Unconference Session 1: Badges and Participation

Outcomes of the discussion about increasing adoption:

1.       Leverage the crazy

2.       Connect back to theory – it’s out there

3.       Highlight activities, not individuals

4.       Feed and water all the users

 

Notes:

Issues of participation have been researched before

More participation can be achieved by requiring people to “be there” on Gameful

·         The 1% rule is a reflection of the way we are

·         Fill in a profile, mandatory friending of 5 people, mandatory forum post, avatar (which evolves visually)

o   Engage with social system mechanics as a prerequisite to being able to “do” anything

o   Use Play to get people to engage with the system

·         Random friending: degenerate, effective, or both?

·         Does this kind of entryway gating result in a net increase or decrease in Participation?

Drawing on online dating sites to continue engagement

·         OKCupid

Reddit

·         Reddit Gold – RL money -> transferrable privileges via social interaction (giving, recognizing)

 

Which is more valuable?

·         Fewer with full completion, or more with some participation?

·         Do both in phases?

o   Build a core

o   Lower the barriers to participation

High quality users give a way to demonstrate and prove the way your system should work

What should someone’s experience with your system look like after a year?

·         DOR: Ecosystem of badge issuers, earners, acceptors. Want a user base for employers to find skilled people out of, but chicken-egg problem getting people to earn them. Increase visibility of “if you earn it, jobs will come” arrangements. Leverage institutional endorsement of badges to imply and articulate value.

·         “Recruit” strategy: Rather than establishing the use first, what about establishing visibility of the badges? Take sites with already large populations, use them as feeder conduits to badged experiences. Create a badged MOOC that leads to more badging opportunities. Possibility to retroactively award badges as a draw as well.

Can you get the 90% or the 9% to cycle into the 1%?

·         In schools, a similar phenomenon: 90% follow directions, 9% explore, 1% completionist

·         Can badges facilitate this migration?

·         Students championing other students as high earners?

Alternate Reality Games:

·         90% observers who want to see an ARG

·         9% semi-involved who want to solve puzzles but can’t commit enough time

·         1% crazy people

The Pyramid

·         A sustainable model needs to leverage this natural structure and promote mobility and migration

o   LEVERAGE THE CRAZY: Create problems that require the 1% to engage the 9% and the 90% to successfully complete

o   The 9% want a little more guidance than the 1%, the 1% could provide it

o   Batman marketing: 1 pixel change per phone

·         Deconstructing the elements that define the levels may provide insight into better-gradiated ways to move someone up the scale

·         Is there already a pedagogical model that tracks with this line of reasoning?

Cautions:

·         Top 10 students “grinding” but not gaining

·         Doing the thing should promote meaningful gain for the 1% individual doing the task

·         How do users actually respond to this type of setup?

·         Have a dialog between designers and researchers on these issues, it’s not quite that simple ;)

 

Reflection:

·         The current breakdown reflects a real structure

·         We may be able to leverage the structure itself to migrate people up it

·         There is already a lot of theory that connects to, supports, and should guide this

 

Pivot to Badges specifically

·         Collaborative badges: All undergraduates at RIT earned the badge if X% of freshmen passed. Juniors and Seniors got engaged to help the incoming freshmen.

o   A bit dangerous

o   What about loss-aversion strategies

o   What kind of motivation is this?

§  Expiring Badges: What does it say that someone wants to renew a CPR certification in order to not lose it?

·         Maybe not the right question?

·         The purpose matters: is it learning?

·         A hybrid strategy: This badge requires a continuing investment. But they should be non-core badges.

o   Badges inherently reflect continued engagement through accumulation, but this doesn’t necessarily promote depth

o   Promote depth of participation as well as breadth

·         How to Start a Movement (TED Talk)

o   Most important person isn’t a leader but a follower

o   Make the lone nut not look like a nut; draw the first follower in so it looks like the norm an people are able to engage

o   Can a badge system encourage this?

§  Research: Communities of practice

§  Strategic curation to highlight the 1% in a way that makes the 9% move toward them

·         Principle: Don’t get too precious about your badges

o   Don’t make them too hard to attain, or you’ll turn people off

·         Eject people from privileged positions

o   Forcibly break the cycle

o   So conferences don’t become social clubs

§  Not always bad, but sometimes you want to promote fresh ideas and churn

o   An alternative: the novelty of the badge system is appealing as an alternative to standard grading; constantly generating new badges can create fresh opportunities to promote new individuals to engage

§  What about badges that the 90% has to earn before the 1% can?

·         What about engaging the 90% by recognizing something new that they can do well and feel good about?

1 comment

I was at a different session but almost feel like I was at yours---thank you for such careful, generous note taking and for publishing your notes, Ross.

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