Gamification is a factor of success

Study by ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics shows the impact of game design elements in a quiz

A new study from the ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics shows that game design elements can motivate in quiz environments. The study involved 505 test subjects and looked at feedback, progress bars, badges and narratives. Individual elements were already sufficient to increase motivation. Most effective was a combination of badges and feedback. The narrative element had a significant motivational effect. The study offers valuable insights for the development of motivating learning and training environments.

The ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics  conducted a study on gamification which provides important results for the motivational effects of various game design elements in learning and training environments. 505 persons participated in the scientitifc study of Dr Athanasios Mazarakis and Paula Bräuer from the ZBW research group Web Science which looked at the effects of feedback, progress bars, badges and narratives on the motivation of the participants.

The study’s results show that individual game design elements are sufficient to motivate people to answer questions in a quiz. A comparison with a control group without gamification showed significant positive effects from feedback, progress bars and narratives. Particularly noteworthy is the finding that the combination of badges and feedback produced the best results and motivated participants most strongly to answer all questions.

Another important finding from the study is the relevance of the narrative element which had a significant motivational effect on its own. By using a storytelling developed especially for the quiz, additional incentives could be offered to the participants.

Based on the findings of this study on gamification and the motivational effects of game design elements in a quiz, the following practical tips can be given:

  • Use individual game design elements: The findings show that single game design elements such as feedback, progress bars and narratives are sufficient to motivate individual subjects. Organisations should use these elements in a targeted manner to increase motivation in quiz or learning environments. Developing a single game design element alone is promising and saves costs, compared to developing two or more elements.
  • Combine badges and feedback: The combination of badges and feedback proved particularly effective in motivating participants in the study of Mazarakis & Bräuer (2023). Companies and organisations can use this combination to create a strong incentive for participation and answering all questions fully.
  • Emphasise the narrative element: The narrative element had a significant motivational effect. By using an especially developed storytelling, additional incentives can be offered to the participants. Companies or organisations should therefore use stories or narratives to create more interesting and more motivational learning processes or quizzes.
  • Contextual adaptation: The effect of the game design elements can vary depending on the use case. Companies and organisations should contextualise the results and adapt the game design elements accordingly to achieve the best possible effects.
  • Create motivational learning and training environments: The findings offer companies and organisations new opportunities for designing more motivational learning and training environments. Through the targeted use of game design elements, participants can be involved more closely in the learning process and their motivation can be increased.

The ZBW study on gamification by Mazarakis & Bräuer (2023) provides valuable findings for the development of gamification approaches in various areas of learning and fills an important gap in research. The study is an essential part of basic research at the ZBW in the field of Web Science which looks at usage phenomena and usage behaviour in digital learning and research landscapes.

Researchers of the ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics will be happy to provide more information and details about the study.

The publication:

Athanasios Mazarakis & Paula Bräuer (2023) Gamification is Working, but Which One Exactly? Results from an Experiment with Four Game Design Elements, International Journal of Human–Computer Interaction, 39:3, 612-627, DOI: 10.1080/10447318.2022.2041909