Introduction to Octalysis Gamification Framework

What makes games so addicting and fun?

It is nearly effortless and takes NO discipline to start playing our favorite game. However, it takes more effort and tremendous amount of discipline to quit playing our favorite games. Why is this not the case for learning in school and doing work? What are the driving forces and motivation behind "why is it is so easy to be addicted to games?"

Octalysis gamification framework breaks down all human motivations that potentially leads to addiction and obsessions into the 8 motivational core drives. This theory can also be applied into a learning environment to help learners to also be motivated to learn. It may or may not have the same strong effect as being addicted to gambling or being addicted to gaming for hundreds of hours. But understanding the basic knowledge of the 8 core drives will help you as educators to understand what core drives each student is more motivated by. It is not an exact science but more of a human sense as teachers build human relations with their students.

Games are not addicting and fun because of the fun graphics. They are fun because game designers have a deep instinctual understanding of a player's behavior. Fun graphics are the initial eye catching element. But what prolongs the fun experience derives from the 8 core drives. The Octalysis octagon has a CD (Core Drive) per corner. Each has a full term listed below:

  • CD1 Epic Meaning and Calling: This is the CD that makes you believe that the thing you are doing is much greater than yourself in doing something great and impactful.

  • CD2 Development of Accomplishment: This is the CD that makes you feel satisfied while making great progress towards a goal or status.

  • CD3 Empowerment of Creative Feedback: This is the CD when you make a good choice and you feel like the decision you made makes you feel gratified.

  • CD4 Ownership and Possession: This is the CD where you are motivated when you own something you thing it is valuable.

  • CD5 Social Influence and Relatedness: This is the CD where you are motivated because of anything related to other humans.

  • CD6 Scarcity and Impatience: This is the CD where you are motivated because something is limited, exclusive, or difficult to acquire.

  • CD7 Unpredictability and Curiosity: This is the CD where you are motivated because you want to know the unknown and want to know what will happen next.

  • CD8 Loss and Avoidance: This is the CD when you are motivated because you do not want something negative to happen to you. Such as losing something so you avoid certain things to prevent that negative thing from happening.

In any game, movie, or stories, a good content always has multiple CDs if not all. Same applies to learning and education. If all 8 CDs are present in student's learning experiment, they will be more willing to learn and stay engaged.

To understand more about each more drive, keep reading deeper into each of the Octalysis hemispheres.

Gamification 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 vital in determining what type of gamification design you want for your learning environment.

To expand your knowledge of the Gamification Spectrum