All game elements are equal but some are more equal than others. Actually no, that's not true. But there are some game elements that are more common than others and that are more influential in others in shaping typical examples of gamification. And there's three of them I'd like to highlight for you and go into more detail on, which are represented by the acronym PBL. And these are the following, points, badges, and leaderboards. P-B-L. When I taught the first business school course on gamification,with my colleague Dan Hunter last year. We challenged our teams of MBAs to come up with novel implementations of gamification. And yet virtually every one of them used PBLs as at least one of the core elements of their gamification designs. There's just a fundamental attraction to using these elements in gamification and part of that is because they serve a variety of different functions, more so than one might expect. So, most of the common examples. At least the standard kinds of examples of gamification like Samsung Nation which I've already mentioned to you have PBLs at their core. Shouldn't be too hard for you to see them on the screenshot here. But lets look at each of these elements in detail. And try to understand what functions they serve. Because it turns out that one of the reasons why PBLs are useful is that they do a number of different things. But it's important to realize that as useful as PBLs are, they are not everything. And gamification should not start and end with just these three elements. Or it will easily become boring and shallow. Alright, so let's start with points. What is the point of points? Well, the first thing you might think of, is that points are a way of keeping score. So, if we know that someone has 100 points, and someone else has 5000 points, then we know that this player here is the winner. Points are our way of determining how well someone is doing in the game. So points can either show the relative position of players or they can actually define winning. Winning might be the first person to achieve 5,000 points. But they do other things as well. Points can connect up with rewards. So you need say, 5,000 virtual points to get some reward, whether that's a free hotel stay or some badge in a gamified system. Points also provide feedback. Seeing here that you've got 5,000 points in this case is pretty good evidence that you're doing better than you when you had a 100 or this other player who has a 100. The points are a feedback mechanism. They show you in real time exactly how you're doing in the game. The points also are a way of displaying progress. So you remember I talked about the importance of the progress dynamic of getting up to a higher point. The points give you feedback but they also are a way of telling that you're moving along that staircase and where you are. The points also provide data. So the game designer can see how many points you're earning, where you're earning them, how fast you're earning them and so forth, and that can be used to enhance the game or the gamified system. And finally the great thing about points is that a point is a point is a point is a point is a point. They're all equal. So as long as you have one point system you could conceivably have games and gamified systems with multiple independent point systems that aren't tradeable. But generally speaking, one point is as good as another. Which means that points can be used to represent anything. They're a universal currency if you will, that allows us to create a system where doing one sort of action, going off on a quest with your friends, is somehow equivalent or comparable to doing some other sort of action, sitting and watching a video on the site. So points do all of those sorts of things, all of which can be valuable in gamification. Next up, badges. Badges are representations of achievement. So they are some visual indication that you have reached a certain level or you've accomplished some set of objectives that was set for you in the gameified system. The point is that there are something, typically a button-like, graphic that goes on a profile page or some place that other players can see, and they show and represent and encapsulate the achievement of that player. Now there are many great things about badges. They are often associated with Four Square although a great many gamified services now use badges in various different ways. One of the powerful things about badges is just how flexible they are. So you can represent anything in a badge. The badge is just this little shield or button or whatever, that is an open canvas for the game designer to reward or commemorate what ever they want. So maybe you get a badge for the first time that you do something. Maybe you get a badge for doing something 100 times in a row. Maybe you get a badge just at random because the game designer wanted to give you a little surprise that morning. The badge can represent what ever the game designer wants and that's very powerful. Because the gamified system is trying to motivate certain behavior. It's trying to result in certain outcomes that are relevant to the business or the other context. So the badge can be a great way of conveying that by linking to exactly what it is that the gamification designer wants to motivate. Badges also can convey style. Now this badge you see here, if you can even think of that as a badge, does not convey a whole lot of style. It conveys the fact that I'm not very good at drawing. But the point here is because badges are graphical, they can have their own kind of graphical style and the design elements, the pattern of those badges, can represent and communicate the vibe, or the overall aesthetic of the gamified system. They also signal importance. So, a badge designates what things are significant in the game. There are many kinds of things that might be achievements or points or levels, but the badge says, yes, this is something this game or this gamified service will reward and that tells you potentially that it's significant. They also function as credentials. The badge tells anyone who's looking here's what I've done. I have gotten all the way through Professor Warbeck's course error corse on gamification. And I see some badge that shows everyone that I've done that. That's a credential like the good housekeeping seal, or the diploma that you get if you graduate from a college. Badges also can support collections. So if you have a bookcase if you will, that can hold a variety of different badges, then that's often seen by players as an invitation to fill it up. And players want to have the full cupboard and they want to collect things from many different places that fit into that cupboard. That then becomes, in and of itself, a structure, a mechanic that pushes people along to play the game more and to feel more engaged in it. And finally badges are status symbols. They show ah-hah, I have accomplished this. I have this really cool badge that no one else has. Now badges don't have to be that. Status is a complicated and dangerous thing in gamification that we'll talk about. But certainly if the gamified system is going to depend on status, then badges are typically going to be some part of how it does so. There are number of initiatives that involve using badges not just in game verification but more broadly in particular for this credentialing function, one of the most significant is the open badge framework from the Mozilla foundation. Here's the url so you can find out more. Here's, a, a graphic which comes from Wikipedia showing the process. The challenge here that the Mozilla Foundation is taking on is informal learning or other kinds of learning that don't fit into the traditional mechanisms of things like college where you get the badge of the diploma. So if you've taken a whole bunch of online courses, or if you have more informally participated in some online activities that are tantamount in the kind of skill development you would get in a course, how do you show employers, potential colleagues, anyone who's curious, that you've done that. How do you represent that skill? How do you credential what you've done? Given that the badge that you get within any particular system is typically only designed for use within that system. So the open badge framework is a software platform that allows any kind of badge issuer, which could be universities or training programs or informal programs to then issue badges to the learner, and then the learner has the opportunity to take those badges in a secure way and put them into what they call a badge backpack. Some collection of all of that users badges which then itself can be pushed out to social media and job sites and so forth. This is an integrated system for using badges effectively as credentials. Which is catalyzing a lot of activity in various kinds of online learning, especially outside of our traditional formal higher educational and K-12 educational learning. It's canalizing a lot of activity to use these badges as ways of encouraging and memorializing effective learning that occurs. Finally Leaderboards, Leaderboards are about ranking, they tell you exactly where you stand relative to other people who play the game. Another way to think about them is as a form of feedback as are all these elements that we're talking about here, but this feedback is specifically on competition. How well you're doing relative to others who play the game, and leaderboards are fairly ubiquitous in video games and arcade games of all kinds. But there's a danger with leaderboards, and a challenge which is that if you see your score, and let's say your score in the game is 555, and then you look at the leaderboard, and the leaderboard tells you that the person on the top of the leaderboard has 127,000,000 you're going to look at that and say, whoa, it's a long way from here to there. And you're not going to feel as good or confident about your score, and you're also potentially going to feel like there's no way I'm going to get good at this game. I'm never going to get 100 million points, and it tends to make it more common for people to abandon the game, for people to not find it fun. So what a number of social games have done is an innovation on the leader board. Is what we can call the personalized leaderboard. So now you have have your 555 score here, but instead of seeing that relative to all players of the game, you see it appear in the middle of the leaderboard. That's you, and then you see immediately of, above you, here is someone with 980, here's someone with 400. Here's someone with with 325 and so forth. Your score now looks like it's in the middle. You're zooming directly on your score as opposed to seeing the fact that there's someone way, way, way above you who has a much better score. A variant on that is what I'll call friend relative leader boards where the only things that you see on this personalized leaderboards are your friends, people who are in your social graph. So now you are comparing yourself not just to strangers, but specifically comparing yourself to people you know, which is encouraging to you to want to compete against them. So that's some of the innovation that we're seeing in leaderboards in social games, which also could be applied to gamification. But there's some real dangers to the leaderboards. And in fact with all of these elements as I'll talk about in the next segment. Leaderboards in many contexts have been shown in studies to demotivate. Leaderboards are commonly used in things like sales contests. If you sell the most in this week you get some award and will show as the contest is going on who's at the top. And the idea companies use that for is that will really push people. You'll see that someone's ahead of you and you'll double down, or you'll see that you're just a little bit behind and you'll work harder. And that may be so, but in many cases researchers have found that seeing things in those leaderboard terms, zero sum game, it's all about competition, actually will make people less willing to engage. They will just give up or not try as hard because the leaderboard focuses them too squarely on that kind of zero-sum competitive challenge. So in the next segment I'll talk in more detail about some of the limitations and problems with designing with game elements in general, and in particular these PBLs.