Monday, February 02, 2015

Leaderbords and the Gamification Gurus

This month I reached the top 12 of the Gamification Gurus (I don't know exactly how, but that's ok). A big climb since last month ranking. And in good company.

Leaderboards are a powerful game element that can have different flavors: single player or multiplayer, relative or absolute. To be more exact:
  • Single player, that compare the players latest score to previous scores;
  • Multiplayer that display rankings of near performing peers;
  • Multiplayer that display rankings of high performing peers;
  • Multiplayer that display rankings of near performing friends
Single player leaderboards are simple individual lists of scores, showing the performance of one player. Multiplayer leaderboards displaying rankings of near performing peers are a usual approach in social games. In rankings of high performing peers, players with a lower score may not be present. That may lead to demotivation, which is a drawback for this kind of leaderboards. Multiplayer near performing peers leaderboards are recommended for use in learning contexts.

In education, leaderboards can be an important social game element if correctly used to foster social interactions and avoid the downfalls of competition in this context. Competition is probably the reason explaining why gamified systems in the education sector do not use leaderboards so often. Alternatively, the leaderboard can be anonymous, where each player can only see other players’ scores, but not their names, reducing competition among players.

See also Leaderboards: A Social Game Element and Leaderboards: A Social Game Element (Part II).