant to gamification.

Optional Materials

6] Psychology and Motivation (II)

The previous unit explains the benefits of a behavioral approach to gamification; this one identifies the risks and alternatives.

  • 6.1 Limits of behaviorism
  • 6.2 Dangers of behaviorism
  • 6.3 Extrinsic and intrinsic rewards
  • 6.4 How rewards can de-motivate
  • 6.5 Self-determination theory
  • 6.6 First half wrap-up


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Optional Materials

WEEK 3 HOMEWORK: Quiz; Written assignment 2 (due September 16)

7] Gamification Design Framework

Gamification done well is a form of design. This unit provides a six-step framework to apply to any gamification project.

8] Design Choices

Saying that gamification is a form of design means that it should involve a creative, human-centered, thoughtful process to achieve the best results. This unit identifies important considerations and options.

      8.1 Two approaches to gamification Exp

Optional Materials

WEEK 4 HOMEWORK: Quiz (due September 23); Written assignment 3 (due September 30)

9] Enterprise Gamification

Particular challenges and opportunities when applying gamification inside an organization.

  • 9.1 Enterprise applications
  • 9.2 Workplace motivations
  • 9.3 The game vs. the job
  • 9.4 Playbor
  • 9.5 Daniel Debow interview

Optional Materials

10] Social Good and Behavior Change

How to apply gamification to make the world better, or to improve people’s well-being, primarily through behavior change techniques.

Optional Materials

WEEK 5 HOMEWORK: Work on Written Assignment 3 (due September 30)

11] Critiques and Risks

There are many legitimate limitations, concerns, and dangers from gamification. Some of them can be avoided through thoughtful design, but others must be considered directly in any implementation.

  • 11.1 Pointsification
  • 11.2 Exploitationware
  • 11.3 Gaming the game
  • 11.4 Legal issues
  • 11.5 Regulatory issues

Optional Materials

12] Beyond the Basics

The final unit details gamification-related techniques that go beyond those covered throughout the course, and concludes with a look toward the future.

Optional Materials

FINAL EXAM (due October 7)


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