Gamification Design Spectrum

(Implicit vs Explicit)

There is a spectrum of gamification when designing into educational content. That spectrum is polarized into implicit vs explicit designs. This knowledge will be important to determine what type of gamification design you want for your learning environment.

Implicit Gamification Design

This is a type of gamification when the visual design DOES NOT look like a game. It has "implied" game elements integrated onto a traditional non-game content layout.

Kahn Academy learning website is an example of an education platform that integrated implicit gamification onto their learning system.

We can tell that this is an implicit gamification design because:

  1. They have a point system called "Mastery Points"

  2. Cute figure on the bottom left builds a social relatedness to encourage.

The purpose of pointing out Kahn Academy is to show that they have a two simple gamification design elements. This may or may not be a great design. We would need to do a case study of this learning platform in order to determine if this is a well designed learning experience utilizing gamification.

Explicit Gamification Design

This is a type of gamification when the visual design DOES look like a game. It explicitly is a game without hiding it. During the true gaming experience, learners will learn the course objectives.

Minecraft and Classcraft are both excellent examples of explicit gamification designs. They both look like games and are both actual enjoyable games. However, both of these are educational games with objectives designed to learn and fulfill learning objectives and manage the class.

Moderate Gamification Design

Kahn Academy is on the spectrum of being an implicit gamification design. Minecraft Education and Classcraft both are on the spectrum of being an explicit gamification design. Gamification can also be somewhere in the middle of the spectrum.

Duolingo leans on the side of being in the middle maybe with visual elements that errs on the side of explict. On this page, the desired action button is very clear. The designer of duolingo learner's experience clearly wants the user to click on the bright green button "GET STARTED".

The technique of making sure the learner will see the button clearly to click on is call the "desert oasis" game design. Like in a desert, suddenly there is an oasis paradise In designing a game, the desired action button on the page of the learning interface must be very clear for the learner to click. Hierarchy must also be very clear.

We will learn more about game techniques in game techniques page.

Break down the wall!

Understanding the differences between implicit gamification designs and explicit gamification designs will help you as educators to not limit yourselves to only one side of the gamification design spectrum. Keeping the design spectrum in mind should help break down limitations, stereotypes, and any negative stigmas embedded in poor gamification designs in the past.

  • Gamification does not have to look only like a game where it will be more distracting than beneficial.

  • Gamification is NOT just traditional learning format effortlessly slapping on points, graphical badges, and setting up a leaderboard. It is beyond that.

Understanding this differences will help you apply the Octalysis gamification framework into your teaching in your classroom.

You are READY

to learn the 8 Core Drives.

Move on ahead to learn about the same motivational 8 core drives that make games so fun and craft this knowledge into your classroom experience. You'll learn how each core drives interplay with each other by complimenting and contrasting.