miércoles, 15 de mayo de 2013

Epic Gamification Hangout with Prof. Kevin Werbach - "Gamification: A New Adventure"

Epic Gamification Hangout with Prof. Kevin Werbach 

"Gamification: A New Adventure" with Prof. Kevin Werbach

Hi all! today was a very special day because we had with us Prof. Kevin Werbach! For those who still don´t know Prof. Kevin Werbach (@kwerb), here he is! Now a bit more serious, he is one of the top gamification experts worldwide, a truly awesome teacher that we had the pleasure to have as the leader of the Gamification MOOC on Coursera and the author of the book "For the Win", probably one of the best books to get introduced into the Gamification world. 

Kevin Werbach on Gamification: "A new Adventure"

Epic Win Blog: Hello everyone! We just started broadcasting! My name is Victor Manrique and i run a gamification blog called Epic Win Blog, and today is a very special day since we have with us one of the leading experts on gamification: Prof. Kevin Werbach! Hello Professor Werbach!

Prof. Kevin Werbach: Thank you Victor, im glad to be here!

Epic Win Blog: For those who still don´t know Prof. Kevin Werbach (@kwerb), here he is! Now a bit more serious, he is one of the top gamification experts worldwide, a truly awesome teacher that we had the pleasure to have as the leader of the Gamification MOOC on Coursera and the author of the book "For the Win", probably one of the best books to get introduced into the Gamification world. So as a way to start this interview im going to ask you Kevin, to tell us a bit more about yourself, and how did this gamification trip start. How did it all begin?
Prof. Kevin Werbach: So its funny because my background it’s actually as a lawyer, I got a degree in law and then I in teach in business school, at the Wharton School of University of Pennsylvania, but most of my research in teaching up until the last few years is not on gamification at all, was on internet and telecommunications policy, internet regulation and general issues in business law.
Anyway, I’ve always been interested in how the internet is changing the way we live, changing works, changing all kinds of institutions and society, and for a number of years I’ve been following the world of video games as an industry but also some of the outgrows into other areas based on games, and I found it tremendously fascinating.
But probably, it was Dan Hunter, one of my working colleagues who was studying virtual worlds and legal issues, like “what happens if you are playing Second Life or a MMORPG and you spend hundreds of hours and then someone takes it away from you or even the game company takes it away from you?”; do you have any legal property or what? And that was the legal question…
But it got him involved in the broader field of studying virtual worlds and with a bunch of colleagues he started a guild in World of Warcraft for researchers who study MMO Games and he said to me:
-hey! You want to join the guild? - And I said, I don’t feel studying video games but sure! It seems interesting! And it was unbelievable fascinating and it got my involved in seeing the depth and richness in some of these games and so, for a period of time I was looking for some between the amazingness I saw happening from games and things that I did as a legal scholar and a business professor and when gamification came along, which was the integration of games and business, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to dig deeper deeper and to develop the expertise that I gain and be able to research and teach about it.

Epic Win Blog: so talking a bit more about your gamification MOOC, id like to ask you how is it to be a teacher there, like having more students that you ever had within a class, and if this new MOOC is different from the former one, like new content added maybe?
Prof. Kevin Werbach: So, I’m fascinated by the potential of MOOCs and online courses, and we don’t know exactly where they are going, there are a lot of risks and downsides, and all kinds of mistakes that we all make but, they are an extraordinary platform for me as a teacher to experiment and to reach beyond the boundaries.
I can reach a large number of students than a classroom but to be able to connect with so many people around the world is exciting and the real fascinating thing was how many students were in the MOOC, the first session of my gamification class got around 82.000 registrations and we finished at 63.000, and three quarters of those people are not students, they are not people in school full time, most of them are just people working who are interested in this knowledge, in this understanding how don’t right now have any access to education, because they are not in the school system or the University system.
I’m fascinated about this possibility, it’s also difficult for a teacher not to have the one-to-one interactivity that you have in the classroom but on the other hand there are different things that you can do in a MOOC that you can’t or you don’t want to do in a classroom, and for me, I found the experience of having to work together all this video segments, to get the structure of a class, constantly thinking about how do I engage people, given they are not going to be at the same place, watch it at the same time, coming from different countries, different languages and cultures, a tremendous challenge.
Quite frankly, it´s not that different from the engagement that we are talking in the course and in fact I applied some of the same techniques, but that part to me is what it was so exciting and the results of the course show that, and i´m really happy with it, all of the engagement, and it´s one of the most successful courses on the coursera platform but it´s still a learning process for meand for everyone in figuring out how I do this well.
So, I was fortunate that the first session, was pretty much successful, there were a whole set of technical problems on every side, a lot of the about the whole concept being so new and the second round has been much more stable, so I corrected a bunch of areas that I found, things that I changed but basically used the same material that I used the first time

Epic Win Blog: And following this topic about the gamification MOOC, many of the content was in your book “For the Win”, and there is something i´d like to focus on, and it´s your gamification design framework, which is called 6D, so will you be able to explain us how it works, and most important if it is like a general model or if we have to change it a bit when applying it to something different from business?

Prof. Kevin Werbach: Yeah, the 6D framework was something that i developed to people using gamification some high level guidings about how to develop this kind of systems. the first piece of it was to think about it as a design process, because i saw and i still see lots of organisations that try to do gamification, thinking that is all about the tools, its just ok, we need badges, lets get some badges in here, we need a levellin system here, lets put it here, and where those are important and i talk in for the win and in the course about game elements, you need to step back and say, this is something im designing, what am i designing? And you need to think about the whole experience, so that was the first step, to make people to think about it as steps, as an iterative process, just try something, deliver it to the people, get some feedback and change it based on what you´ve learnt. 

So the 6D framework was based on making people ask the right question, and that first right question is to find your business objectives, before you think in anything else, what´s the point? What´s the purpose of doing this? Because you are not doing this for the sake of having fun or to sell it, you are doing it to other purpose whatever it is.
So you start with your business objectives and you continue with your target behaviours, you have to break down what you want people to do, what are the actions that you want the players of the game to take, which again is a step that people tend to ignore, they say, all right we need people to do this thing but they don´t realise you need to break them down into tasks.
The you define your players, you need to deeply understand how is going to use this system? What are they like? What you know about them? And how do you link them to the kind of objectives and behaviours you identified?
Those really are the critical steps, before you think specifically about anything else, and then you create what i call the activity loops, which are micro and macro levels of your gamified system, what people actually do, what´s the feedback they get, and that´s when we really start to get into nuts and bolts.
And the the fifth one is a really critical one, i say, step back one you´ve got the schedule and see how your system looks like and ask yourself, is it fun? because one of my findings on gamification is that people get so focused on what they are building, and they´ll forget it needs to be engaging, it needs to be fun, and fun could be many things, but the important thing is to step back and say, is it fun?
And then you have those 5 things, then you deploy, you figure out the specific elements, the specific platform or the tools you want to deploy.
So this is a general structure, it can be applied to any kind of gamification, but the thing is that this is a design proccess, and you need to model, prototype, and iterate all the time.
So thats the general framework and i´ve used it in many different situations and the feedback i got is that it is useful, it´s simple and clear and that actually produces good output at the end.

Epic Win Blog: So, you have mention badges, and as we can see in "For the Win", PBL are kind of the very basics of gamification, but obviously, we need much more to crate a gamified system, so, apart from PBLs, are there any other must-have elements that we shoudl include in a gamified system or not really? Why so?

Prof. Kevin Werbach: No, part of what i try to do is to argue than gamification is broader than what most people focus on, and it is also limited, so, gamification is not everything that involves games, it´s not everything that involves fun, it´s different i think that for example using serious games for job simulations like pilots, and that´s also derived from games, but i think it´s different from gamification.
Gamification is really about the motivational uses of game techniques and game elements, but within that, the space is pretty broad. So PBLs (points, badges and leaderboards) are a bit chunk of gamification but not the whole thing, and that´s a big message that i tried to communicate.
What that means is that there no set of things that is required for gamification, what is required is a game design orientation, if you think about yourself as a game designer and you ask questions like: how i do get people to play, how i motivate them, constantly look at what you can take from games, then you are gamifying and that´s true regardless of what kind of techniques and tools you use.
So i think, it is an important lesson to not think that there is a specific set of techniques or elements that you have to apply because again, it´s a design process, and the most important thing is to understand if you are using the right techniques for your goals and for your players.

Epic Win Blog: So, we have talked about World of Warcraft, probably one of the best games ever done and it is curious how i we get into the apple store or the Google Play store, also many of the top downloaded apps and top income apps are MMOs or MMORPGs, so what is it that these games have? There should be something about these games that is fun,. fascinating and truly engagin people. What can we learn and extract from them to apply it to gamification, what do you think about it?

Prof. Kevin Werbach: Well, i´d like to say that first of all, MMO are a big succesful segment of the industry and there are also other segments of the industry that are completely different, and if you look at the big numbers, there are many FPS (first person shooters), things like Call of Duty (CoD) and so forth and also some of the most succesful ones are games like The Sims.
So MMOs, are a big piece of the game market, that´s right, and what i learned from World of Warcraft was that a virtual world like MMORPGs have the capacity to be  tremendously multitasking, so there are 20 or 30 different things that you can spend yout time on during a week in constantly evolving ways, on long periods of time and with lots of other people and they are all different because the game is that broad and that rich, and that´s kind of what attracts people, but also PvPs, like you want to go out there, find people and defeat them? which is also a big group of people, and WoW is obviously a game for you, and if you are someone like me, who doens´t find PvP all that much fun, you can spend hours and hours in WoW and never have anything to do with the PvP experience, because you have hundreds of other things, including the trading house to make money for your character and so forth.
So i think that what i really learn is that if there is room and space in a game to adress many different types of players, then the game is great, and that a particullary important lesson for gamification, because you are typically not building a system for one very narrow-to-define player, you might have a narrow population, like people that work here or people that buy this kind of thing, but people´s motivation within the game play even within cathegories of people are very diverse. What we can learn is that if we get different people in different levels then we can build a very powerful system and that lasts for a long time. 

Epic Win Blog:  So, as a way to finish this interview, and since i know that you always say "I don´t know what i want to do when i grow up", so, what is the next step now that you are into the gamification world? Is it going to be a new book? Maybe some more advanced MOOCs or even a gamification school within the Wharton School? 

Prof. Kevin Werbach:  So, i say that because i don´t wan to grow up, because i don´t want to lose that sense of fun that we have when we play and that´s all. As you pointed out, if i had just focused on the adult mentality, then i would never have started on gamification or doing MOOCs, like i´m a legal scholar and i teach business people about law, which i still do and i find it very rewarding, but it was exciting to me to get involved in gamification, and the opportunity to get involved in MOOCs, so i want to constantly experiment. With gamification and MOOCs they are very new , there are still lots of things to develop so i expect to be involved in these areas for a while
At this point, i´m not planning an advanced MOOC on gamification, partly because the course that i developed, is designed to give people, just the foundations and the let the people try it and implement it , and maybe some MOOCs on different areas...
But for now, i´m doing more work on gamification, i´m working on a following part of "For the Win", which gets more specific and i´m doing research, one of the greatest challenges is that we have got lots and lots of case studies and lots of examples but not a lot of serious data that lets people decide what the right way to go, partly because this is so new, there wasn´t enough time and enough people but now there is, and that´s also what i´m working in, i´m trying to get a stronger foundation, but for me there´s plenty of room for further innovation and i´m tremendously excited to see what the students have done with the course, what happened with them and that´s just the starting point. 

Epic Win Blog: So sound good Kevin! That was a great interviewthe course was amazing, a lot of content and i´d like to thank you for being here today with us, from me and from all of our viewers, in special the gamification spanish speakers community and hope to see you soon! Good luck with the new book! 

Prof. Kevin Werbach: Thanks for all Victor! if anyone wants to follow me, i´m @kwerb on Twitter where i just update everything and you can see all news! Thanks all viewers and see you soon!  

Victor Manrique


+Victor Manrique