Learning skateboard style

Every so often, I am asked to review an application for its gamification merits. ZonedIn a learn to skateboard app asked me to have a look at how they implemented gamification for learning to skateboard. I downloaded it and brought it along last weekend to my partners family, where the nephews happened to have a skateboard lying around. We played around a bit with the app and the skateboard. I have to admit I never mastered the art of skateboarding before, so I entered as a complete beginner. My snowboarding skills did help somewhat even if our surface with wheels was not so easy to navigate as snow with lots of padded clothing for the inevitable wipe outs.

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The gamification in the app is totally obvious and transparent. Each activity earns you experience points and you need to prove with a video upload that you have mastered the trick. Each trick is explained with a video from a pro demonstrating how to do this. Each level contains a few tricks to master. The first five levels are available straight away and the rest you unlock with progress. The same if you want to move up in the world of skateboarding, you have the chance to go from the beginners world, to amateur, to pro to legend. Only the first two are readily available (or at least to me because I chose beginner).

The fact that uploading a video with your trick serves as proof, I find a great way of showing you are able to do it. Video review can also teach you where you are doing some things rather different than the pro and allows you to fine-tune your skill. Saying that my early efforts were so far off that getting it on video is embarrassing, so I may the kid practising in secret until I fully master the skill before recording it on any video. However for the target audience, totally appropriate.

The application also contains challenges you can take part in, to win prizes, which I think can be quite stimulating when you are learning new tricks. You can be part of something else too. The leaderboards in the app are kept separate from the learning area, which I personally think is great. They are then divided into local, regional, national and global leaders. I have to say as a beginner in a new app, I was surprised to feature after just logging in and playing around a bit. I am sure the avid boarders will very likely dominate this space very soon and my profile will disappear.

What I would suggest adding is some kind of regularity streak, because training regularly is how the muscles will remember to do tricks and master movements. Like with all learning it takes a bit of practise before you get it right. Video is great, but feeling it for yourself and seeing you do it is more powerful. The app is created for viewing in vertical mode mainly which made it a bit harder to work with, because we were using our iPad and had to make it stand, it was obviously made to be handheld on mobile. In general, it is a great gamified learning app for those of us who want to master skateboarding.

The reason why I would urge anyone in the learning field to have a look at this app, is for the proof of skills mastery and how that is worked into the application. In soft skills learning, the same method can easily be applied with video uploads and then requesting peer reviews when you are comfortable you are happy with your skills display.



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