How to RAMP up your motivation

The new year has kicked off! We’re all getting back into the swing of things and ready to get the new year going. Well… maybe not all of us. Personally, this hasn’t quite been the case for me. It’s taken me a lot more energy than I expected to orientate myself and get tasks completed these first few weeks. This lead me to the great theories of….Motivation. When one thinks of motivation many of us may think it’s one internal force that drives us to persevere through tasks that we enjoy. I can openly share that I would have much rather been sleeping in this morning than being at the gym, but I was still motivated, pleasant or not.

I recently came across a professor (Barry Fishman) sharing a photo of a squirrel lying in the hot sun, asking if we thought the squirrel was motivated. Most would think not, but he followed it with something that has really stuck with me since: Yes, the squirrel is motivated, motivated to have a nap in the sun. This is one of the greatest misconceptions of motivation. The bottom line is, everyone is motivated, but maybe not to do the things you want them to do. So, if one could sit and play Mario Brothers for hours in the evening, why couldn’t one sit and complete important tasks? Even when the one is obviously more important to me than the other.

Andrzej Marczewski developed the R.A.M.P model of motivation (a combination of The Self Determination Theory by Deci & Ryan (2000) and The Drive Theory by Pink (2009) to cater for intrinsic motivation and how to design successful games using these principles. I want to share this model with you as it gives some great insight into our motivation in general, and why games keep us engaged. Andrzej’s R.A.M.P model comprises of relatedness, autonomy, mastery and purpose. These relate to intrinsic motivation, where the activity is pleasurable for its own sake and not external rewards.

Relatedness – the desire to be connected to others. Social status and true connectedness to others or to communities satisfies this desire. Having a community that enjoys their interactions with each other becomes the key to retaining their engagement and loyalty. It’s highly motivating when you feel that others value you as well as the contribution you make to your team, company, or community.

Autonomy – the need to feel agency, independence or freedom. Do we have meaningful choices available or are we forced to do things one way? People want to feel that they have some sort of control over what they are doing. Without some level of freedom, innovation and creativity will be stifled. Having options on how to do tasks goes a long way in having people engaged in getting the tasks done.

Mastery – the desire to learn new skills and develop expertise in them. It is important that we feel our skills are increasing in proportion to the level of challenge (also see theory of flow). This works when people are guided through training levels and the difficulty increases as you get better at the skill. People feel motivated when they can see the personal progress they are making, over and above the opportunity or challenge to progress in their skills in the first place.

Purpose – a feeling of greater meaning or desire to be altruistic. We want to feel that there is a reason for what we are doing, or that it has some greater meaning. Altruism is linked to purpose in that you put the welfare of others before your own. We need to have that greater “Why” that Simon Sinek is renowned for sharing. When we have the why; when we can remind ourselves of the higher reason for our actions or tasks, we can re-engaged ourselves and be motivated to push through.

Next time you, or your team are feeling a little low on motivation, try and play a game that highlights one of these principles to increase engagement and motivation. Also, next time you’re on your second hour of playing your favourite game think of which of these principles is being applied to keep you engaged. Would you like to learn more about the psychology of games and game-based solutions. and how to apply them in a practical way? Attend our Learning Lab in Gamification. 

Gamification in Learning

Today's learners are digital natives and have a new profile. They grew up with digital technologies, different learning styles and new attitudes to the learning process, and higher requirements for teaching and learning. Organisations are facing new challenges and have to solve important issues related to the adaptation of the learning process towards employee’s needs, preferences and requirements. Different methods and approaches that allow employees to be active participants with strong motivation and engagement to their own learning is needed. This brings us to the current buzzwords of Gamification and Game-based Learning (GBL) in the field of androgogy.

Although both are innovative ways to train your learners, they aren’t actually interchangeable. While both may relate to education and training, how they relate varies greatly.

So, what is gamification? According to Karl Kapp gamification is “using game-based mechanics, aesthetics and game thinking to engage people, motivate action, promote learning, and solve problems.” Gamification is the use of game thinking, approaches, and elements in a context different from the games. Using game mechanics improves motivation and learning in formal and informal conditions ( Various definitions overlap and can be summarized as follows: Gamification is an integration of game elements and game thinking in activities that are not games.

What it does mean is that you are taking motivational elements from games, such as badges or achievements, and incorporating them into the learning experience to encourage your learners to perform a specific behaviour.

An example of this in a web-based training application would be awarding learners badges for completing sections of training and posting their scores to a leaderboard. These actions encourage learners and keep them engaged.

Some Benefits of Gamification include:

On the other hand, we have game-based learning. Game-based learning is using games to teach specific content. This can be through a game created for education (serious games), or a non-educational game for educational purposes. These present a structured end-to-end approach which immerses learners in a simulated experience using game mechanics in a great way to reinforce learning. Game-based learning gives students the freedom to fail and focuses on using the game to reinforce the learning material and provide context. In essence, any variety of game encourages the player to practice, learn from their mistakes, and gain many important skills.

Using games to teach can do the following:

While gamification and game-based learning are buzzwords in the training realm, and are sometimes used interchangeably, they are different. Gamification is using game-like mechanics, such as badges and leaderboards, in your training. It is not playing games or using games to teach. Whereas, game-based learning is using games to teach and reinforce educational objectives. Incorporating either one of these elements into your training is a sure way to catch your audience’s interest and teach them your material.

When to use which?

Igniting a customer-centric culture with game-based and experiential learning

Gone are the days of “Good day, how may I help you?”. Today it sounds more like “Good Day, Let’s go on a journey together to see how we can change your world”. We have moved away from just offering customer service, and towards a focus on co-creating an extraordinary customer experience. If a brand wants to make a sale, they must make an impact, with a mind-blowing customer experience.

Companies now need to determine not only how to attract customers initially, but how to get them to keep coming back for more. The customer experience journey is at the top of organisation’s list of priorities in day to day business. Having said that,we have to ask the question;“How much have they invested in the skilling of their front-line employees that are responsible for offering these incredible customer experiences daily?

There are numerous reasons why game-based learning and customer-service are great partners to deliver change in how customer service is delivered. Here are some statistics on customer service and how game-based learning helps you get through the road blocks on taking your customers on an unique customer journey.

Game2Change has developed many successful Customer Service training programs using our game-based tools and techniques.

Ethics & Compliance | Massmart

Client need:

Our client requested an update of their current CBL learning due to regulatory and compliance changes. In addition, they transitioned to a new learner management system of Moodle and needed to ensure compatibility. The CBL content needed to be developed in an HTML format (no flash) and to be SCORM compliant with Moodle with tracking and reporting capability.

Our solution:

G2C Learning reviewed the content of all the current CBL, video and workbooks and designed a standard template to incorporate into the compliance eLearning for launch in 2021.
A standard template and repurposing of existing content was applied to the learning design. The key objective was to design an easy to understand, simple eLearning which could be rolled-out on the new Moodle platform.


We have noticed that most learners enjoyed the transition to eLearning and would in future prefer this mode.
Another key area is that learners would like the eLearning to be more engaging, this could be in terms of design, interactivity and how key information is conveyed.

Change Management | Nashua

Client need:

Our client was adopting a blended learning approach in their organization. We were requested to design and deliver a fun and engaging game to launch their new eLearning system as part of their training campaign. The campaign was to initiate the launch and training for their selected change champions and eLearning ambassadors.

The ultimate goal was to energize and excite the ambassadors for the new eLearning system as well as highlight the benefits of implementing the system in their branches. The game-based experience was required to get ambassadors to adopt the new system and give them skills and techniques of how to navigate change through group knowledge sharing.

Our solution:

We designed a tactile (board) game to include learning a new skill and driving positive behavior change. The skill and knowledge component consisted of:

spa Key benefits of technology (Learner Management System)

spa Key benefits of blended learning.

spa Process to assist staff to embrace change.

The behavioral component was to drive a positive and resilient approach to managing change within the organization. This was achieved through:

spa Team cohesion and support (between champions in different regions)

spa How to create buy-in and manage resistance.

This was delivered in a high energy co-facilitated session with internal sponsors of the project. A total of 40 change champions participated in two  games over a period of 2 hours, with a debrief thereafter.

Customer Experience | Wimpy

Client need:

Our client was launching their annual campaign and required an energized approach to their customer experience training program. As part of their traditional training, the Customer Experience Game was required to encourage learning of new behavioral skills, team cohesion, and high energy for both front line and support staff.

The game needed to create an energized and experiential session whereby behaviors and mindsets could be challenged. The game needed to be designed around our client’s campaign theme with a strong impactful narrative.

Our Solution:

Game2change designed a two levelled game, to be played in teams (3 – 5) across all five categories. Competition and collaboration is achieved while creating an engaging learning experience. The duration is between 1,5 – 2 hours. The game consisted of 5 categories which each related to a different area of training content.

We made use of scenarios and role-play based questions in order to change behaviors and mindsets within a real-life context. The below content areas were covered as part of the gameplay:

spa Overview of good customer service and ethos which covers basic customer service skills.

spa Questions to get to know each of the team members. Positive traits and attributes are also emphasized and celebrated.

spa General knowledge and what is happening in the world and the client’s company and industry. Included fun activities and challenges.

spa Questions and scenarios that highlight the difference between customer service and customer experience. Questions are based on enhancing customer experience.

spa Scenarios and role-plays of challenges in the customer service environment. These are day-to-day situations that encourage problem solving and are real-life scenarios for the client’s company.

Internal trainers were upskilled on how to run the game and provide feedback in order to maximize learning. Trainers then rolled-out the game nation wide at the client’s branches as part of their campaign launch as well as part of their training programs.

Customer Experience | FNB

Client need:

Our client required a fun and interactive way to deliver customer service training as part of onboarding and existing staff refreshers. The game needed to have strong relevance to the client’s industry and environment.

Game2Change designed a Customer Experience Game to enhance customer centric skills within the call centre environment.

Our solution:

Game2Change designed a full tactile game to meet the following objectives:

  • Develop a knowledge of who the customer is and how to personalize service.
  • Develop product knowledge and how services are executed.
  • Develop problem solving skills.
  • Cultivate the behavioral skills of empathy, listening, and having a positive attitude.
  • Embed team support and cohesion to manage the emotional labor of

The game used the following techniques in order to meet the objectives:

  • Openness and sharing of different perspectives.
  • Simulated scenarios and narratives based on real-life data collected form stakeholders.
  • Fun and interactive engagement which lowers defenses and enables better problem solving.
  • Team cohesion with social dynamic mechanics.

There was a 17% increase in score between the pre- and post-assessment for the test group, as well as a 5% increase between the test and control group.
The below graph shows the score frequency summary of the results:

The pre- and post-assessment each had 10 questions, answered anonymously. The assessments were both based on the client specific content areas of the game. Each assessment had variations of questions for each content area in order to have meaningful test results. By not having repeated questions participants could not memorize questions and answers.

Induction | Discovery

Client need:

Our client’s Online Induction Program was an initiative designed to facilitate the onboarding of new employees. This program allowed our client’s employees to gain information and knowledge through a series of visual elements coupled with face-face interactions. The client required a learning platform, such as Udemy, which allowed their new employees to access and journey through the online course via a self-directed learning experience.

Our client required a solution that was not only informative but visually engaging. The online program needed to have the client’s professional look and feel, whilst functionally being simple to navigate and complete. The online induction program was required to showcase the 5 pillars of Discovery to new employees.

Our solution:

Game2Change designed and delivered a series of 10 video-based units encompassing the Online Induction Program. The 10 videos displayed different areas of our client’s company and delivered crucial information for each.

With the objective being to provide useful information to new employees and foster high retainment and engagement, Game2Change designed content which was simple and concise to understand and remember. Along with the content, the functionality of the platform and clickable features were met with ease during the navigation stage of the course.

Game2Change delivered the solution with the following deliverables:

Induction | Standard Bank

Client need:

The client required an innovative way to train and induct their new graduates.
The graduates participated in a two-week induction program which included onsite rotation in the organization.

The blended learning session consisted of group cohorts learning online. The second components was experiential to reinforce material covered online and in the content induction sessions.

Our solution:

We designed and delivered three games over a period of 2 weeks (facilitated over 3 days) which delivered a blended learning induction programme of digital and game-based workshops for new graduates.

The objective was to provide an overview of the enterprise and drill down into divisional and team level, allowing new incumbents with a know-how of navigating and operating in a large corporate environment, and how to apply the New Ways of Work. Each layer of the organization was explained and related back to the individuals, with a game-based intervention to consolidate understanding.

The three games designed were:

Keys to Enterprise: Journey into understanding the organization at an enterprise level.

Battleship Bootcamp: Journey of understanding the division and its components.

Clash of Clans: Journey of understanding each of the teams and how they operate.

This approach not only harnessed the energy of new talent into the organization but increased retention with better organizational awareness, and formation of work relationships.


8 Elements to make learning effective

With game-thinking increasing in popularity we want to delve into the elements that make learning fun and effective. These elements were originally proposed by Karl Kapp (2016) and show how games relate to and illicit each of these elements.

According to Karl Kapp, there are eight gaming elements which can be included in a learning programme or user experience. These increase a person’s enjoyment and ability to learn new content, pick up new skills, and update their mental model.

Game-based learning is effective because the game elements used, naturally draw a person’s attention to the task. The attentiveness to game play then extends to the learning content of the game, so we have people learning without fully realising it.

Games elicit a range of emotions – frustration, elation, sadness, anger, and happiness. By putting the critical element of emotion back into learning, people are quite adept at recalling learning when learning is tied to strong emotions. This is the basis of why narrative and storytelling are so effective in learning programs.
In a game, a player could lose a life or be required to start over because of a wrong move. When people believe something is at risk, they pay closer attention, focus their energy, and are engaged with the task at hand. This risk and friendly competition in a game increase focus and, therefore, learning retention.
Mystery pique’s learners’ curiosity – use it to draw them in and encourage them to explore content from several angles. Games can direct learners to use deductive reasoning to engage with learning content and use collective knowledge sharing to complete tasks.
Involve the learners immediately in the learning process – don’t have them read content for the first few minutes. Action and interactivity engage learners, and increases interactivity, therefore opening communication.
Learning modules need to start with a challenge – something that is difficult requires deep thinking, and cannot be achieved by guessing. This links to the theory of flow whereby the challenge of the activity needs to be slightly above the participant's skill level in order to keep engagement and prevent boredom.
Add an element of chance to the learning process. Have learners bet on the confidence of an answer or give them a 50/50 opportunity to get an easy or hard question. Uncertainty adds suspense or intrigue and focuses learners’ attention on the task at hand. This also allows participants of varying skill levels to be active in the game and not disengage.
People like to have a sense of mastery. They like to know that they know the content. Give them a chance to apply their newly learned content; ask it in different ways and see if they can express their own knowledge. Games are a great way to test application as it lends itself to the scenario and role-play activities.
Throughout the module give learners a visible sign of moving through the content, such as a badge when they achieve a learning objective. Don’t leave progress reports until the end. Include them often within the instruction. Games allow visual progress to be woven into the narrative. World levels, task badges, gaining resources, super-powers, and unlock-able challenges are a few ways to do this.

At Game2Change we design our game-based products around these 8 elements in relation to the learning objectives. It is important to get the balance between fun game elements and effective learning content just right. Our aim is to deliver learning content in a more effective method, and we have seen over the last 5 years how game-thinking is the most successful way to do this.