Scott Reinke is the Coordinator for Ball State Achievements at Ball State University. Ball State Achievements is an awesome new approach to retention of at-risk student through mobile gamification. Scott has always been passionate about games and wants to leverage their power in higher education.
Daily, Scott is mostly running the achievements program, with things like communicating with students, coordinating with other university areas, researching gamification/games, learning new skills, writing for conferences, designing and/or writing marketing campaigns.
The Achievements Program is for “at risk” students, to move the dial on retention rates, which we’ve found is highly impacted by their engagement with the university. We have achievements in many forms to get them to participate in different activities.
Chili’s Margarita Madness was one of the best applications of gamification according to Scott. However, it turned into one of the worst. A massive change in the balance economy of the system almost brought it down due to changes that were not well thought through. The good design came back, so the story has a great comeback.
The biggest achievement he’s faced was finding meaningful rewards for students in his system. Finding things that they were interested in, required talking directly to them and understanding their needs and interests. In the end instead of quick small rewards, they were driven towards big meaningful rewards. If you can find a reward that drives them to engage even further, you’ve found the golden ticket!
So, Scott’s process for gamification looks like this:
- Talk to potential users
- Player Type evaluation
- Free write/Free Draw
- Paper Prototype
- Low-Fi prototype
A best practice is to clearly identify your KPIs and supporting metrics, so you can stick to the objective. Your primary KPI is your vision.
What’s your favorite game?
Currently playing: Hearthstone
Scott would love to listen to Jane McGonigal in Professor Game!
What book would you recommend?
The favorite book ever is Cat’s Cradles by Kurt Vonnegut, and he’s from Indiana like Scott.
A Theory of Fun by Raph Koster for Play/Game theory
Game Maker’s Toolkit by Mark Brown for Game Analysis on YouTube
Start small and don’t feel like you must have a finished, polished product to start testing. Fail fast, see what happens, write about it if you can.
For the random question, Scott thinks there’s no generic answer, so he would go to find out which are the player types for that classroom. If, for example, in an art class you probably have mostly explorers competition is probably not going to work. You might want to allow for more side quest type of activities. If it where achievers, they are the “completionists”, find a way to visually show them where they are and where the finish line is.
Want to contact Scott? His twitter handle is @ScottReinke and his email is smreinke [at] bsu [dot] edu
A final word of advice is to play as many and as diverse of games as possible.