EAIE2014 (I). Game on! Gamifying international student recruitment

Notes from the 26th Annual EAIE Conference, held in Prague, Czech Republic, on 16-19 September 2014. More notes on this event: eaie2014.

Game On! Gamifying international student recruitment.
Justyna Giezynska, Studybility; Joachim Ekström, Uppsala University; Yu-Kai Chou, The Octalys Group.

Justyna Giezynska

4 aspects of innovation:

  • Recognized need;
  • Competent people with relevant technology;
  • Financial support;
  • Understangind needs.

Innovation requires governance, management and financing (the Golden Triangle of innovation).

Gamification is an engaging process. Gamification in student recruitment can help in raising awareness on your programme, can increase enrolment, can work on retention, can lead to knowledge growth and sharing, etc.

Yu-Kai Chou

Everyone has the capacity to enjoy games. And games can get people to voluntarily do hours of secret grunt work (called "grinding" in the gaming context) voluntarily and even enjoying it. Let’s think of gamification as "human-focused design", as opposed to "function focused design": a system that is designed to optimize for the motivation sand feelings of the human inside, instead of assuming the people within are robots that will complete the task.

There is more in gamification than points, badges and leaderboards (the PBLs). The social part of social media is about engagement, just like in gamification. In gamification one has to start with the Core Drives, not the Game Elements: how do I want my users to feel, and not what are my users going to do.

Core drives:

  • Epic meaning & calling. Can relate with a certain (positive) degree of elitism.
  • Development & accomplishment. Goals, acknowledgement..
  • Empowerment of creativity & feedback. Create, provide feedback, fix things, start again. An improvement/virtuous cycle.
  • Ownership & possession. Virtual gifts, virtual currencies. But also customization, personalization.
  • Social influence & relatedness. Care about the group and being part of it. Group quests.
  • Scarcity & impatience. You want something just because you can’t have it.
  • Unpredictability & curiosity.
  • Loss & avoidance. You do something to avoid a loss or something bad to happen.

Left brain, extrinsic motivation: accomplishment, ownership, scarcity…
Right brain, intrinsic motivation: empowerment, social influence, unpredictability…
Meaning and avoidance belong to both kinds of motivation.

Extrinsic motivation usually kills intrinsic motivation and vice-versa. E.g. we have an intrinsic desire to learn… which gets spoiled when we have to do it for marks or a certificate

Stages or facets of a game: status, access, power, stuff.

Joachim Ekström

  • Be clear about what you need.
  • Reward good behaviour.
  • Know how to handle abuse.

Can gamification (doing "funny things") affect negatively your brand? The difference on impact or on engagement may be the one between explicit and implicit gamification. Sometimes it’s better to use implicit gamification strategies rather than inviting people to play in a straightforward way.


Q: What would you change in universities? Yu-Kai: the problem with the university system —which is broken— is that extrinsic motivation is killing intrinsic motivation. Partly because the things that we have to learn are very much complex, much more complex than in the past. Maybe technology —and/or gamification— could have a role on simplifying things (without necessarily having to trivialize it). And once things are a little bit simpler, then motivation can come back. It is urgent that education provides a purpose for what is learnt, so that the student can have a feeling of accomplishment (different from a feeling of having successfully performed at the exams).

Q: How to use gamification for international students recruitment? Yu-Kai: motivation is the key, what motivates a person to go to your school? Is it scarcity? Is is ownership? How do we make it an epic quest? What about creating a game to help people figure out what they want to do with their lives?

26th Annual EAIE Conference (2014)

If you need to cite this article in a formal way (i.e. for bibliographical purposes) I dare suggest:

Peña-López, I. (2014) “EAIE2014 (I). Game on! Gamifying international student recruitment” In ICTlogy, #132, September 2014. Barcelona: ICTlogy.
Retrieved month dd, yyyy from http://ictlogy.net/review/?p=4251

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