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Mastery in Gamification

Sebastian Deterding, a UX designer and researcher, has been looking at the underlying concepts of what makes gamification a huge hit online. Many people spend a lot of time gaming online but why?

There are worlds of game mechanics that people can use to apply to their own realities. They can associate with people with similar interests through gaming or sometimes there are other values such as fitness, finance, health or other areas of life that are also involved in the gaming process. It is when people find a reason to connect to these gaming processes that they start to develop a sense of accomplishment and accept new levels as a challenge or find pride in leveling up. Game mechanics in other applications can be used to help motivate people and even target self-identity, helping people to not only be entertained but to also develop their interests. There is some psychological value for these users to become loyal to using these tools.

Gamification uses a number of gaming elements that are added to many websites in order to enhance the other additional content that is not related to gaming at all. To find it meaningful, these internet tools must generate something beneficial and this maintains user loyalty. One such topic of interest for designers, marketers, software developers and even educators find that is engaging in gamification is mastery.

Deterding can arguably say that while some people believe that gamers enjoy the rewards in games such as earning badges, points or upping a level is engaging, the true captivation is found when players work to master it.  This creates dynamic parallels of not only increasing user engagement and loyalty but also gives a player a sense of gratification when it comes to problem solving and learning.

Psychologically, people like to be rewarded for a job well done and that is what many video game pop-behaviorists believe. It is not just about doing the same thing over and over again repetitiously but to keep advancing in order to become an expert in the game.

Fun can be also perceived as learning in gamification. Being able to decipher a puzzle or catch on to a pattern or even having the dexterity to advance to a new level in a game gives someone a sense of achievement and is one of the core elements of what makes gamification a good learning experience. While it is not a typical learning tool, it is a fun way to make the  mind work in ways that can make them think in different ways and learning skills. It is because of the conditions because school institutions that thrive on someone mastering something to continue learning is so standardized while mastering a video game is outside of the box yet still allows for people to find way to problem solve and think critically.

Deterding acknowledges that is the mastery that makes the video games fun for all people.  They can work their way toward achieving mastery.  To do this, a player must engage themselves in a series of interesting challenges.

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