McGonigal’s Gamefulness as abstract for digital championship

Jane McGonigal TED talk

Gamefulness is pioneered by American scholar and gaming enthusiast Jane McGonigal in 2010.

It’s the first concrete attempt to formalise social capital formations in massive online worlds (Gaming). 

Gamefulness is not Gamification: Finding a definition for gamification



Gamefulness employs aesthetics and playful language to formalise Ludic (Woodyer, T. University of Portsmouth) behaviours and emotions present in virtual and online worlds.

Gamefulness does not involve the use of games or game design elements, instead, it’s a way of thinking.

Gamefulness is about the feelings and interactions, the motivation, and what makes people confident and successful in online world.

Gamefulness condenses the interactions and emotions that exist in gaming worlds into the 4 connected arenas below.

  1. Social fabric
  2. Epic meaning
  3. Urgent optimism/Sense of urgency
  4. Blissful productivity
Jane McGonigal (Picture credit: The New York Times)

How can gamefulness can assist digital champions?

Today’s games and gaming devices are identical to a computer system with social media, similarly, they are both side-portals to infinite social and entertainment worlds.

Research shows that video game users are exposed to more people than non-users, and that they proceed to integrate gaming companions with social media and offline gaming companions.

Likewise, in daily life, we are often surrounded by a diverse network of people through our various social media channels.

1. Social Fabric

Help people to be of service to each other and to collaborate from a position of signature strength. 

For example: I rewrite my research and Learn My Way courses so it’s tailored and compatible with gaming language and participants.

In turn, they inspire more gamers and their outer network when they share the product.

Personally, I always ensure I include a link to all original text for two reasons (1) The reader may prefer the original language (2) for the outer network.

2. Epic Meaning

Create an amazing story of planetary scale with awe-inspiring missions, and with one bit of trivia that helps put the into story into perspective.

Do it at extreme scale and have an amazing story.

Develop your social fabric by including them in your amazing story when you can. It’s a form of reward and mental feedback.

For example: During my longitudinal study at the University of Portsmouth, there was a sudden influx of young-people to Battlefield (18+ rating at the time).

Due to the sudden influx, combined with due-diligence, it became paramount to recruit an observer.

Jenifer, L (Image below) was one of the many volunteers that observed the longitudinal study ensuring it was ethical and risk free.

Picture of jenifer
Gamer/Digital champion: Mrs. Jenifer, Cook. (Formerly Mrs. Jenifer, H.)

4. Urgent Optimism/Sense of urgency

Gaming can be addictive, intuitively, no matter how challenging, the player knows that the objective is achievable, all it costs is some time.

Think of and invent voluntary goal and provoke curiosity.

Galvanise your fabric and inspire them to act immediately to tackle a planetary obstacle with reasonable hope of success.

5. Blissful Productivity

According to McGonigal, humans are optimised to do hard meaningful work, and we happiest working hard, obviously, when it’s fun and Ludic, than when we are lazy relaxing.

Develop your social fabric by exposing them to concrete new ability, something small that adds up to a lot.

For example: You can ask them to document their experiences for a blog feature.

6. Progress

These interactions are often connected across multiple devices, and across common networks, underpinned by the web. 

As with projects in non-game contexts, the outcomes have to be transferable and measurable in real-world and offline discourse.

PokemonGO is an excellent example of progress from gaming perspective.

That said, a good example of progress in non-game context manifest in individual development and improvements, including standard of living, confidence, or/and employ-ability.

Final Word

The best thing about gamefulness as a framework for project management in academic discourses is in its relatedness, generalised and non-selective association.

It’s less contentious and flexible, it is a way of thinking of, as well as,  grasping social capital formation in online and virtual worlds. 

Finally, in gaming cultures, the players are brought together by a mutual passion for video games, this may not be the case in non-game context.

Hence, It’s very important to connect with a person first and understand their situation before becoming their digital champion.

Learn My Way offers many free courses on Internet and using the computers, they’ve recently added a course for aspiring digital champions, explore the course, learn more about the benefits of becoming a digital champion.

Games for teachers and the classroom

LEG Volume 1

thumbnailThe first volume in the series focused on the design and curricular considerations related to creating and using games for learning, such as designing for diverse audiences or designing for social studies, STEM, or music learning. The book also delves into specific design issues, such as aligning goals, designing for an audience, playtesting, and assessment.

Check it out: LEG Vol 1

LEG Volume 2

The second volume focused on the challenges of creating games and implementing them in educational settings, and covered issues such as gamification, using games to support ASD (autism spectrum disorder) students, selecting games for the classroom and library, homeschooling and gameschooling, working with parents and policymakers, and choosing the right tools for game development.

Check it out: Leg Vol 2

LEG Volume 3

A key component of the books were case studies of games, which were inset from the primary text of each chapter, and served to illustrate the concepts and frameworks described in the chapters. For instance, we had short case studies on games such as Quandary, Minecraft, Civilization, and Foldit. Volume 3 will focus on empathy, sympathy, leadership and project management.

Published by John Adewole

Senior User Researcher

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