Gamification increases engagement, we all know that.
But what does it really mean?
Adam Grant gives grand food for thought to understanding its meaning:
“I think the emphasis on employee engagement has been good for the quality of work life—and there’s a lot of evidence linking engagement to higher job performance.
But I think engagement is old wine in a new bottle. Engagement has cognitive, emotional, and behavioral components. Cognitive engagement is attention and absorption, emotional engagement is energy and enthusiasm, and behavioral engagement is dedication and persistence. We already have a name for those states: motivation.”
Despite Grant talks about employee engagement and not about games, these two are tied with the need to understand motivation.
For this reason, we can conclude that gamification increases engagement by stimulating our motivational triggers.
However, the best part is, you know were increased motivation can take people – even to the moon. And, gamification could be the launchpad.
The following eight must-read books about gamification and game thinking will help you understand and apply gamification to increase motivation and engagement:
1. Gamify: How Gamification Motivates People to Do Extraordinary Things
Author: Brian Burke
Burke’s book is a fantastic opener to gamification. The book introduces gamification, game mechanics and experience design. For instance, Burke is resolute to say gamification absorbs people to act through motivation and meaning. Additionally, the book holds many great real-world examples from the corporate world.
2. Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They can Change the World
Author: Jane McGonigal
One of our favorite gamification books. McGonigal explains the science behind why games make us better. McGonical showcases that games make us and the whole world happier, more creative and resilient and able to handle change better. She also points out, that different people like different games, but is adamant that the future will belong to those who can play, understand and design games.
3. For the Win: How Game Thinking Can Revolutionize Your Business
Authors: Kevin Werbach and Dan Hunter
For the Win demonstrates the power of gamification, how it transforms businesses by increasing engagement and motivation. Werbach and Hunter tell how gamification can be implemented and give real-life examples from the corporate world. A great book for widening your perspective to think like a game designer.
4. Actionable Gamification: Beyond Points, Badges, and Leaderboards
Author: Yu-kai Chou
Gamification pioneer Yu-kai Chou tells about his twelve year long journey of obsessive research in creating the Octalysis Framework. He elaborates how to use the framework to create engaging experiences in products, marketing, at the work and in personal lives. Yu-kai’s book is perhaps the most advanced book on game mechanics on this list. In the book, he merges experience design with business and showcases how to reliably improve the return on investments and business metrics.
5. Game Thinking: Innovate Smarter & Drive Deep Engagement with Design Techniques from Hit Games
Author: Amy Jo Kim
Amy Jo Kim says game thinking supercharges your progress in making products that people love. She shows a step-by-step system for creating those products and how to keep people loving them. Having being a game designer in games like The Sims and Ultima Online, she knows how people are glued to engage.
6. The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses
Author: Jesse Schell
An excellent quality assurance book on game design. Schell presents over a 100 set of questions – lenses – for viewing game design. These questions hold persepective from a large variety of fields, like music, theme park design, mathematics, psychology, architecture, and anthropology. The book gives great practical guidance on creating world-class games.
3rd edition coming in January 2019.
7. Play to Learn: Everything You Need to Know About Designing Effective Learning Games
Authors: Sharon Boller & Karl M. Kapp
Games help in learning and are more effective than lectures. Boller and Kapp tell you how to implement, test prototypes and refine learning games in your teaching with loads of real examples of face-to-face and online games. As a bonus, there is an online game for you to play as you read.
8. Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products
Author: Nir Eyal
Hooked is not exactly a gamification book, but it engulfs the reader on a journey of understanding what gets people hooked. Eyal puts forth years of his research, consulting and practical experience in gluing together products and people. He gives his four-step Hook Model process out to help product managers, marketers, designers and those who want to understand how products influence our behavior.
Bonus, because gamificiation is very much tied to motivation, here are three extraordinarily good Ted Talks around understanding motivation: The Puzzle of Motivation, Are We in Control of Our Own Decisions & Flow, the Secret to Happiness.
These books, and Ted Talks, grant a deep understanding of gamification and the connected fields, like psychology and behavioral science. By reading these books you will be on your way to understanding what makes people tick and stick. Read them, apply the knowledge and you will see increased levels of motivation and engagement.
Did we miss your favorite gamification book? Which is it, and why should it be on the list?