The gamification of homework and chores

For many years now gamification has been proliferating in our society in a variety of areas, motivating sales, restaurant patronage, and more. The most obvious example of an app utilising this would be the earlier incarnations of FourSquare, offering the title of ‘Mayor’ to any customer checking in frequently over a period of time (FourSquare has recently steered away from this focus). According to Google ex-CEO Eric Schmidt “everything in the future online is going to look like a multiplayer game”.

One area in which we’ve seen the permeation of gamification is around chores and homework. It makes sense – your child doesn’t want to do their chores, they’d rather play video games. What if you could combine the two? Two birds, one stone.

A great, and simple, example of the gamification of chores is Chore Wars. After I created a character whose special skills are ‘organising parties’ as well as ‘taking the bins out’ (I’m a bit of a Saruman lookalike) I’m charged with the task of creating a party and then I need to ‘CLAIM MY CHORES!!’. I’m genuinely excited to claim some chores to add to my skill set, but am still waiting to find people who share my excitement to join my party…

Gaming can also identify leadership traits, with many opportunities in the realm of games to display characteristics beneficial to leadership and to be thrown into leadership positions that the user might not normally have been exposed to.

A key takeaway here, however, is that gamifying your experience will only take off should it actually add value to the user’s experience. Your users must identify a tangible or intangible reward for their participation and success for it to truly take flight.

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