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Can your Gamified Course Materials Motivate Users to Learn?

KEEP - 30 October 2017

The Myth of Calculus game

The Myth of Calculus”, an RPG game developed by Dr Kai Leung Chan of The Chinese University of Hong Kong


It is increasingly popular to present learning materials in the form of games, but can your gamified materials provide the correct motivation for learners to explore more knowledge? The Marczewski’s Player and User Types Hexad may provide some insight to this.

Andrzej Marczewski, a gamification specialist, proposed a hexad model in 2013 to describe different types of users and their motivation to play games. The six broad types are:

Socializers: motivated by Relatedness. Want to interact with others and create social connections.

Free Spirits: motivated by Autonomy and Self-expression. Want to create and/or explore.

Achievers: motivated by Mastery. Look for learning new things and improving themselves. Want challenges to overcome.

Philanthropists: motivated by Purpose and Meaning. Altruistic, wanting to give to other people and enrich the lives of others.

Players: motivated by Rewards. Do what is needed of them to collect rewards from a system.

Disruptors: motivated by Change. Generally, want to disrupt your system, either directly or through other users to force positive or negative change.

Player types in gamified systems

According to Marczewski, people likely display most if not all of these traits in varying degrees. He suggested gamification designers think about the types of people they may have use their system.


Supporting Gamification User Types

Gamification designers can make their systems appealing by setting up appropriate features for each user types. As suggested, since Archivers are motivated by Mastery, quests and boss battles would be appealing to them, while an internal social network may work for Socializers. He added that if rewards are used in the onboarding process but are phased out as the user becomes more capable, they would gradually realize that there is more to be gained than just the points and badges.

Based on Marczewski’s model, a collaborative research project by the HCI Games Group, the Austrian Institute of Technology and Gamified UK developed a survey to assess an individual’s user type. Why not take the User Type Test and share it with others to see what motivates you in gamified systems?



Marczewski, A. (2015). User Types. In Even Ninja Monkeys Like to Play: Gamification, Game Thinking and Motivational Design (1st ed., pp. 65-80). CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.
- ISBN-10: 1514745666
- ISBN-13: 978-1514745663