Will Kriski, a Canadian guitar teacher and internet entrepreneur has begun to add game mechanics to his online guitar coaching website thanks to the Gamification startup BigDoor. “This is just Phase 1”, Will says. “By using BigDoor’s MiniBar feature it was literally just a few minutes to get it up and running”.
Points, Badges and Leaderboards
By adding game mechanics to a website, people are able to check in, ‘like’ content, share content on Facebook or Twitter which earns them XP (experience points) and various badges. Influencers will earn points if other people click their links from Facebook and Twitter. Leaderboards show the rankings of point getters as a Top 10 or a relative leaderboard which keeps visitors from getting too discouraged by the top point getters.
Integrating Game Mechanics
“Phase 2 will take things to a whole new level, integrating game mechanics into the guitar lesson content itself.” Similar to a video game, students will progress through lesson content, gaining points and advancing through levels where they will be able to unlock ‘goodies’ such as free webcam lessons with Will, free video lessons and other awards.
“Virtual currency is another cool idea. Students will be able to either earn points to unlock new lessons or buy virtual currency with real dollars to save the time of getting the required points”.
Structure Learning Environments
“While there are a lot of free lessons out there on YouTube (Will’s free video guitar lessons have over 1.3 million views and 4000 subscribers) they are usually on a variety of topics with no overall structure. Using game mechanics, students can progress through a series of structured lessons like they would in a video game, known as levels.”
Will says that many students are used to a structured environment that video games provide, via game levels, and are also motivated by rewards, badges and leaderboards. “There is a lot of psychology at play here, so why not use it to help students to learn?”, asks Will. “Some people are able to study guitar knowing that in a number of years they will be able to play proficiently, but others need to be motivated by shorter term goals.”
If you go to Will’s Online Guitar Coaching site, you’ll see a ‘MiniBar’ at the bottom of the screen where you can check in, like pages, share content, check what badges you’ve earned and see how you rank in the leaderboard. It will be interesting to see the development of game mechanics with this site.