[9 June 2013] In continuation of the first assignment, here’s the second written assignment which was part of the class on Gamification on Coursera offered by University of Pennsylvania‘s (The Wharton School) Prof Kevin Werbach.
Project Part II: Motivation
You are approached by Ryan Morrison, the mayor of a medium-sized city in the Midwest of the United States. He has heard that you know a lot about gamification and believes that gamification techniques can transform city government.
He would like to start with the health of city employees. The city has 50,000 employees and they happen to have exactly the same rates of obesity as the U.S. average: 34.4% overweight (but not obese) and 33.9% of them are obese. 53.1% of the city’s employees do not meet the U.S. Physical Activity Guidelines for aerobic physical activity and 76% of them fail to meet the Guidelines for muscle-strengthening activity. The city pays for health benefits for its employees and this cost is a huge part of the city budget. Economists in Mayor Morrison’s office have estimated that a 3% improvement in the average physical fitness of city employees would amount to a US$94 million reduction in annual city health costs; a 5% improvement would save US$188 million.
Describe in general terms a gamified system that could effectively motivate behavior change to address the challenge presented above. Specifically, explain how the system would effectively incorporate intrinsic motivation, extrinsic motivation, or both. Your answer should address the fact that this is an internal gamification project, targeted at the institutional goals of the city government. The system can use any technology (or no technology!), so long as the resources required seem justified by the scope of the opportunity.
Format: Maximum of 500 words. A normal answer will be 2-3 paragraphs of text, and/or a set of bullet points. Your submission should be self-contained (not requiring the grader to view any outside materials) and should provide sufficient details for the grader to understand the basis for your statements.
Please remember that you have agreed to the Coursera Honor Code as part of your enrollment for this course. Your submission must be your own work, and not copied from another student or an online resource such as Wikipedia. Graders will be instructed to assign a score of “0” to plagiarized work.
Write your answer in the text box below (500 word maximum).
The system would begin with looking for volunteers to be “fitness champions” in each department. Inviting volunteers initially, will quickly bring out players (city employees) who have intrinsic motivation (thinking it’s fun, belief in fitness etc). At this stage, they will spread the word about benefits of being fitter, savings to the city translating to the whole society, competition between departments, fun elements including funny badges assigned to the each department on a common website etc.
The program website will allow each employee to pick from a list of many goals. Picking from listed goals, as opposed to players having to come up with their own ones at the early stage, will make it easier (Onboarding ) for the players to begin things they find enjoyable (giving them a sense of autonomy and control) – this too would appeal to the intrinsic motivation of players. Once this process has begun, intrinsically motivated players will continue in their momentum and continue to perform combinations of “healthy actions” and make their own goals.
Each “healthy action” is a mesurable activity which leads to the accumulation of points in the player’s profile (eg: using stairs instead of the elevator). Achieving each goal leads to receiving a badge. Players get to choose whether or not their points and badges are visible to other employees and/or departments on their profile. Their points will still count towards a total department score. Department scores will be ranked on a dynamic leaderboard. This will lead to a some competition between them and also a sense of teamwork within departments – both of which will motivate participation. Each department will get to choose a mascot/avatar and their movement (up or down) on the leaderboard may be represented by fun animations involving their avatars – eg: Avatar of one department climbing a peak and hositing a flag when they top the leader board. Or one department’s avatar crushing that of another after moving past them.
Further, the system would have extrinsic motivators such as rewards:
– the top department each month gets to keep a rolling trophy (tangible).
– Players may become MVP/MFE (Most Valuable Player/Most Fit Employee) of their department or city-wide which gives recognition.
– winning departments each quarter could be taken for a picnic/retreat and are given T-Shirts etc.
From a technical perspective, the system described will track “health actions” on a web site and include a trash talk board, accessible to the players. Installing cameras in staircases can be used to track their usage (accumulates points). Just using staircases (instead of elevators) is one simple lifestyle change which give many health benefits. Cameras to track elevator-vs-staircase usage ratios of departments could give another fun achievement or comparison datapoint. The system would also allow plugging in scores from other existing systems like Nike+/Fitocracy. If the city “owns” or can adopt community gyms; (depending on the costs), systems may be installed allowing tracking of player’s exercise activity. (490 words)
Evaluation/feedback on the above work
RUBRIC (points will be multiplied x2)
Did the student effectively answer both portions of the question:
0 No answer or completely irrelevant answer.
1 Either describes a gamified system or explained the relationship to motivation, but not both.
2 Describes a gamified system and explains its relationship to motivation.
Score from your peers: 2
Did the student effectively address the question about motivation:
0 No answer or completely irrelevant answer.
1 Discusses motivation but does not coherently apply the concepts of intrinsic (activities desirable in and of themselves) and extrinsic (activities desirable to achieve some external factors such as rewards, status, or power) motivation.
2 Explains how the proposed system would involve intrinsic or extrinsic motivation, but does not address the context of an internal gamification system for an institution such as city government.
3 Explains how the proposed system would involve intrinsic or extrinsic motivation within the context of an internal gamification system.
Score from your peers: 3
What I liked was…
peer 2 → everything, clear and undertandable
peer 3 → This was a really good submission.. there were some excellent ideas presented and it tied back nicely to the task at hand. It incorporated many elements that were illustrated in the lectures. great stuff!!
peer 4 → the sense of autonomy and freedom to choose the goal to start with
peer 5 → Clearly explained, well-constructed answer.
What could have made this submission better was…
peer 1 → Excellent use of course concepts. Well structured.
peer 2 → a bit more structurated text
peer 3 → not much
peer 4 → The whole Gamification system intrinsic/extrinsic motivation focused too much only to individuals that would be interested from the beginning but not to those whom are not that can be further improve on.
peer 5 → I agreed with mostly everything in your submission, except for the (over) dependence on cameras and other recording equipment as part of the solution – it may be construed as a violation of privacy, especially if the footage is being used for purposes that are not related to security. Just a minor nit.