As a first-year wading (well, cliff-diving, really) into the depths of academic research reports last fall, I was struck with what you might call “jargon fatigue.” Though I was no stranger to general scientific reading, upon broaching the field of game research, I was quickly overwhelmed by a veritable tsunami of seemingly obscure terms related to the research fields surrounding statistics, sociology, and design theory.
Clinging to nothing but a thesaurus and a handful of Wikipedia links, I pulled through, and now proudly report that I understand what a MANOVA is, even if in the most simplistic and inevitably misinformed of ways. One word, despite its status as a seemingly obvious portmanteau, remained somewhat of a cryptic mystery in its meaning: gamification.
Ask any academic what the term “gamification” means and they will no doubt provide you with an informative cascade of phrases related to system design, repurposed game mechanics, “tangible progression,” motivation, and task management. However, like verbose snowflakes, no two answers will be the same. In fact, a number of papers regarding gamification have been written for the sole purpose of defining the term (including one co-authored by our group director). Continue reading