Gamification Models and Frameworks
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Gamification Models and Frameworks
Game design elements are being used in different contexts to enhance engagement and motivate the stakeholders. One of the contexts in which gamification has had positive effects is the education sector. Students have been motivated through the use of gamification in different learning perspectives. The paper presents a review of two published articles that reports on gamifications models and frameworks in learning institutions. Different approaches to gamification in the learning institutions are taken based on the needs of the specific institution. For example, the approach used in the secondar schools varies from that undertaken in the institutions of higher learning due to the different educational needs presented by the two institutions. The assessment of different gamification features in the institutions of learning conducted herein can be used to check on the viability of a given gamification framework in meeting the expectations of a given institution. A formal approach to gamification by an institution will serve to grant them success and motivate students more.
Keywords: Gamification, review, frameworks.
The motivation of learners is a challenge by all educators in all educational institutions (Mora, Riera, González & Arnedo-Moreno, 2017). Instructors have come up with different techniques to aid counter this issue. However, despite the different approaches employed, Mora et al. (2017) states that the use of gaming elements in the education sector has been more promising in terms of motivating students for education. According to Mora et al. (2017), the use of game-like properties in learning scenarios has promised to be successful in terms of motivating students.
The application of gamification in the institutions of higher learning has proved to be challenging for the educators (Mora et al., 2017). In higher learning institutions, the approach is considered troublesome due to the unexpected impacts it has. The challenge is considered to be as a result of lack of proven design methodologies on how the technique can be undertaken in these institutions (Mora et al., 2017). For this technique to be successful, Mora et al. (2017) states that these institutions must come up with a formal and adequate process for gamification design.
Gamification in learning institutions is understood to the process of making sense of the things that pertains game (Mora et al., 2017). In this context, there are different principles which stakeholders must adhere to when coming up with a gamification framework for a given institution. The basic principles according to Mora et al. (2017) are presented as follows:
• A study of rule-making and breaking, emergence and complexity, the experience and presentation of the game and social game interaction must be incorporated.
• There must be an understanding of the design, interactivity, systems, the choice of the players and the results.
• Understanding the relationship between the rules of the game and the pleasures or the play engendered by the game.
The highlighted principles provide a formal process of gamification base on the need and the expected outcomes (Mora et al., 2017). The approach, as opposed to the traditional gamification process, calls for the analysis of the present works to come up with an understanding of the gamification design and framework that can be relied upon in a give context (Mora et al., 2017). The approach, therefore, gives and overview of the different gamification frameworks available at the disposal of the stakeholders in the learning sector to ponder on and make a decision on the most suitable design.
Theoretical Background to Game Design
Gamification is not similar to creating a general-purpose game (Mora, Riera, Gonzalez & Arnedo-Moreno, 2015). Although there is some connection between the two, gamification is mostly used to improve the engagements among stakeholders in different contexts (Mora et al., 2015). On the other hand, game designs are mostly used for entertainments in different perspectives. Gamification in various institutions relies on the provisions of game design theory; a theory that aids in the understanding of the different properties found in gamification.
The first approach towards gamification is the identification of the different game elements (Mora et al., 2015). As the starting point, Mora et al. (2017) denotes that this will serve to guide the stakeholders on how these elements will be incorporated in the gamification process. At this point, the idea of coming up with different particles, referred to as game elements in this case is relevant in acknowledging the theory of game atoms. The theory provides that a game has to be designed by incorporating different atoms to come up with a framework that will be relevant in the given context. Based on this idea of combining different elements to come up with a design of a game, ten elements have been found crucial. The elements according to Mora et al. (2015) are; Feedback, three-dimensional environments, narrative, self-representation, reputation levels and ranks, competition under rules, communication, teams, time pressure, economies and marketplaces.
Framework definition is used to guide the assembling of a game design through standardized practices, concepts and criteria (Mora et al., 2015). Although game design is considered a complex activity to be condensed into a formal procedure, the conceptual and real structure presented by a framework can be used to develop an effective design of a game in any perspective where engagement id needed (Mora et al., 2017). Additionally, in coming up with a game design, the approach should be taken as an agile procedure that cannot be structured to adhere to a given formal procedure. Different mechanisms can be adopted to arrive at the expected outcomes (Mora et al., 2015).
Mechanics, Dynamics and Aesthetics (MDA) is a game design framework developed to solve the issue of the need of a formal and recognized proposal (Mora et al., 2015). The framework was established by Hunicke et al. In 2014 as a formal approach by which games could be understood. As elaborated by Mora et al. (2015), the framework was intended at bridging the gap between game design and development, game criticism and technical game research. The framework clarifies that games can be created in three main elements: fun, rules and system. The elements, as discussed by Mora et al. (2015) lead to the following components used in game designing:
• Mechanics, illustration of the different elements of the game during the representation of data and algorithms.
• Dynamics, the identification of the run-time behavior of the mechanics as they interact with the inputs of the player and the results.
• Aesthetics, the desirable emotional outcomes by the player when interacting with the interface.
Gamification is a broad term that brings together different professionals (Mora et al., 2015). Different interests of the people who will be interacting with the game must be incorporated in its designs, a factor that calls for the involvement of people from diverse disciplines in life. Gamification frameworks are categorized differently, with a three-dimensional perspective illustrated below being used in most cases.
Fig. 1: The Categorization of Gamification Frameworks
Generic Frameworks
The self-Determination Theory defines the success of any framework to be used in gamification (Mora et al., 2015). Before nay gamification to take place in an organization, Mora et al (2015) illustrates the following steps that must be adhered to: The first step is the identification of the need to gamify where the objectives of the stakeholders and business are considered, the second step is to identify the profiles of the players and what motivates them, the third step is to set up the goals and objectives of the project, describe the skills and finally, to track and measure the interests and final outcomes.
The 6D framework is the most common gamification framework in use (Mora et al., 2015). The application of the framework starts by defining the objectives of the institution or business, capturing the expected behaviors and the intended players. Additionally, Mora et al. (2015) clarifies that the framework caters for the activities to be undertaken along the process while maintaining the fun expected by the stakeholders. Finally, the framework creates the gamification system with the necessary tools with which it can operate (Mora et al., 2015).
GAME is a simpler framework that was proposed by Marczewski in 2012 (Mora et all., 2015). The framework I s undertaken in two phases, starting with planning and designing. In the planning, the framework details that the relevant information like the intended users be collected by means of a survey (Mora et al., 2015). After collecting this information, the stakeholders come together to design a solution for goals and engagements through the measurement of the activities of the user and the results (Mora et al., 2015).
A third gamification framework detailed by Mora et al. (2015) is based on Human-Computer Interaction principles. Different dimensions outside the provisions of the gamification approaches are identified and used in designing an elaborate framework. From the analysis of the framework, three essential dimensions have been described: cognitive dimension of interaction, motivation emotion and commitment, and sensory-motor dimension (Mora et al., 2015). The framework, being computer-aided is based on two crucial process; the context analysis (User-centered design) and the iterative conception of the gamification experience (Mora et al., 2015).
Different guiding guidelines can also be used in gamification as proposed by De Paz in 2013. The guidelines can be used for any project that requires gamification; with the value of this framework based on the guidelines by Werbach and Hunters in their six steps of gamification (Mora et al., 2015). However, although six steps have been adopted, they are further divided into three categories; business preparation or the setting up, coming up with the basic design and the application of game elements (Mora et al., 2015). The final stages of this is the implementation and maintenance of the gamification system through the use of metrics.
Francisco-Aparicio framework of 2013 is based on two perspectives; determination of the game mechanics activities which should be designed to meet the human psychological and social needs of human motivation (SDT) and also assess the efficacy of the gamification process (Mora et al., 2015). The assessment of the gamification process has to be in line with the fun criteria where satisfaction is given key consideration. The framework requires games to be categorized into three parts: Game core, engine and interface (Mora et al., 2015). Finally, the framework identifies end-user analysis main objectives and cross-cutting identification, implementation and the analysis of the efficacy of the system as the essential activities.
Octalysis (2013) is a complete gamification framework by Yu-Kai Chou (Mora et al., 2015). The approach places more emphasis on human motivation than any other requirement for the gamification. In its operation, the framework focuses on a Human-Focused design as opposed to the functional-focused design whose intention is to get a job done quickly. The framework derives its name from an octagon shape with eight sides representing the eight core drives. The drives are: epic meaning and calling, development and accomplishment, creativity and feedback, ownership and possession, social influence and relatedness, scarcity and impatience, unpredictability and curiosity and loss and avoidance (Mora et al., 2015).
Business-Specific Frameworks
Player-Centered Design Methodology is a practical guide for user experience designers, product managers and developers presented by Kumar for business use only (Mora et al., 2015). The design is used to incorporate gamification requirements into the business. The framework is based on the understanding between both the business player and the objectives of the business (Mora et al., 2015). The approach illustrates the eights steps considered to be essential in business operations: understanding the player, understanding the mission, understanding human motivation, application of game mechanics, setting of game rules, defining the loops of engagement, managing-monitoring-measuring and the consideration of legal and ethical issues (Mora et al., 2015).
Gears came up with the Role-Motivation-Interaction Framework based on the model by Constantine and Lockwood (Mora et al., 2015). The approach operates under a predefined architecture which makes the process easier and also defines rules which people must adhere to. Finally, the framework proposes the description of goals, objectives, the rules of the business, behavioral norms, preconditions, actors and the causes of actions as the key considerations.
Sergio Jimenez proposed the Gamification Model Canvas for the evaluation of play-based solutions (Mora et al., 2015). The framework is used in the development of some behaviors in non-game environments. For the gamified design process, the elements considered are revenue, players, behaviors, aesthetics, dynamics, components, platforms, mechanics and costs.
Finally, gamification development is considered a Technology-Centered Design process by Li’s approach (Mora et al., 2015). The design is based on the Rational Unified Process which is an interactive framework for software development. The approach visualizes the introduction of gamification in the arbitrary information systems from the business modeling phase to the improvement and monitoring phases (Mora et al., 2015). Moreover, the framework pays attention to the definition of roles like domain, business and IT experts. Finally, the phases considered under this framework are business modeling, requirements, iterative design, provisioning, implementation, testing, deployment and monitoring (Mora et al., 2015).

Mora, A., Riera, D., González, C., & Arnedo-Moreno, J. (2017). Gamification: A systematic review of design frameworks. Journal of Computing in Higher Education, 29(3), 516–548.

Mora, A., Riera, D., Gonzalez, C., & Arnedo-Moreno, J. (2015). A Literature Review of Gamification Design Frameworks. 2015 7th International Conference on Games and Virtual Worlds for Serious Applications (VS-Games), 1–8.


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