Game Mechanics Versus Game Dynamics

Designing Digitally

04/23/2019

Game Mechanics Versus Game Dynamics

Gamification in learning is not a new concept anymore. Organizations have awakened to the various benefits it offers. However, there is a lot that goes into gamifying a training course and understanding what produces the desired results. Two major elements that should be considered when implementing gamification are the application of game mechanics and game dynamics.  In order for effective gamification in learning, it is important to know the differences they have as well as how they compliment each other. Here are some of the key characteristics of each.

What are game mechanics?

They are the basic mechanisms or elements that move the simulation forward. The mechanisms encourage a certain behavior with the help of rewards. They are elements that help gamify any non-game environment. Levels, Badges, leaderboards, and so on are examples of game mechanics. But they alone are not enough. Adding some rewards and challenges to any existing process may help bring about a behavior change in the short-term, but it is not a long-term solution. Gradually, it may become repetitive and the learner’s behavior will stagnate. To keep the learners engaged, you need to add game dynamics.

Game mechanics should not be used without carefully aligning it to the learning goals. The better it is aligned and has a purpose, the more effective it is. The first step is to decide on the goal and identify how training can help achieve it. Only then, you will be able to decide whether gamification is the right way forward. You also need to evaluate it at every step. Gamification is not just about boosting engagement but also tracking the engagement. You can use game mechanics like the number of actions, rewards achieved, time spent, and similar metrics to evaluate the level.

What are game dynamics?

Game dynamics define the patterns of how the game and the players will evolve over some time. Not all learners are driven by the same elements. If one set of learners prefer competition, another set may seek social collaboration. The game dynamics tailor mechanics to address the individual motivations of the learners. A well-designed dynamic help bring the learners to the next stage at the correct time. For example, if you let them level up too fast they may lose interest. If you let them go too slow, they may get frustrated.

Advantages of utilizing gamification in training

When both mechanics and dynamics are applied in the right manner, they can drive user engagement and take learner motivation to great heights. The most balanced game design approach considers both mechanics and dynamics. The end goal should be to keep the learners hooked to the content and add value.  Below are some reasons why this learning approach is successful:

  • Learners find hands-on learning activities engaging. In gamified learning, the learners have the opportunity to accomplish their goals by choosing specific actions. They face the consequences of these actions immediately, so they are invested in the course.

  • Game-based learning helps learners to hone their critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

  • In a gamified environment, learners receive immediate feedback for their actions. So, they know where they went wrong and which actions are on the right track.

  • Conquering problems in the gamified environment help boost learner confidence. When they have enough practice in the virtual environment, they are confident of dealing with the task in real life.

  • Learners like game-based content since there are no formal tests involved. Instead, the assessments are built into the content itself through leaderboards, points, badges, and so on. These elements encourage competition and drive engagement levels.  

At Designing Digitally, Inc., our designers use 2D and 3D artwork to create enticing settings for learners to explore and engage with. We develop learning games for various platforms to help prepare your employees. We can package them as SCORM or xAPI packages for your LMS. Our games ensure that your learners are hooked to the content and derive value from it. You are bound to see an increase in employee productivity with gamification.

If you are interested in learning more about gamification and how it can be used to improve your employee training, contact our team today.

Related Resources: Elearning Providers Use Game Mechanics to Provide Motivation Article and Game-Based Learning is a Game Changer in Corporate Training White Paper

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