Ep 019 Altug Yilmaz and gamification for learning in Turkey


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After graduating from Mathematical Engineering he worked for Netron and BilgeAdam as a trainer. He was responsible for Turkcell Educational platforms more than 5 years at Turkcell Academy. He is the author of first Turkish gamification book: and Gamification Confederation GamFED’s Turkey representer. He blogs about gamification and is the only Turkish person who got invited and gave a speech at Gamification World Congress GWC16 in Madrid, Spain. He is doing lecturing at a University and doing gamification consultancy for companies.

Altug tries to gamify his life and is spreading the word of gamification in Turkey. He now doesn’t use business cards, instead, he gives away his book! A few years ago he quit his job and is now mostly dedicated to gamification in Turkey, especially to early adopters. There are no regular days, some days he goes to the university, other days he’s going to work for companies doing gamification.

In his experience, projects don’t have 100% success nor failure, but in Turkey, he’s found that it’s really hard to get people to use gamification without feeling bad about it! On one project, he realized almost no one was using their solution. After hearing “gamification” many of the employees felt it was not right for them to “play” in the job so didn’t use it! Altug says that the Turkish culture makes most people quite shy and after a conversation with some employees he realized that they were afraid to show up in the leaderboard because people would actually think they were not working! The project shifted to having collective avatars instead of individuals, so branches would compete amongst themselves and didn’t show up individually. This was finally able to kickstart the engagement of the project!

For Altug perhaps the most difficult challenge is to try and understand people. With one company, they wanted to create a journey for their new employees but had never thought of gamification for that. Using game thinking to show the real characters and motivations of them was ideal. Like he says, people are really themselves when playing games.

Altug’s methodology is very close to User Experience (UX). So it involves sprints, creating a journey, focusing on what they call the pain points, understanding the motivations of the users and inserting the game elements and mechanics. Finally, it is important to measure, followed by making sure it includes fun!

In gamification, he considers that keeping the Key Performance Indicators (KPI) in the top of mind is fundamental because if they are in the expected levels it means that the project is achieving its goals, its reason to exist! He considers that the social KPI are particularly important. His favorite game is World of Warcraft, even though he can’t play it really often now.

Altug would love to hear of BJ Fogg and Nir Eyal on Professor Game! He would recommend “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg, “Gamification by Design” by Gabe Zichermann and Christopher Cunningham and “For the Win” by Kevin Werbach and Dan Hunter.

Altug’s superpower in gamification is to get people excited about gamification!

If you would like to reach Altug, you can do so through Twitter @ErcanAltug & on LinkedIn Ercan Altuğ YILMAZ. If you want his email you need to listen to the episode! His web is oyunlastirma.co (blog in Turkish).

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