Ep 008 Learning Gamification guru Monica Cornetti and how gamification landed on her lap

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Featured on the cover of Bloomberg Businessweek, Monica Cornetti works with individuals and organizations who want to learn how to think differently to achieve uncommon results. A gamification speaker and designer, Monica was rated #1 among the “Gamification Gurus Power 100” by RISE in 2015 and 2016, and in 2016 was also recognized as a Top 3 Finalist in the “Gamification Guru of the Year Award” by the World Gamification Congress held in Barcelona, Spain.

Monica is the Founder and CEO of the Sententia Gamification Consortium and the author of the book Totally Awesome Training Activity Guide: Put Gamification to Work for You. Monica is hired for her skill as a gamification speaker and is considered at the top of her field in gamification design for corporate learning.

She’s based in Austin, Texas and thinks it is THE most amazing city in the world. A regular day would be… chaos! She might be in the middle of a design project, a delivery, the office, there is no typical day… Because she leads a small and mighty gamification strategy organization with designers across the world, certifying others in their process. Her specialty is to take things that are not fun and turn them into fun. She uses her design strategies into her own life.

The worst experience she has had in gamification was during an instructor-led training that went too far into the competition element. In a room full of men, who took the competition perhaps too seriously, Monica concluded she didn’t know her learners very well, which is something she could certainly improve in future applications. Also, recently she was asked to participate through an app in a conference, that looked to increase engagement. There was too much emphasis on behavior that was not worthy of recognition. She has found that giving out rewards that are not worth a significant amount of money is the best option. These rewards can seriously drive behaviors, so be aware of the consequences, perhaps iterate and modify when it could be improved. Bear in mind that changing the rules needs to be announced before the rules will change, not after.

So what’s wrong with sales competition according to Monica (since forever)? That the same 3-5 people are at the top getting rewarded and the rest are not motivated. This even pushes people to do absolutely anything, including unethical things, instead of attitudes that can help multiply throughout the company, which would be the actually an objective for leadership.

Monica feels she almost tripped and fell into the training arena. She got invited to speak about developing strategic plans and dove right into it. After 20 minutes she realized almost no one was listening, one person was even counting the ceiling tiles! Then, she got a book about designing interactive learning experiences and at the time she realized how her children spent hours playing games, even though they wouldn’t study Spanish for even 20 minutes. She started to observe and started to pull from lessons of those games into her training deliveries. She was weaving these ideas into her training when a client said “I know you do that gamification thing”, Monica didn’t even know what she was talking about! Soon after she realized she had been doing this though she didn’t know what it was.

Nowadays, Monica has a process for creating gamification in learning experiences, with five levels:

  1. Probably the most difficult which is the business objectives, how is gamification going to help you achieve that. For Monica, it has to be about (in corporate settings) either increasing revenue or decreasing costs.
  2. Next find out who are the players, using what they call the Reiss profile.
  3. The theme or narrative in which the learning is embedded, including the progress and exploration.
  4. Here’s where gamification actually comes in, here come the game mechanics!
  5. Finally its the aesthetics, emotions, how it all ties together, the look and feels and making sure it all ties back to the previous levels.

For more info on all this, we can go to www.SententiaGames.com.

A best practice is always starting with objectives and players! Her favorite game is anything that she comes up with when she’s with her grandchildren, having fun.

Monica would like to hear Bernardo Letayf of Bluerabbit! She would recommend the engagers to read “Ready player one” by Ernest Cline, right after we are finished with “Totally Awesome Training Activity Guide: Put Gamification to Work for You” by herself!

Monica’s superpower is her psychology background, understanding that people don’t always do what you expect from them! So she would tell the engagers to get started, that’s the most important thing, to start small and understand that iteration is part of a design.

We can reach Monica through Twitter @MonicaCornetti, www.monicacornetti.com or through www.sententiagames.com

Remember that it’s the psychology where gamification can be successful, so be aware of “self-hugging” or designing for yourself, when we think its fun it doesn’t mean that the players will find it fun! So again, know your audience well.

4 thoughts on “Ep 008 Learning Gamification guru Monica Cornetti and how gamification landed on her lap

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