4 Phases of the Player Journey

All epic game experiences has these 4 phases. The 4 phases of a player journey divides up the learning experience into the acronym DOSE:

  • Discovery

  • Onboarding

  • Scaffolding

  • Endgame

Instead of clumping experience into one big chunk, divide it up into these four phases.

Phase 1: Discovery

Day 1

This is phase 1 of 4 and is the shortest phase. This is the phase that introduces the experience before going into the actual experience. This is important because it is the most forgot because it like a trailer, or the text on the back of the book before an epic story. It is even the book cover design before opening up the book. The experience of the packaging outside the story is just as important because it is included as the entire experience.

Phase 2: Onboarding

Day 1 - Week 1

This is phase 2 of 4 and is the second shortest phase. This phases onboards the students to experience their learning course. Typically in a non gamified course, this is when the teacher goes over the criteria, syllabus, and the overview of the course. But in a gamified experience, this sets up the story. This would be like the prologue that leads up to the first chapter. So instead of a syllabus in a classroom, setup the class so that it has an epic prologue and introduction. Make belief and creativity is welcomed in this phase. This phase is important because educators should not overwhelm their students. Else this can demotivate them into a black hat motivational core drive, fear of failing and succeeding. It's important to have students learn mainly intrinsically and in the white hat region on the Octalysis. During this phase, in order to achieve intrinsic learning, making students feel smart and work hard is vital for their experience.

Phase 3: Scaffolding

Week 1 - Year 1+

This is phase 3 of 4 and is the longest phase. This is the phase that students are grinding to achieve their goals. Reading, writing, discussing, creating, presenting, turning in, repeat. This is the uphill part of the journey when teachers and students must remain focused on their reward. Always remind students why they are learning and taking this course. Each grind is a repeat reminder to the objective of the course. The purpose of scaffolding is to season the students into veterans of the course.

Phase 4: Endgame

Year 1+

This is phase 4 of 4 and is the second longest phase. Sometimes there are multiple endgames when there are multiple seasons. So after the 1st endgame phase, they can enter into a new course and re-start onboarding and scaffolding to journey back into the endgame phase. Endgame is usually the last couple weeks of the course or if it's a short course it's the last 10~20% of the course.

The goal of the endgame phase is for the students to display their progress and become veterans that can contribute back to the class. They should be ready to teach their knowledge to others. An important question to ask in this phase is "why would students continue to expand their knowledge after this course?"

Watch this masterclass lesson taught by gamification pioneer, Yu-kai Chou, and gamification consultant, Chris Tomasso. In this video, they teach about the 4 player journey and the structure around it it's applied. The video is not created for specifically education, but the principles can be applied to the education as well.

Watch the video below.


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