Learning is a social activity. We learn on the job. We learn by asking and answering questions. We learn by teaching others.
And that’s why so many thought leaders are now talking about the role of community in customer education. Because more than just content, we need to provide spaces where people can connect about what they’re learning to continue the conversation. And, as we do that, we need to find ways to get learners to engage in those conversations.
The Role of Gamification in Community
Research has found gamification to be an effective approach to get community members involved and enhance user rates1,2,3.
But don’t fall into the trap of thinking that your community needs to resemble Candy Crush. Gamification is made up of a number of different game elements—some of which make more sense in a community context.
Take, for example, some of the most popular social media platforms: Instagram, Facebook, Reddit, and YouTube. What are ways you engage with content? You like it or react to it. Leave comments. Upvote or downvote the content. The same is true in social knowledge sharing platforms, like subReddits, Stack Overflow, or Quora. When something is upvoted or downvoted, or you see a response, there are higher engagement rates with that content.
We can pull these same gamified engagement practices into communities for customer education.
3 Steps to Gamify Learning in Community with Intellum
Gamification is a tool—and to be effective, it has to be applied in the right way. Here are three steps to take to meaningfully apply gamification to your community.
1. Start With Strategy and Business Objectives
We have to always start at the top: What are our overarching business objectives?
From there, we develop goals for our education programs and community efforts.
Any tactics we deploy to increase engagement (including gamification) should ultimately serve our goals and objectives. This keeps us focused on what matters most—instead of engagement vanity metrics that don’t move learners closer to their goal.
Question to ask: What are the business and learning objectives I’m trying to achieve?
2. Map Objectives to Skill Development
With Reputation-Based Gamification in the Intellum platform, learners earn points connected to skill development. As they engage with content around a certain skill, they earn points. The same is true in Community: Rewards for engagement are tied to Topic Skills. Why? Because when I can teach someone what I’ve learned or provide answers based on what I learned, that deepens my learning.
Based on your business and learning objectives, identify key skills learners need to develop. You’ll create Skill Tags for these skills. (If you already have Reputation-Based Gamification set up for your education programs, you can use the same Skill Tags, or opt to create new tags specifically for Community).
Question to ask: What behavior am I trying to change or skill am I trying to develop?
3. Reward the Right Activities
The goal for gamification is not just engagement, but engagement that leads to learning and business outcomes. Which means we need to be intentional about what activities we reward and incentivize.
Reputation-Based Gamification in Intellum’s Community tool is set up to reward (or discourage) the following activities:
- If a user asks a question and it’s upvoted, they receive a point.
- If a user asks a question and it’s downvoted, a point is deducted.
- If a user answers a question and that question is marked as solved, the answerer receives 5 points.
This keeps activity focused on what’s most valuable (asking and answering questions), as well as quality interaction (rewarding good questions and helpful answers).
Use Reputation Points to Identify Subject Matter Experts
In addition to serving as an engagement strategy, gamification in Community can surface subject matter experts.
As learners respond to questions in the community, they earn Reputation Points for Skills related to the questions they’re answering. You can use these Skill-based Reputation Points to identify people with more knowledge and experience in that particular skill—then invite them to share.
For example, let’s say you’re hosting a training session, workshop, or webinar on a particular topic. You can look in your Community to see who’s accrued points related to that skill to identify potential guest speakers to contribute to the conversation. This creates a virtuous cycle around learning, community engagement, and advocacy.
Want to learn more about Reputation-Based Gamification in Community?
- Dive deeper into Intellum’s gamification capabilities with the release notes.
- Learn 5 Steps to Get Started with Gamification in Education
- Dig into Reputation-Based Gamification Intellum
1. Landers, Richard N., Bauer, Kristina N., Callan, Rachel C., (2017). Gamification of task performance with leaderboards: A goal setting experiment
2. Papoutsoglou, Maria, Kapitsaki, Georgia M., Angelis, Lefteris, (2020). Modeling the effect of the badges gamification mechanism on personality traits of Stack Overflow users
3. Stack Overflow, What is reputation? How do I earn (and lose) it?