The motivational effect of a gamified online platform for “Real men”

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Abstract

Danish craftsmen and workers are considered an at-risk group for developing lifestyle diseases due to low levels of physical activity and unhealthy dietary consumption. To date, no intervention has proven successful in creating lasting change in health behavior for this target group, which necessitates innovative and broad-reaching approaches.
Technology is a relatively novel approach to facilitate health behavior change. By adding game design elements, also termed “gamification”, it has shown a potential to encourage users towards target behavior and learning across use-contexts. Gamification is a new research field in health and exercise, and there is a need for more research in the context of male health behavior change.
“Sjakket” is an online platform which has been developed to facilitate health behavior change for men aged 35-55 through fellowship and competition. Men are invited to sign up, and organize in teams of 3-7 to form a fellowship. Gamification is utilized through virtual rewards and social comparison which is deployed through awarding points and generating leaderboards based on logged behavior, physical tests and completion of team-challenges.

The purpose of this project is to analyze how the gamified platform encourages users to change health behavior.

An explorative case-study approach was adopted to seek in-depth understanding of the case in its natural use-context. Participant observations and interviews were used to gather insights sensitive to the culture and social context of the target users.
The preliminary findings suggest that users generally find that the platform has encouraged them to initiate health behavior change by facilitating exercise activities, nutritional tips and the creation of fellowships. Being a part of a fellowship seems to be essential for encouraging users to exercise regularly.
The gamified aspects only seem to influence encouragement during the start of participation, and users generally express that they do not feel encouraged to log their behavior to receive points. Users seem to prefer to meet in person, and view the platform as a source of information and facilitation.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date5. Oct 2017
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 5. Oct 2017
Event11th European Conference on Games Based Learning - FH JOANNEUM University of Applied Science, Graz, Austria
Duration: 5. Oct 20176. Oct 2017
Conference number: 11
http://www.academic-conferences.org/conferences/ecgbl/

Conference

Conference11th European Conference on Games Based Learning
Number11
LocationFH JOANNEUM University of Applied Science
Country/TerritoryAustria
CityGraz
Period05/10/201706/10/2017
Internet address

Keywords

  • Game-based health learning
  • gamification
  • context sensitive methods
  • behavior change
  • motivation

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