Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Power of Gamification in Therapy

iPad game for stroke and brain injury recovery
Traffic Controller 2 Lite
"Gamification" is the recasting of exercises or presentations in a way that is fun and engaging. Many companies are "gamifying" training
programs.  Gamers are being enlisted to solve complex problems <Jane McGonigal TED Talk on Gaming>. Gamification is also being applied to therapy.

So what's the big deal about Gamification? What are the real benefits and why should I be interested? Here are a couple benefits of "Gamification":

First, it provides a sense of autonomy. Through gamification the user or patient is in charge of the exercise and of making choices. When it is done well, gamification lets the user take control while moving towards the intended goal.

Second, it provides a sense of competence. As the user or patient moves through the game collecting tokens or accomplishing tasks the rewards enhance the feeling of accomplishment. This positive feedback encourages the user or patient to stay engaged and complete the intended exercise.

Third, gamification fulfills a need for socialization. Again, when done well, gamification links users and patients through leaders boards allowing them to share how well they are doing in comparison with others. This also contributes to staying engaged and returning to the game resulting in a rich user experience.

The latest game from Mike Zachry's mindMender Project provides most of these benefits while tracking performance over time on a newly designed dashboard. Traffic Controller 2 for the iPad is available now for free trial on the App Store.
Traffic Controller 2 iPad game for stroke and brain injury recovery