Gamification has gained in popularity since the term was first introduced in 2003 by Nick Pelling, a British-born computer programmer and inventor. By 2013, over 70% of Forbes Global 2000 surveyed said they planned to use gamification for the purpose of marketing and customer retention.
Gamification draws on a number of psychological concepts, especially regarding motivation, behaviour and personality. As Gabe Zichermann, a celebrated gamification guru, puts it, ‘If you can make something more fun, and include notions of play, you can get people to do things they otherwise might not want to do’. This is because gaming leverages people’s natural desire for competition, achievement, status and much more.
Gamification is simply a means of tapping into the psychology of gaming. Applied to learning and development, gamification encourages people to ‘own’ their development, move outside of their comfort zone, share best practice, learn new skills and reinforce what they know.