The Gamification of Me

I Am a Gamer

Not so much a first-person shooter or spell casting, type of gamer but more of the Poké Ball throwing type of gamer. And actually, if I pause Pokémon GO and ponder… gamification has made its way into just about every level of my life!

Let me explain:

  • Each morning I buy my Starbucks coffee on an app that rewards my loyalty with digital stars. On top of that my coffee app is linked to a credit card which is garnering me frequent flyer miles. Win/Win!
  • Throughout the day, I “like,” “heart” and “swipe right” on people and ideas that appeal to me.
  • I hustle to out step my friends and close “activity rings” on my Apple Watch.
  • After I log my food into a popular gamified nutrition app, lunchtime is spent learning Spanish on an app that rewards me with access to the next bite-sized lesson on the correct Spanish for food, family and animals. Comida, familia y animales.

The lines between my reality and Tron are getting a bit blurry.

Wikipedia explains what’s happening to me in this way, “Gamification is the application of game-design elements and game principles in non-game contexts.”[1]

Gamification: A Practice Ahead of Its Name

The business world adopted gamification long before the word had been coined. Game play has been present in marketing and sales for years. I recall childhood shopping trips with my grandmother to the local A&P. At the cash register, clattering stamp machines spat out S&H Green Stamps which she would collect into special booklets and then redeem for prizes.

A few years later I fell for McDonald’s very popular spin on the Monopoly game which launched sometime in the 1980’s and has been often repeated.

In their book Changing the Game, David Edery and Ethan Mollick observe, “Companies of all shapes and sizes have begun to use games to revolutionize the way they interact with customers and employees, becoming more competitive and more profitable as a result.”

Now, even training and learning have rolled the proverbial dice. Immersive digital games have been developed by fast food chains to teach skills like, order fulfillment with employees trying to beat the clock while they build digital burgers to order.

So, does it work? Great question!

Let’s look at 2 primary goals of gamification. Gamification is often used to drive engagement and/or affect a behavior.

We’ll just take those two and use me as the anecdotal “test case.”

As I sheepishly mentioned earlier, gamification has affected my approach to how I engage in my social life. Its application within loyalty programs has influenced my spending habits. Gamification has challenged my eating habits, but it has improved my exercise habits. And, gamification has encouraged my learning habits. Sí, hablo español.

I’m Exhibit A. I am both highly engaged in and I am altering my behavior as a response to these “games.”

Gamification for Good

Additionally, marquee brands are continuing to gamify their way to customer engagement, profits and even altruism.

As a part of the launch of Pandora – The World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Walt Disney World Resort, the entertainment giant teamed with its philanthropic arm to produce the interactive game, Connect to Protect. Through a custom app, visitors to fictional Pandora, can participate in conversations on conservation with one of Pandora’s “research scientists.” Guest participation unlocks $5-10 contributions from the Disney Wildlife Fund which the guest can then designate towards protection and/or restoration of habitats important to one of 10 threatened categories of animals: apes, elephants, butterflies, coral reefs, cranes, monkeys, rhinos, sea turtles, sharks & rays, and tigers.[2] The game drives altruism on both a financial/charitable level and by driving environmental consciousness.

Less immersive game elements or “game mechanics” like points, badges, certificates and leaderboards have now integrated their way into learning management platforms like, Meridian Global LMS. These gamification features provide organizations a more economical method to effectively tap into the power of gamification than say, the financial requirement that fully immersive, complex digital games do.

Making Sure Yours Is Not a Game of Chance

Rock Paper Scissors is a great game for deciding where to go for lunch but it’s not the best way to approach game design inside your LMS. Here are 6 steps for success to consider when incorporating gamification within the context of a learning management system:

6 Steps to Winning Gamification

  1. Define Your Objective: Gamification works best when designed to support a defined learning objective. Having that objective support a stated business goal is even better. Be careful not to fall into gamification for gamification’s sake.
  2. Identify Learning Activities: Select the courses that help learners master the skills they need to reach that well-defined objective/business goal.
  3. Incorporate Culture: To get employee buy in or participation, tap into your tribe. Gamification that references a culture that employees are already familiar and aligned with will resonate more deeply with your employees.
  4. K.I.S.S. (Keep It Super Simple): Incorporate common game elements. Develop “rules of play” that are easy to understand. Scoring can be based on points, milestones or a combination of both. “By 21 years of age, many males will have spent over 10,000 hours immersed in online gaming.” McGonigal, Reality is Broken. People understand leaderboards, points, levels and badges. We have been conditioned from childhood to instinctively respond to challenges and rewards they promise. A simple straightforward game makes adoption easier for the player and makes game management a breeze for the administrator.
  5. Time Limited: Set a start and end date for the game. Just like those 50% off specials with an expiration date… we hate to miss out.
  6. Reward: Game play can be positively motivated both intrinsically and extrinsically. Intrinsically, I am motivated because I am bettering myself. Extrinsically, I am motivated and there is nothing quite as exciting as playing for points, certificates or that grand prize! Psychological, digital or physical, we enjoy the feeling when we gain something. Make a case for intrinsic rewards for playing but don’t forget to pick up that grand prize!


Now for YOUR grand prize…

Download our fun infographic:
6 Steps to Winning Gamification!

And follow Meridian on LinkedIn for more exciting content on modern learning the Meridian way.


[1] Gamification

[2] ‘Connect to Protect’ Introduces a New Interactive Way to Protect Animals on Earth and Explore Pandora – The World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

What’s New in Meridian Global LMS 17.2

The 2017 Summer Release of Meridian Global LMS adds seamless integration with OpenSesame’s eLearning Marketplace, exciting new gamification capabilities and effortless efficiency advancements.


Reston, Va. – June 24, 2017 – Meridian Knowledge Solutions, a leading learning management system (LMS) provider, today announced the availability of Meridian Global LMS® version 17.2. With the newest release of its flagship learning management product, Meridian makes the jobs of LMS administrators and instructors easier.

Meridian Global LMS 17.2 streamlines the way users find and manage content, giving learners access to more items from the learning catalog, and providing a tool for increasing user engagement.

“Providing a great experience for administrators and instructors is just as important as it is for learners.  In this release, we’ve introduced more tools to allow administrators to grow and manage their learning catalog and increase engagement with learners.”

— Geoff Perry, Chief Product Officer

Meridian Global LMS® 17.2 release includes:

Navigation Enhancements: Navigate with confidence. Meridian Global 17.2 delivers an improved navigation experience, allowing easier, more direct ways to access necessary functionality.

  • Streamlined Navigation
  • Quick Create for Learning Content: Meridian added a universal content create button to the navigation bar, allowing for quick creation of content from anywhere in the system.
  • Edit from catalog details: Content administrators can now jump directly to editing a content item from its catalog details page.
  • Enhanced Predictive Search: Predictive search results now display below the search field and include both the title of the item and its content type.

Classroom Section Updates: Designed with Administrators and Instructors in mind, classroom section updates improve frequently used workflows, easing the burden on your time and resources.

  • Easy-print roster: A printable sign-in sheet that can also be exported to Excel has been added to classroom courses.
  • Information repository for course notes and files: Administrators and instructors can now add files and notes to classroom section details that can be shared between authorized users.
  • Completion Codes: Users can now indicate they have enrolled in, attended, and completed a course, all in one step.
  • Time zones in Section Management: When authorized users create, or edit a classroom course section, they now have the option to associated a time zone with course section start and end times.

Extended Permission Scope

Let your LMS work for you with extended permission scope. Administrators can more effectively delegate administration and increase a user’s influence in the system.

Administrators now have the option to assign individual “scope of control” permissions to users, allowing for more specificity in designating which users a particular administrator can see in Manage Users and Manage Enrollment.


Meridian Global 17.2 delivers a new tool, Gamification, designed to spark user engagement and motivation – Administrators have the configurable option to assign points to content items and create badges to be awarded to users based on point accumulation. There is also an optional leaderboard, allowing users to view their progress as well as that of their colleagues.

OpenSesame Integration

The OpenSesame eLearning Marketplace is now integrated with the Meridian Global Learning Management System, making it easier than ever to build your library of online content. Choose from more than 20,000 courses in a variety disciplines and expand your users’ professional skills in a seamless, comprehensive learning experience.

Find the courses you want, choose the number of seats you need, and let Meridian Global LMS import the courses for you. No more uploading courses one at a time.

OpenSesame Integration Highlights:

  • Seamless integration with Meridian Global Learning Management System
  • Access to a library of more than 20,000 carefully curated, professional development courses
  • Choose the courses and number of seats to meet your training goals
  • Maintain complete control over learner access to content
  • OpenSesame courses are automatically added to existing Meridian LMS™ course catalog
  • Single sign-on purchasing and synchronization of content


Meridian’s 17.2 release is available on June 24, 2017.

Request a live demo of Meridian Global LMS.


About Meridian Knowledge Solutions:

Meridian Knowledge Solutions, LLC, is the leading provider of enterprise, web-based learning management software. Meridian’s powerful yet easy-to-use solutions are leveraged by organizations dedicated to building world-class learning enterprises inspired and focused on delivering exceptional results. With over 7 million users worldwide, Meridian offers a flexible, best-of-breed learning management system that gives organizations and users alike a seamless, integrated experience, all while strengthening the bottom line. The company is headquartered in Reston, VA.


Gamification: Tech trend or here to stay?

Highlights from the L&D Hangout with Fistful of Talent

Gamification helps learners engage in content in a deeper more meaning for way. Skeptics out there think gamification is going to be a passing trend, but according to M2 Research, it’s growing. In fact, gamification is projected to grow to $2.8 billion by next year.

We sat down with Kris Dunn and Chelsea Row from Fistful of Talent  for our first installment of the Learning and Development Hangout series. This week we tackled the highly debated subject of gamification and its impact on the modern workplace.

Watch the video and read below for some key highlights!

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