Fun Is Hard, And More Gamification In Mobile Insight
Is it possible that, despite the wide adoption and buzz, gamification remains as a “mystifying” issue in learning? Setting out to seek the answer, Tesseract Learning’s Suresh Kumar realized there is one place well it could likely be: Mobile.
What could be the reason? It was not a leap to identify key issues faced by instructors and designers at the time of considering how the student learns on mobile. General usability research is available, just like the techniques to uncover information. But applying them to the specific scenario of learners may not seem straightforward enough.
Which means organizations have a duty to implement user research techniques that would allow them to offer their students the kind of experience that would suit them best. Unfortunately, many organizations lack the resources, but more strikingly, an interest to get to know their students a little deeper.
So what is there to do? Kumar flips the problem. We might not always get the user’s input as to what would be best. But the landscape of possibilities is relatively well structured. Surely we can take the existing inventory of gamification approaches, and make an educated guess of their ideal use scenario.
An interesting early revelation arises. If we use the level of “fun” of a game as a variable, and realize that fun activities are better suited for certain kinds of learning and subject matter, we can conclude that either gamification is well suited only for specific kinds of learning; or that we’re only reaching the low-hanging fruit of “fun” when it comes to meaningful learning experiences.
The result is a short categorization of mobile gamification techniques, which sets up a longer study by Kumar, on which he will hopefully update us soon. It would certainly help those in organizations where, for whatever reason, the always worth it investment in user research is not an option.

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