Points = predictability, i.e., knowing exactly how much effort we need to put into something. Life in itself is full of uncertainty; whatever we do does not always guarantee results. And here we are in a place where results are guaranteed, they are clearly measurable and accurately tracked – and we’re confidently moving on to our goal, with a guaranteed sense of achievement and spike in dopamine.

Points are another technique to keep track of progress. The whole idea of accumulating something as a number is a gamification technique in itself. This is what platforms like IG and TikTok mastered very well. As soon as you log in, you can see in bold digits the number of followers and likes you have, which naturally prompts you to increase that number.

Consequently, the points your learners have can be used to:

  • achieve social status by displaying them to others
  • unlock further content
  • spend as currency to obtain virtual or even physical goods

Going back to the core values described by Yukai Chou, you can take advantage of Loss and Avoidance and introduce some conditions under which your learners will lose points. For example, if they skip a week or fail a test – it’s a black hat technique, but it’s not necessarily bad in this case, as it will motivate users to log in more regularly and be more focused on the content. 

Points can also be used to progress through another layer of your gamification campaign – levels or ranks. You can display the user’s level right next to the avatar and once again – appeal to the social status and make your learners feel valued and appreciated for their contribution to the community or acknowledged for the time and effort spent learning.