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What are your thoughts about using gamification in workplaces and schools?


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Years ago, I used to think that integrating video game elements in workplaces and schools could only be beneficial, that it makes work and learning more fun and engaging for everyone, and most importantly, that it's a solution to create a healthy environment. But now, I'm not so sure...

By healthy environment, I mean an environment that allows people to practice a healthy lifestyle and feel inspired. A place that they love and are looking forward to go to, where they're not burdened, overloaded with work, chronically exhausted, constantly stressed and worried, forced to overwork to meet tight deadlines, lack energy and almost look sick because of the unhealthy diet and sleeping schedule, threatened to loose their jobs if they try to put healthy boundaries, or feel trapped and exploited. An environment that actually enables them to have time for themselves and for their friends and family, and at the same time inspires them to work, that helps them have internal motivation.

I believe that people don't actually hate working or learning in itself, but rather that they hate negative experiences and discomfort, and that throughout the years they associated those horrible feelings with school or certain jobs, either through their own experiences or through hearing from people's experiences. And that association is reinforced day after day when they go to a working or learning environment and meet with the same terrible circumstances that leave them feeling miserable and dissatisfied with their work life/ school life.

Changing a culture or a system is difficult, for that, opinions should shift. Many will agree that internal motivation is a powerful driver yet they will overload employees/students with work, never be satisfied with their performance, constantly criticize their work and even their person, and on top of that blame them for their lack of enthusiasm or their fear and tell them that it's their duties to motivate themselves and be passionate and more productive (so now they feel guilty and incompetent on top of all that, more fear and stress and exhaustion). Many will agree that an employee/student who has a healthy life is more productive and creative yet they will cross their boundaries constantly, surprise them in the late evenings with bonus work and urgent work (that was supposed to take just 10 min but ends up taking 4 hours) as soon as they tried to relax on the couch, accuse them of slacking and laziness if they dare to go out of work on time, expect them to work on the weekends and even while on vacation, all while working out and socializing and be healthy.

Gamification seemed like a solution, it was implemented in certain schools and workplaces that reported that people were generally happier and more engaged. I though it would make work slightly more pleasurable and thus less exhausting. I thought that it could reconcile employers/employees and teachers/students and create a fun environment that promotes collaboration between everyone. An environment that enables more freedom and inspiration and a better work quality.

Yet nowadays, more and more schools and workplaces implement gamification, sadly, most of them actually make the environment unhealthier than it already was: it creates even more stress and disparity between people, the ones attributing points (usually teachers and employers) usually uses that privilege for power abuse, it's almost always designed in a competitive way, the rankings frighten everyone (the ones at the bottom are not only ashamed but afraid to lose their jobs, the ones at the top are worried about how long their bodies could keep up with the never-ending demands and the fast rhythm), more work and more stress that knows no limits and oversteps on private lives sometimes negatively impacting relationships with loved ones as well as their own health... and all sort of disheartening issues. 

So after thinking about it, maybe it is not the best idea. Also, after reading content from gamequitters, I realized that game mechanisms designed to be addictive are morally questionable, and then I noticed that even before "gamifying" school or work, it already has many game elements since decades, doesn't it? The reward/punishment system could be grades and salary and even appreciations and depreciations, the social aspect is definitely here and it's very powerful, the competition that can sometimes be very intense, powerful emotions, sense of accomplishment after hardwork, etc... (it reminds me of workoholics)

All in all, it seems to me now that gamification is a neutral tool, and that it depends on the user. I might be wrong about that, but it's the conclusion I arrived to for now.

So what do you think? About the morality of using gamification at school or in the workplace? Do you have any ideas to make learning and working fun and healthy without resorting to gamification? 

Thanks in advance and have a nice week! 

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I think gamification can be used in schools because it boosts students attitude towards learning at the start. However, if used excessively, students may be addicted to their assigned work(by that I mean the playing part of it). Over time, gamification will give students a hard time and teachers a harder time like what happened at my school before quarantine. My experience has proved to me that gamification in education should be done in moderation because I have seen other students at my school rushing to the library at lunch just to play video games and taking all the chairs for themselves and giving me a hard time reading.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Gamification is a scam that companies use to trick employees into accepting unfair wages, degrading or abusive working conditions and less personal and vacation time because of the lie of pseudo-fun.

Gamification is disrespectful because its base assumption is that 'we cannot be motivated unless we are treated like children.' When used on children themselves, it solidifies external motivations and weaken internal motivations that are necessary to fuel a successful career.

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