Rewards, behaviour and your worst enemy

AS you may have noticed, one of my favorite Gamification Gurus is Andrzej Marczewski. He said once “Rewards must celebrate achievements, not be the achievement itself”

On that regard, he posted a new article in Medium explaining that her daughters’ school decided best to reward attendance with no homework for the week.

Here is the thing. The more people trying to do bad gamification using poor techniques like this one will only result in further resistance against this trend.

Rewards are things or feelings the player receives AFTER behaving in a specific way within the rules of a system. However, the insistance on giving something to E-V-E-R-Y single action made is absolute chaos and more importantly, meaningless.

When a player behaves as expected, he shouldn’t be rewarded. That means that everyone receives a medal just for participating and we all know that generates mediocre minds and instant-reward expectations.

In case of Andrzej school, he explains really well all the little problems this “creative” solution presents. One of the things is that if a player CAN’T go to school because of health, they lose the reward and in the end, they will ONLY want to go to school IF they can go the whole week, otherwise, why go?

This last sentence refers to the worst enemy in gamification: The Overjustification Effect.

Simply put, it is what happens when the reward becomes more important to the players than the activities and they will stop doing the activites UNLESS they are rewarded.

Sounds familiar? Every loyalty program in the PLANET is based on the assumption that players will keep wanting the rewards you offer.

Human beings will NEVER be satisfied. This causes an awful loop where you try to fulfill their desiress with something, they don’t get it, feel dissapointed, you promise again they’ll be satisfied, they “play again” until they realise they never knew what they wanted to begin or why they started playing onfirst place, they don’t get it again and keep being dissapointed looking for someone who will fulfill their promise.

It’s awful.

Now, How to avoid it… well.. click here.