phat 17(11): e3

Research Article

Utilizing Gamification Approaches in Pervasive Health: How Can We Motivate Physical Activity Effectively?

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  • @ARTICLE{10.4108/eai.18-7-2017.152897,
        author={X. Tong and A. Gupta and D. Gromala and C.D. Shaw and C. Neustaedter and Amber Choo},
        title={Utilizing Gamification Approaches in Pervasive Health: How Can We Motivate Physical Activity Effectively?},
        journal={EAI Endorsed Transactions on Pervasive Health and Technology},
        volume={3},
        number={11},
        publisher={EAI},
        journal_a={PHAT},
        year={2017},
        month={7},
        keywords={gamification, motivation, self-reflection, physical activity, goal setting, pervasive technology.},
        doi={10.4108/eai.18-7-2017.152897}
    }
    
  • X. Tong
    A. Gupta
    D. Gromala
    C.D. Shaw
    C. Neustaedter
    Amber Choo
    Year: 2017
    Utilizing Gamification Approaches in Pervasive Health: How Can We Motivate Physical Activity Effectively?
    PHAT
    EAI
    DOI: 10.4108/eai.18-7-2017.152897
X. Tong1,*, A. Gupta1, D. Gromala1, C.D. Shaw1, C. Neustaedter2, Amber Choo2
  • 1: Simon Fraser University, 250 -13450 102 Avenue, Surrey, BC V3T 0A3 CANADA
  • 2: Archiact Ltd., 1410-555 W Hastings St, Vancouver, BC, V6B 4N6, CANADA
*Contact email: author@emailaddress.com

Abstract

Persuasive health systems such as wearable trackers and mobile applications can facilitate self-reflection on one’s physical activity. The gamification approach incorporates game design elements with persuasive systems to encourage more physical activity. However, some investigations have shown that using gamification to promote physical activity could have contradictory effects. To explore the conflicted findings in more detail, we designed and studied FitPet – an interactive virtual pet-keeping mobile game focused on encouraging physical activity. In a six-week field study, its effectiveness was evaluated and compared with two other gamification strategies, the goal-setting strategy and the use of social communities. Findings are that the social interaction strategy was the most effective intervention among these three. Contrary to prior research, goal-setting was not found to be as effective at providing motivation compared to social interaction. Although FitPet failed to promote significantly higher levels of physical activity, participants enjoyed this approach and provided design insights for future research: implementing social components and more challenging gameplay.