Learn Gamification with the Best – for Free!

Are you a startup online entrepreneur or mobile app developer? A student or professional in education, marketing, web design or HR? If yes, gamification is either already a highlighted skill on your resume or tops your “to-learn list”. Here are two excellent opportunities to get introduced to the theoretical framework, best practices, benefits and challenges associated with gamification by two of its most prominent pioneers – Kevin Werbach and Yu-Kai Chou.

Some trace it back to 2002, when computer programmer Nick Pelling first coined the term, or even further, to 1981, and the release by American Airlines of the first frequent flyer program (AAdvantage). Others may associate the birth of gamification with various seminal studies and publications (e.g. Nicole Lazzaro’s Four Keys to Fun in 2004) or the founding of major consultancies and platforms such as Bunchball in 2005.

In any case, gamification has long outgrown the buzzword stage to become a tested and proven tool for reinforcing motivation, boosting engagement, and changing behaviors in the digital age. And even if we don’t necessarily identify it as such, we have all long been exposed to gamification in our daily use of popular websites and apps as diverse as reddit, LinkedIn, Tripadvisor, Foursquare, Nike+, or Duolingo (to mention just  a few).


Individual researchers and practitioners of course vary as to the exact interpretation of the term and assign varying importance to its constituent elements, but seem to have reached general consensus around the following basic definition:

Gamification is the application of game-design elements and game principles in non-game contexts.

But if you really want to understand their success and make productive use of  gamification in your own life, work, or business, you will need to know what these “game-design elements” and “game principles” are; to learn about the mechanics of its application, and explore the relevant “non-game contexts” where gamification is likely to produce the desired results and changes in behavior.

Underlying the above fairly straightforward definition is a vast body of theory and practice, accumulated over the past 15 years, which may appear daunting to the novice. Fortunately, the discipline not only boasts countless eager disciples, but also has its own established and dedicated gurus. Kevin Werbach and Yu-Kai Chou are two of the pioneers who have contributed enormously to promoting and advancing gamification in both theory and practice,


Penn University Gamification Course on Coursera

Created by the University of Pennsylvania and taught by Kevin Werbach, Associate Professor of Legal Studies and Business Ethics at The Wharton School, this six-week online course promises to “teach you the mechanisms of gamification, why it has such tremendous potential, and how to use it effectively“.

Kevin Werbach is an expert on the business, legal, and social implications of internet and communications technologies. He has published numerous academic and popular works on internet policy, telecommunications regulation, and legal aspects of emerging technologies. He is a pioneer in the emerging field of gamification, and the co-author of For the Win: How Game Thinking Can Revolutionize Your Business, which has been translated into six languages. Over 300,000 students worldwide have registered for his Coursera Massive Open Online Course (MOOC). He has received the Wharton MBA Program Teaching Innovation and Curricular Innovation Award, and was named Wharton’s first-ever “Iron Prof”.



Week 1. Gamification and Games
Week 2. Deconstructing Games
Week 3. Motivation and Psychology
Week 4. Design
Week 5. Applications
Week 6. Gamification in Perspective

Workload: 4/8 hours/week

Next starting date: 30 January 2017


You can enroll for free and get access to all course materials. To receive feedback through the graded assignments and earn a certificate, you’ll need to purchase the course for €88.

As you will find with a quick search online, the feedback about the course is overwhelmingly positive, not only from students but also from reputed gamification experts, such as Gamification Nation’s Andrzej Marczewski who recently posted in a dedicated LinkedIn thread, “If you have any interest in Gamification, definitely take the course. It is informative and well put together.”

Click here to enroll


Yu-Kai Chou’s 21-day Gamification Course

“Gamification is the craft of deriving all the fun and addicting elements found in games and applying them to real-world or productive activities.

Since games have spent decades learning how to master motivation and engagement, we are now learning from games, and that is why we call it Gamification.”

Gamification Guru of the Year 2015, Yu-kai Chou is an author and international keynote speaker on gamification and behavioral design. He is the original creator of the behavior framework: Octalysis, and the author of Actionable Gamification: Beyond Points, Badges, and Leaderboards. He is currently President of The Octalysis Group, and has been a regular speaker/lecturer on gamification and motivation worldwide, including at organizations like Google, Stanford University, LEGO, TEDx, SxSW, Gamified India, Huawei, the Innovation Center in Denmark, Kingdom of Bahrain government, and many more.

Yu-Kai Chou has designed this free course to introduce the fundamentals of gamification and human-focused design in the context of his own original framework of 8 core drives that influence human behavior and motivate us to take action.



  • Day 1: Introduction to the course and what to expect
  • Day 2: Human-Focused Design
  • Day 3: 8 Core Drives that motivate us
  • Day 4: The Octalysis Framework
  • Day 5: Core Drive 1: Epic Meaning & Calling
  • Day 6: Core Drive 2: Development & Accomplishment
  • Day 7: Core Drive 3: Empowerment of Creativity & Feedback
  • Day 8: Core Drive 4: Ownership & Possession
  • Day 9: Core Drive 5: Social Influence & Relatedness
  • Day 10: Core Drive 6: Scarcity & Impatience
  • Day 11: Core Drive 7: Unpredictability & Curiousity
  • Day 12: Core Drive 8: Loss & Avoidance
  • Day 13: Left Brain vs Right Brain
  • Day 14: White Hat vs Black Hat
  • Day 15: Octalysis Tool
  • Day 16: Octalysis case studies
  • Day 17: Octalysis Level 2
  • Day 18: Discovery Phase
  • Day 19: Onboarding Phase
  • Day 20: Scaffolding Phase
  • Day 21: Endgame Phase


Assignments and Feedback

At each step, students are given a question to think about or some task that involves further analysis of the topic at hand, finding additional real-world examples, or possible applications of the concepts taught. They are invited to share their findings, ideas, and questions in the dedicated Octalysis Explorers group on Facebook, which is an effective feedback channel for the course.



Yu-Kai Chou’s 21-day course is completely free and open to anyone interested in gamification at any time. Upon completion students may submit a case study of a product or experience of their choice and apply for  Octalysis Level 1 Certificate of Completion. which may be free (pass/no-pass) or priced at $50 in case feedback is requested.

In true practice-what-you-preach style, Yu-Kai has added a touch of gamification, tapping into some of the very core drives taught by the course – each day’s email contains a clue about the location of a “secret code”. Students who collect them all can claim a reward at the end of the course!

Click here  to join the course today.


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