Gamification From the Perspective of Self-Determination Theory and Flow


In human-computer interaction, the trend towards gamification is part of the shift of focus from usability to the more holistic approach of user experience. Gamification is “the use of game elements in non-game contexts” and is increasingly used in a variety of domains such as crowd sourcing, health care, sustainability, sports and learning. In today’s Internet, consumer loyalty is low and high expectations are placed upon positive effects of gamification. Despite its widespread use, only a small number of studies have examined the phenomenon empirically and it is still unclear if and how gamification is able to live up to expectations. A promising approach is to study gamification from the perspective of motivation theories. The extensive research on rewards and research in the field of video games makes the theory of self-determination a viable starting point. Likewise, the concept of flow has strengths when it comes to designing for an optimal user experience and usability. Following the approach of self-determination theory, the possible effects of personal, situational and contextual factors will be discussed and recommendations for design and possible research will be given.