I caught up with Karl Kapp last year at DevLearn in Las Vegas. The respected author, professor, and gamification expert covers a variety of topics in this video interview, sharing some of the latest trends and research in the field, discussing why learning executives should invest in gamification, and providing suggestions on how CLOs can best present gamification to the C-suite. Here are some highlights of the conversation.

1. What are some of the latest trends in gamification?

The diversification of different methodologies for delivering gamified solutions—some vendors are doing it with game-based learning, some are doing it with spaced repetition, and some are doing it with competition, badges, and micro-credentialing. Each has a different way of adding value to the organization.

2. Why should a CLO invest in gamification?

It is a really effective tool for shaping behavior. That’s why gamification should be on the radar of almost every CLO.

3. How can a CLO sell gamification to upper-level management?

One of the big myths about gamification is that it’s about playing games, but it’s really about using elements from games to engage learners. One of the best ways to sell gamification is to talk about the high level of engagement that gamification causes. The second is to point to the many successful case studies. And finally, look at the dramatic results in terms of safety, employee retention, and reaching customers.

4. What are some of the common pitfalls when adding gamification?

Not implementing it correctly. Too often, people think gamification is just about points, badges, and leaderboards, but those external motivations wear off after a while. We need to combine the idea of extrinsic and intrinsic motivation with the concept of engagement.

5. Is there any research behind gamification?

Gamification is relatively new, so there is not a ton of research. But research indicates that gamification has long-term impact. We’re seeing that up to three years later, people are still involved with a gamified platform and still check their scores.

6. How would you respond to the question “Isn’t gamification just about having fun?”

I think the term “gamification” causes that misunderstanding. Gamification is not about fun. As I always say: If we want people to have fun, let’s give them the day off. But if we really want people to be engaged, let’s use the elements that we know engage people who play games, and incorporate them into our learning design and into the methodologies we use to deliver instruction.