Gamification Mechanic Monday: Grinding

In most games you will find that to reach the next level you may have to perform a series of repetitive tasks, which is also known as grinding. Quite often people give it a negative connotation, however it is part and parcel of most journeys to mastery. Typically you learn to play the basics of any game quite rapidly, but then it takes practise in order to get better and aim higher. It is no different in real life, most of learn the basics of any skill quite easily, but we need to practise in order to master a particular skill. This side of games is often used especially in casual games to create thinking time, where you just go through the motions of playing the game, yet you don’t need to be on high alert.

In enterprise gamification projects creating moments where just regular work needs to get done before levels are unlocked or rewards are bestowed is also normal. Repetitive tasks are often considered boring yet, our brain does appreciate the fact that we give it a rest from peak performance, just like any muscle in our body. I know from years of running a business that some of the accounting side may not be my favourite part of the business, yet at times I find it therapeutic to do the same kind of tasks with a clear view in mind, namely knowing your numbers to great detail. It may not be considered my best skill or my best work, yet it is an essential part of running a business and hence I see it as a way of reaching the next level, just grinding to get through it.

In learning grinding finds it place by repeating necessary vocabulary and sentence structures. Applications like Duolingo have built in the dashboard indicators to show how well you maintain certain vocabulary. They actively want to encourage regular use of the training to ensure you improve but also that some words will stick with you in the long run. As children we have learned by repeating a lot, we mimic our parents initially and then other children. Until we have found our own use for the newly obtained skill.

Where does grinding apply for you in your gamification or just work?

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