Ep 028 Jonathan Peters talks about how to avoid self-hugging in gamification

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  • Have you ever had an unresponsive or disconnected learner?
  • Could you use great ideas to engage your audience?
  • Are you ready to apply gamification to your programs?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you are in the right place!

Dr. Jonathan Peters has spent the last two decades studying why people do what they do, why they make the decisions they make.

As a speaker, Dr. Peters has helped audiences from Augusta, Maine to Melbourne, Australia, better connect with customers and employees. He is an adjunct professor at the University of Nevada Las Vegas and Chief Motivation Officer at Sententia Gamification.

He helps entice, engage, and encourage learners. Jonathan Peters is a speaker, author, and bourbon connoisseur!

It’s hard to have two days alike with Jonathan, he’s traveling quite regularly and he can be anywhere in the US or the world, even though their home base is in Austin, Texas.

His favorite fail using gamification was using his program “This Ain’t Your Grandma’s Grammar.” The concept around it is grandma loves grammar and grandma makes cookies, and throughout the day you collect cookies. Normally he doesn’t use actual cookies and it requires at least 12 people. However, this company asked to apply it to 5 people and he decided to use real cookies. He didn’t know that out of the 5, 2 of the participants were very attached to cookies, so they didn’t want to use the cookies as game pieces. Jonathan was creating stress for these learners! He was doing some self-hugging, as he didn’t realize that other people place a different value on food. This is the main learning, that we tend to think, not only that the users “should” be like us, but that they actually are like us. More often than not this is not true!

Instead of sharing the biggest challenge that he’s solved using gamification, Jonathan decided to share a big challenge he’s facing right now. The concept he’s trying to cut through is the fact that most times game and gamification designers are creating experiences for someone else, but he’s been thinking what about if he creates an experience where he’s the designer and also a player? Something like the game master in certain RPG (role-playing games) who create the settings but then roll the dice like everyone else!

In general, when creating gamification, Jonathan uses the Sententia Gamification process. It starts with the user profiling, and they use the Reiss profiles which is the first empirically based taxonomy of human needs and desires. It talks about 16 motivations and the emphasis that each person puts on every one of those. The next step is to match the game mechanics to those profiles, this is especially useful to avoid self-hugging so you design for them and not for yourself. If you want more details about their process, go to their website and perhaps you might even consider taking some of their training: SententiaGamification.com, he also offered his email if you have questions: BigHead [at] SententiaGames [dot] com.

A best practice for him would be, once again, to create a learner/player persona and start from there! His favorite game would be Othello (also known as Reversi) and right now he’s very much into Angry Birds Friends! A nice thing about this game is that it locks you out, so you can also keep on track with the rest of your life.

Jonathan would love to listen to the designer of the game of Ready Player One! But in real life, it would be Jane McGonigal. As far as books go, he’s currently working on his own, but he would recommend Reiss’ “Who am I?

His superpower in gamification is to match the game mechanics with the audience that he reaches out to, making sure it works in the right place. The random question is related to gamification and different cultures. If you want his answer go to the episode around minute 30! His final advice is certainly to make sure its fun and of course that means something different for different people.

If you want to contact Jonathan you can do so through his email BigHead [at] SententiaGames [dot] com or through the website: SententiaGamification.com.

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