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Gamification, beyond fancy trophies

When most people hear the term gamification, what come to their minds are probably colourful trophies with fancy icons. This is a rather superficial view that completely overlooks an array of opportunities within the subject.

It is also common that people think gamification will turn something commonplace into a fun game (given the term it is completely understandable), but even that is missing the point.


 Trophies are at the most a tactical implementation of gamification; they are not even necessary to use at all. The idea is not that things like filling timesheets shall suddenly become “fun as a video game”; it is about using techniques from video games to encourage certain behaviour.

 In this post I will highlight 3 techniques you can use in addition to handing out the “Poster of the Month” trophy.

1. Creating habits

Some games are incredibly proficient in establishing habits and thereby building loyalty. The best example is Animal Crossing, Nintendo’s life simulator, where the player does things like planting trees, weeding, digging for fossils and picking seashells. By simply offering X number of fossils per day or N amount of shells, a rhythm is created where the player will return daily for a short round of fossil hunt or a little promenade by the beach.

As the months go, a player spends 15 minutes here and 20 minutes there. Before you know it, several hundred hours have been spent on the game.

2. Chain reactions

Chain reactions are something of a staple in action-puzzle games. Virtually all of King’s most addictive games have it. One move leads to a landslide of points, and the player can sit back and watch colourful explosions and hear happy tunes stacked on each other.

3. Mega Points

What would you choose, 1 point or 1 000 points? The last time I played pinball, I got 10 000 points by just shooting the ball. If you connect this with the fact that the points do not exist, and that it costs nothing extra to give someone 10 000 points instead of 1, it becomes quite obvious that it is a good idea to reward people abundantly for doing what we want them to do.


Here we have, quite deliberately, come to a very important part of gamification. Without a clear idea of what we want our users to do gamification is pointless.

Tactics without strategy is only the noise before defeat, as Tsun Tzu said


Gamification is never more than a tactic you can use to achieve an overarching strategic goal.

To take a concrete example:

A while ago, some students at Cornell University established something many of us have long suspected. With the help of smart algorithms and Amazon’s Virtual Mechanical Turk they ploughed through millions of entries on forums where visitors were allowed to vote up or down comments. The idea with such voting is that bad comments will be voted down and disappear while the good ones are lifted. The overall objective is, hopefully, to improve the quality of comments. However, the results of the study showed that:

  • Negative feedback led to poorer and MORE posts on forums.
  • Positive feedback had no apparent effect on either the quality or quantity.
  • Those who received no feedback at all left the forums in significantly greater extent than those who received feedback.

The actual effects of voting on comments were in other words the exact opposite of what was sought. The quality was lowered.

In the Crowd-learning and Crowd-innovation method that Edumanity uses, feedback is an important part of how ideas get developed and improved. If one accepts the conclusion of the survey hereinabove, it is important to encourage feedback and ensure that it is not perceived as negative.

With that in mind, one can quite easily find uses for the gamification techniques I started with. Here are three quick examples.

  1. Give plenty of points to those who leave feedback, regardless of whether the feedback leads to an idea refined or not. That is, even a short feedback such as “cool idea” has a value.
  2. Establish habits by releasing new ideas at the same time (or times) each day to create a rhythm.
  3. Create chain reactions by giving bonus points every time a feedback leads to further development of an idea or an idea passing a milestone.

There you go, not a trophy in sight as far as the eye can see but plenty of techniques borrowed from the gaming world to get some traction on something that is important to the overall strategy. Then, one should naturally connect points to various leaderboards with prizes for those who rank the highest.


Christopher M. Yi Fredriksson

Concept Developer at 24HR Malmö

Crowd-learning at Learning Network event

One of Edumanity’s partners Symbal has long been supportive of learning at the workplace, and has a HR and Learning Network that arranges inspiring events for the organisation.  We at Edumanity felt honoured and excited that Symbal chose Crowd-learning as the theme for its first HR and Learning event of 2015!

Held at Axis Communcations on 25th February, participants were treated to a presentation on Crowd-learning from Edumanity’s very own Torvald Jacobsson. Crowd-learning was developed out of an education programme which Torvald led at Lund University, and it has proven to be just as (if not more) effective in facilitating learning and innovation in the business world, as seen by the platform Edumanity has developed for Axis.

You can read more about the event here, and if you want learn more about what Crowd-learning can do for your organisation, simply click the Contact tab to get in touch. got tested got tested

Reference group testAs hardworking as we all are at Edumanity, the weekend is still usually a time to leave work behind. But not this past weekend of 24-25 January. On both days we opened our door and welcomed a group of scouts from Copenhagen, Denmark and Malmö, Sweden, as well as a World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM) Project Manager who came all the way from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The occasion? To test out the first courses of TheGoals!

Without any prior knowledge of TheGoals, the scouts were given an introduction on its background and objectives. They then dived straight into testing two courses – Poverty and Social Inclusion – on mobile devices. As they enjoyed completing different tasks and missions on the courses, and earning credits, the participants also gave us lots of feedbacks on functionality and usability.

As the young scouts have headed home it’s time for our production team to incorporate their feedbacks into the next round of development. It’s going to be an exciting Spring ahead as we will launch the co-branded version of TheGoals at the World Scout Jamboree in Japan this summer!

Creating the 2020 Learning Organisation

We are participating in the Online Educa Berlin conference to learn more about the current and future trends of online learning. These are our notes from the half-day workshop “Creating the 2020 Learning Organisation” that is held by:

These Haiku notes are being live-updated:

Check out the new website for

Check out the new website for

box-tgoAfter months of hard work is starting to take form. There is still lots of work to be done but you can sign up for the news letter right now to get the latest updates. will bring the UN’s international goals for sustainable development closer to the people and make thousands of young people both learn about them, but more importantly make an impact on them. offers a unique open crowd-learning experience to connect students and youth from all corners of the world, using even the most basic mobile devices. The aim of is to build understanding and cooperation about the upcoming international goals for sustainable development, which are to be adopted by the United Nations in Autumn, 2015. is the place for curious and innovative young people who want to learn more about the upcoming sustainable development goals and how to contribute to their fulfilment. That is, building a smarter and more sustainable world.

Together, with you, we want to create unprecedented learning. We want to engage you and use crowd-sourcing to get stories of local challenges, successes and innovative solutions in pursuing sustainable development from around the world.

What are you waiting for? Just visit and join the ride!


Bringing crowd-learning to mobile

Bringing crowd-learning to mobile

We are working on improving the crowd-learning experience on mobile devices. That’s why we teamed up with UsTwo and 24HR for a whole day workshop. We used lego to swiftly prototype the core functionality of an upcoming app, as well as a explore user experience. Lots more to come. Stay tuned!

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