Gamify Building And Validating Skills

Why not gamify the process of building and validating skills (stages of a skills-based approach)? Most of us enjoy playing games, so why not make the process of validating skills fun – take out some of the formality when it feels like a chore.  It is already happening with computer programmers who are notoriously competitive. They compete in many arenas, such as an open source project where the most elegant solution is accepted or the “cat and mouse” game between hackers and their security counterparts.

Any institution can offer a Mozilla badge and design the rubrics (or the game) behind achieving one.  Why not create a series of simple games based on difficulty level, where once an objective is passed, the player gets an online badge? Framing the rubrics as a game rather than a rigid test might be more attractive for professionals. I know many people who would play a game, but refuse to take a formal test. Another approach is to create a complex game where there are a few winners (who receive badges for their accomplishment).  This is how Codeproject gets a repository of excellently written articles.

Codeproject has a monthly competition where developers submit articles based on a technology or application and chooses a winner for the best article in various categories. The winner gets prizes (the July 2013 winner got a mug and two software licenses altogether worth $1,808) and, more importantly, bragging rights (something they can talk about in their experiences).  This contest is very effective because it motivates brilliant web developers to write authoritative articles without getting paid – though it validates their skills. Moreover, the real winners are all the developers seeking guidance who get a treasure trove of articles to help them solve problems.  I have used their articles in many situations and their quality surprises me considering they are free.

A user poses a question on Quora and eager experts respond to it, then an audience ranks the best responses. It is a game because players compete to get the highest ranked response and an overall ranking, establishing credibility for knowledge in a certain subject. Again the audience benefits as they get expert responses to an intriguing question.

I think the process of “gamifying” the building and validating of skills can be used in almost every profession.  It might be a way to motivate many of us who shy away from promoting ourselves or dislike “doing work after work”.

Integrating games into business processes is gaining momentum. Badgeville, a competitor of Mozilla, has built a portfolio of products based on gamification. And Wiki has a website with the purpose of supporting gamification (which they define as):

A business strategy which applies game design techniques to non-game experiences to drive user behavior.

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