A Thought on Achievement Systems

In an effort to create value in your employees and your company, you may wonder how to give internal rewards to employees that generate intrinsic motivation to improve themselves and become proactive in their own development. That’s something that many employers (and employees) would enjoy and value.

With the trends that we’re seeing in e-learning towardgamification, I might suggest the concept of an achievement system.

Years spent watching how people process things, learn, and what they perceive as rewards for learning have left us a great deal of information to gather and process. The best world to pull this information from has three forms: successful companies, successful schools, and the video game industry. Of those three places, in order of societal impact, I would go with this:

  1. Video Games
  2. Successful Business
  3. Successful Classrooms

That said, let’s talk about the video game world. In video games, there are rules. You learn the rules and you play the game. If you master the rules, you win. If not, you lose. In order to encourage people to play the game correctly, simply winning a match isn’t enough. If that were the case, then people wouldn’t ever get bored with a single game since winning or getting to the end is the most important thing.

However, the truth is that they do.

Often.

As it stands in the video game world, most game players – casual or otherwise – in our time fall into three large camps:

  • FPS
  • RPG
  • Fighter

That said, all of these video game types vary WILDLY from one another in (1) the way their worlds are constructed and (2) how that world is interacted with. That said, they all have one particular thing in common, and that thing is this: a distinct reward system. The reward system of note in our present time is the now-popular “achievement” system. Mind you, there’s always been this item present in any game system:

  • getting a special sword for completing a quest
  • seeing “double kill” in large, contrasting text appear on the screen
  • game plus menus
  • infinite ammo for special guns
  • access to secret areas
  • extra in-game currency

The list could go on forever, but I have made that point, I think.

So how does this help us?

The concept is simple really: people like being rewarded. It helps them measure their capability and gives them something to work for other than completing work. Achievements are hard to get, so a person doing minimal work cannot get an achievement, but a person that spends hours grinding through level after level to get that one item will. At first, this might not sound like a big deal, but dangle a small icon and say “this icon is yours if you do this and .. oh, we’ll make it public…” and you may get run over by people trying to reach the goal.

If you are searching for an idea how powerful this concept is, consider the following:

Seeing the power this wields for shaping behavior in a given context, who wouldn’t want to tap into that power?

Ultimately, the idea is to present a channel for challenge, motivation and a little bit of fun and I think the achievement system would be the best way to go about doing so. If I leave the system is place, you and I don’t have to push as hard since the icon will draw on their inner motivation to achieve if they have it in them and make them work harder than we would even think to ask them to.

Me on Rails for Zombies

This is my progress on learning Ruby for Rails — a programming language I don’t know — just so I can have that icon (and a t-shirt which I will also enjoy). Just an icon. This is something I enjoy anyway and find engaging, but imagine how your staff could develop if courses like these were developed with a company-wide achievement system for which they could be recognized.

What are your thoughts on this? We’d love to know in the comments below.

In an effort to create value in your employees and your company, you may wonder how to give internal rewards to employees that generate intrinsic motivation to improve themselves and become proactive in their own development. That’s something that many employers (and employees) would enjoy and value.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s