Side effects of gamification in the context of participatory modeling

Modeling with stakeholders is one of the collaborative approaches for analysis and decision-making on complex problems. While developing a model together, the participants gain a shared and more in-depth understanding of the problem, however, group interaction and the overall engagement in the process might be challenging. There is an extensive literature on game design (e.g., serious games, management simulators and etc.) that addresses some of the challenges in the context of group learning. In most of the cases either positive or neutral effects were observed, and little attention was given to the possible side effects or unintended consequences of gamified activity. It is important to consider such effects in group settings because different people react in various ways to the overall idea of gamification as well as to the motivational drivers behind the game elements. For example, the risk associated with age or status of participants can become real during the gamified modeling session if senior participants do not feel comfortable interacting with high-tech solutions or not willing to be involved in an activity that is perceived as unserious. Another anticipated risk is connected to a rewards system that, on the one hand, encourages participation with points but, on the other hand, can demotivate those who are not succeeding. In our research we review some of the main gamification approaches used in participatory settings and propose precautions for using them

Elena Bakhanova
Jaime A Garcia
William L. Raffe
Alexey Voinov
Presented At: 
31st European Conference on Operational Research
Conference Proceedings