Social, Performance & Exploratory Games (Other Games in Cosmos)

This section contains lessons derived directly from Gamification for Interactive Learning by Karl Klapp on


Activity and engagement drive learning, but people like different kinds of activities. Mix it up so at least one of the activities will appeal to each learner. Adding a combo of these activities will appeal to broadest group of learners:

  • Social. Even if not built in, it is going to occur among people playing the game. Social interactions helps learning because it encourages discussion, verification, and reinforce knowledge, skills and behaviors learned. Cosmos might create “learning cohorts”: groups of people going through the same material at the same time, or arrange for learning forums or mentoring/tutoring as needed. “Options like ability to share currency, ability to help others, and group-based leader boards all encourage engagement.” [Note: this is already being explored with respect to “Cosmopods” and stewardship cohorts — see Proposals channel.]
  • Personal achievement. This set of activities is aligned with wanting to achieve success for him or herself. It could be achieving a certain ranking on a leaderboard, or attaining that hard-to-earn badge in a skilled arena. Involves knowing and following rules, investing in the experience to gain mastery, and the desire to make progerss toward the “win state.”
  • Exploration. Driven by curiosity, thrill of finding unknown treasures. Create situations where people may find the “hidden treasures” or “easter eggs” —finding things that are not widely known. Encourage participants to ask themselves questions like “What happens if I do this?” “Can I earn points this way?” “What’s over here?” In Cosmos: the user & system “dialogue” that results in some direction given to the user’s aspirations could be viewed as an exploration game before it becomes a progression game —first, there will be time just exploring “what’s out there? & what feels the most salient to my goals?”
  • Collection is hugely popular. E.g. Pokemon card games, Pokemon Go: “You gotta catch em all!” For some people, the drive to complete the collection is a form of motivation. Giving people the ability to collect knowledge and abilities. One good technique is to provide items that CAN be collected but that are not REQUIRED to be collected. In Cosmos: this could certainly pertain to badge seeking & collection.
  • People love creation. Lego building blocks, Mousetrap, or digital games like Minecraft or Sim City. Given their new skills and behaviors, creation can be very satisfying. Creation can even occur when it’s not the intention of the developer. Farmville, intended to farm crops, but people made images with their crops as a means of creation and became highly motivating. In Cosmos: people have opportunities to create feedback, proposals, to “construct” and resource proposals, to implement them, and to use the final product! Creation is all over Cosmos!

If gamified experience can be won by accident or by only one strategy… that’s not good. Incorporate more than one strategy = keep it engaging. Learners must be challenged, make meaningful decisions, dealing with the consequences of those decisions, think about strategy, and make progress.

By incorporating a little of all of these types of games, Cosmos can “make sure to appeal to a variety of learners.”

Generating Questions for Learning/Training Gamification

The process of generating questions for the living-documentation co-creative Playbook could also feed into collateral for the production of training materials in the context of gamification.

According to Karl Klapp in Gamification for Interactive Learning , many questions are needed in order to produce a gamified framework for everything. One should focus on producing three types of questions: 1) recall or memorization; 2) application; and 3) evaluation. All three types are important. Furthermore, according to Bloom’s Hierarchy of Learningpresented in Dr. Britt Andreatta’s course, Neuroscience of Learning , there are three additional dimensions, or types of challenges, that should help ensure deep learning is occurring.

WRITING THE QUESTIONS that would be needed in the gamified system (questions Cosmos poses to users, principally) should become a project unto itself of a dedicated team. Like a meta Key Questions (see Appendix: Key Questions). [Note: this was discussed recently in the context of individuals taking on an “interview role” to glean information about operations in Cosmos from individuals who have a lot of knowledge but have not yet transmitted that into a form “digestible” by other elements in Cosmos.]


Like in well-designed games, Cosmos would encourage (lateral) exploration, providing just enough incentive for users to proceed down the path. Lateral exploration allows for “surprise” discoveries of methods or resources that are a boon to the player—as well as unexpected challenges.

Lateral exploration and experimentation is one of the primary values reciprocated through use of Cosmos. That is to say: to successfully attain one’s creative potential, interaction, experimentation and exploration of realms outside of your personal domain is essential. Users may be able to set their dashboard “feed” dials to be more or less convergent vs. Divergent with their stated interests, but as an ethic, experimentation, diverse exposures, and creative innovation is celebrated. Users can provide feedback on what encounters or opportunities contributed to their goals and how much: it is not strictly something Cosmos judges.


Regarding performance games:

“Too easy” games are not fun or motivating. Challenge should appear to be just out of reach of the learner, so he or she must work and struggle to be successful. Players should feel a degree of uncertainty about the outcome. “Can I accumulate enough points to make it to the next level?” This is relevant for incentivizing players to seek after hard-to-obtain badges (that come with them not just platform-game privileges, but social credit).

Being that Cosmos’ main game is a progression game, performance gamification can be a supplement that supports goal striving and achievement in the various progression games. Performance game elements would be especially relevant in the domain of obtaining qualified badges in Cosmos. Performance and some more competitive techniques come into play with the social expectation around “showcasing” your value and functional utility to Cosmos-as-a-whole through badges. Badges = rewards for performance-game achievements.

Badges are also a form of social valuation. Badges have social relevance. The perceived prestige associated with holding a certain badge arises from 1) the difficulty of obtaining the badge, and 2) the proper validation of the badge (i.e., it’s not easy or possible to produce a counterfeit badge).

Cosmos would use badges extensively to represent various ways of playing the game & success within those ways. Certification of skill, experience, etc. & thus social and monetizable “worth” in the system (defined dynamically, of course). Badges can tie to goals, in that a goal can become the earning of a specific badge, which may in turn relate to other goals. Because badge earning requires measurement and evaluation by the system (the social web of people in it, the completion of tests built by other skilled users, and the AI validating data about the user), validation is key.

Badges can serve many functions in the Cosmosphere. Badges are used to certify worker-members before authorizing members to perform work on a task. They can also qualify—or acknowledge/reward–members in the performance of certain types of purely volunteer roles. Users may also autonomously earn them automatically through their use of the system—and users can nominate one another directly for social badges, too.

In other words:

  • Some badges are only awarded, perhaps, by the system, for completing training for a specific role or task. Those badges would be directly tied to the accessibility of work/job opportunities within Cosmos.

  • Other badges, however, may be awarded by your peers (or cumulatively rewarded by the system based on peer-feedback) and represent an accreditation of social import. This could be means of expressing trust, appreciation, wisdom, endurance, fidelity, etc. as member attributes that enrich the community.

  • Thus does the system, and the community, use badges to provide validation for “performance” related (actual/behavioral) achievements in Cosmos.

Badges can be deployed in any way we wish to to measure what we value in the community—things meriting social recognition of one form or another. Some examples may be “valuable team player” or “helpful community guide” or “LitCoin power spender,” etc. Any badge (as they are all tied to demonstration of skill, knowledge, or other value in the system) comes with it some degree of esteem and social approval/credibility. Members can participate in proposing, upvoting and shaping badges—yet badges must be adopted because they serve a purpose and the means of validation should be transparent; this creates an evolutionary laboratory of badges, wherein the utility of already-developed forms limits further innovation, and only some badges make it to the status of “universal” currency in the system. This, in addition to LitCoin, is another way that members directly participate in defining what has value in the system.

Regarding the “other games” in Cosmos as optional amendments:

Now: a user could only play the self-actualization progression game (i.e. the “help me meet my own goals” game) through their dashboard, rarely interacting with badges (performance games) or even the rest of Cosmos (unless—and this would likely be the case, even to a limited degree—their goals coincided with such things). People are welcome to just play that “main game” that is baked right into their dashboard. However, it might be even more fun to play more (& more interactive) games in Cosmos, which may feed generatively into the completion of one’s personal goals. But this, again, becomes just another “facet” of a dynamic, multi-dialed system. This dial becomes about the split between focused, self-determined time and interactive, social “play” time . Both are needed for a healthy artist’s life, and the precise “dialed-in” balance will look different for each individual person (introverts like me might prefer a far more time focused on our work, than in socializing realms.) Regardless, the system helps you manage and meet both–because it’s fundamentally interested in supporting your self-realization.