One of the most critical challenges in designing a gamified learning event is to make sure that most of the learners are committed to learning — i.e., they won’t lose their interest or engagement during the journey.
Duolingo, as one of the best examples of gamification in education, uses a simple but efficient technique to motivate its users to maintain their daily streaks.
In this chapter of the Gamification of Learning Techniques series, we examine a traditional way to make the users more committed. It’s, indeed, one of the oldest gamification techniques out there.
Duolingo’s simple method is called the Wager Challenge. The player can give five lingots (an in-game currency) to the game and start a challenge. If he maintains a seven-day streak–i.e., spending 10-15 minutes per day learning a new language–he’ll earn ten lingots. Otherwise, he’ll lose five lingots.
Core Drive #4 (Ownership & Possession)
Ownership and Possession, the fourth Core Drive in Octalysis Gamification, is based on the principle that because you own something, you want to improve it, protect it, and get more of it.
The Wager Challenge technique formulates upon two Core Drives: CD #4 and CD #8.
When you spend five lingots to activate the challenge, you give one of your possessions to the game. And if you don’t maintain your concentration, you’ll lose your lingots. You invest something in the game. And now, you’re much more dedicated to preserving your goal streak.
Core Drive #8 (Loss & Avoidance)
By spending five lingots, you activate a challenge. And in the next seven days, your task is to do not lose your streak. You have to save the egg!
If you don’t accomplish your daily missions, you’ll lose your streak and five lingots, and you’ll also lose a challenge. Who wants to be such a loser?
To sum up, you should find ways to make users more engaged and committed. And the Wager Challenge technique is an excellent way to create short-term commitment–which can lead to long-term commitment if directed correctly.