Here’s my homework from the second assignment in Professor Kevin Werbach’s thought-provoking (and free!) Gamification course on the Coursera MOOC. To have the best sense of the progression of thought in the course, you might want to check out my first assignment here before reading this second assignment. All of my assignment responses are copyright 2013.
The Second Assignment:
The scenario this time involved an inquiry from the Mayor of a mythical mid-sized U.S. city. The Mayor wants to address the issue of health and obesity in city workers. Here are the facts we were given:
- The city has 50,000 employees
- Same rates of obesity as the U.S. average: 34.4% overweight (but not obese) and 33.9% of them are obese
- 53.1% of the city’s employees do not meet the U.S. Physical Activity Guidelines for aerobic physical activity
- 76% of them fail to meet the Guidelines for muscle-strengthening activity.
- The city pays for health benefits for its employees and this cost is a huge part of the city budget.
- It has been determined that a 3% improvement in the average physical fitness of city employees would amount to a US$94 million reduction in annual city health costs; a 5% improvement would save US$188 million.
We were asked to provide a high-level proposal for an internal, gamified solution to help the Mayor achieve his goals by appealing specifically to both intrinsic (doing something for its own sake) and extrinsic (i.e. tangible rewards) motivators. It could be high tech or no-tech, but had to be realistic in either case. Maximum submission length: 500 words. In my submission, I noted the intrinsic/extrinsic elements in brackets.
Introducing an intranet (city employees only) web site and matching mobile app: “The Virtual Gym,” with different areas, like a real gym:
Warmup Area: All employees enter on login, and answer one fun daily quiz question about value of stretching, and dangers of obesity. Informative feedback; employees can retake question until they succeed. Points (decreasing each attempt), and access to other rooms, awarded for correct answer, and for every five logins. Employees also earn points for contributing helpful questions for game updates. [Extrinsic: Feedback Loop, Fixed Ratio, Completion Contingent, Status, Access; Intrinsic: Competence, Relatedness]
Employees can then choose one of three “rooms” [Intrinsic: Autonomy]:
Team Room, containing:
- “Heart Rate”: a fun, timed challenge game teaching benefits of aerobic workouts, incorporating US Physical Activity Guidelines, with informative feedback. Points awarded based on how long employee maintains the game’s increasing pace. Points also for contributing helpful information incorporated in game updates. [Intrinsic: Competence, Relatedness; Extrinsic: Fixed Interval, Status]
- Class Schedule: Employees post details of an upcoming aerobics class in the city. Points awarded for posting, for signing up, and recording completion. [Intrinsic: Relatedness, Competence; Extrinsic: Status]
Weight Room, including:
- “Buff Zone” – a fun, strength-themed game awarding points and levels of Power for learning the benefits of muscle-building workouts, incorporating US Physical Activity Guidelines, with informative feedback; points also for contributing helpful information incorporated in game updates. [Intrinsic: Competence, Relatedness; Extrinsic: Status, Power]
- Buddy List: Employees post request for a workout partner. Points awarded for posting a workout, for signing up, and later recording completion. [Intrinsic: Relatedness, Competence; Extrinsic: Status]
Locker Room, including:
- Locker: Employees track progress on their fitness and weight loss goals against Guidelines, track points earned, and can opt out of default sharing of that information in Locker Room and Lobby Score Card by “locking” their locker (avoiding possible disincentive). [Intrinsic: Autonomy, Competence; Extrinsic: Status, Power of Defaults]
- A Scale field records weight entries over time; this data is tallied and shared anonymously as part of the cumulative city Score Card. [Intrinsic: Competence]
- New levels of badges are unlocked and awarded on locker door based on number, frequency, and type of goals achieved. [Intrinsic: Competence; Extrinsic: Status, Access]
- Chat Rooms (lunch hours only): Sauna (male IDs only), Steam (female IDs only), Jacuzzi (co-ed access): Three peer-monitored chat rooms, where employees can relax, share workout details, and chat. [Intrinsic: Autonomy, Relatedness]
The Lobby (available from all screens):
- Goal Post: Select accomplishment data shared from lockers appears here. A free “healthy lunch coupon” is awarded randomly to one person on this list each week. [Intrinsic: Competence; Extrinsic: Status, Variable Ratio, Tangible Stuff]
- Score Card: A leaderboard showing top 20 scores from prior month, and current cumulative percentage of fitness improvement for all participants combined compared against prior month, year, US average, and city goals.
- Announcements: Health-related bulletins, and news of city-wide communal prizes earned (ex: healthy snack machines for break rooms) [Intrinsic: Relatedness, Competence; Extrinsic: Tangible Stuff]
Peer Feedback on My Submission:
As with the first assignment, this one was graded anonymously and randomly by five of my peer students. Again, I earned a perfect score of “5” from each of them. Here is the written feedback I received (one person didn’t include any):
I hope this gives you ideas of how you might incorporate some elements of gamification in your own projects.