The Reasons VRS is Leaping Beyond Methods of Gamification.


Many social engagement websites and apps have established quasi-token economies to reward positive engagement behaviors. However, successful companies have gone beyond a simplistic operant conditioning model to a more complex system involving a cognitive based self-reinforcement model.

Recently, statistical analysis of user behavior across Skylab’s multiple websites or “planets” shows an average monthly active user rate of 46%, which is considerably higher than stats reported by Youtube and Twitter “ Alfred J. Nigl, Ph.D., senior behavioral scientist (

Social Learning and Cognitive Learning Theories

Learning is a cognitive process that takes place in a social context and can occur purely through observation or even a direct instruction. The social learning theory proposes that new behaviors can be acquired by observing and acting like others. Learning also occurs through the observation of rewards and punishments, a process known as vicarious reinforcement.

When a particular behavior is rewarded regularly, it will most likely persist. On the other hand if a particular behavior is constantly punished it will most likely desist.

This goes beyond the traditional behavioral theories explained only by reinforcements. This theory places emphasis on the important roles of internal processes of learning in the individual. Social learning theory integrates behavioral and cognitive knowledge in order to provide a comprehensive model that could account for the wide range of real-world experiences.

By symbolically manipulating the information derived from personal and vicarious experiences, people gain understanding of causal relationships and expand their knowledge. Albert Bandura, Ph.D., is the David Starr Jordan Professor Emeritus of Social Science in Psychology at Stanford University (

Social learning theory draws heavily on the concept of modeling. For example:

* Live models, where a person is demonstrating the desired behavior and this is reinforced by the community

* Verbal instruction model, when an individual describes the desired behavior in detail and show how to engage on it

* Symbolic model, when it occurs by different media channels including Internet, Television or Film

Cognition, environment and behavior all mutually influence each other. An individual’s behavior is influenced by the environment and also the environment is influenced by the individual’s behavior.

In order to find the probability that a certain new behavior will happen, the *Law of Social-Cognitive Learning Theory* was developed and validated. In this way it is possible to forecast the probability of a certain behavior being performed in a certain community. This law is relevant to the understanding of social media engagement behavior because it states the expectation the person has of receiving a reward or reinforcement as well as the value of the reinforcement expected.

Skylab has structured its VRS Gamification System to maximize the positive effect of this law of behavior by ensuring that users feel very confident that the behavioral goals and listed actions will be reinforced and rewarded, this boosting expectancy. One of the most innovative aspects about the Skylab Gamification engine is that it creates crowd-source positive reinforcement for achievements of goals.

For example, the Leaderbord, the Recognition Wall, and the Chat options all allow others users to reinforce achievement through the multiple experiences of the entire community.

In order to learn, observers must demonstrate to the modeled behavior. Experimental studies have found that awareness of what is being learned, and the mechanisms of reinforcement, both greatly boost learning outcomes. Attention is impacted by characteristics of the observer and characteristics of the behavior. This way, social factors contribute to attention, and different models affect the relevance and functional value of observation and therefore modulate attention.

Gamification and Its Relationship To Social-Cognitive Learning

Gamification is the application of game theory concepts and techniques to non-game activities. Game theory, in this case, is a branch of mathematics and social psychology that focuses on why an individual makes a particular decision. These individuals can also engage participants with an activity they find fun or attractive in order to influence their behavior.

A gamification initiative includes a system of rules for participants to explore through active experimentation and discovery, awarding points or badges for levels of participation, displaying Leaderboard scores to encourage competition, and offering prizes so that participants have a chance to win something of value.

If you're a brand, don't you want to do a better job at engaging your customers and driving employee productivity?

Applying gaming design principles and techniques can help promote great audience engagement for solving business problems efficiently. Also, gamification can be applied in changing employee behavior. Cashiers at Target stores for example are scored based on the speed which they successfully check out a customer, aligning both productivity and rewards.

All these techniques including social recognition will actually begin to leverage gamification as part of a behavior management platform where loyalty and engagement can be measured, managed, and optimized. Skylab has accomplish this with its gamification platform across all its user groups and communities. Companies like My Wine Society have begun leveraging these techniques to maximize their effectiveness with their community and sponsors.

“At My Wine Society, we are leveraging Skylab's Engagement System to provide a thriving interactive community for the wine world. By allowing our community to engage with Skylab's technology, we have been able to drastically boost engagement both in-app and on-site. For the first time, wine enthusiasts have a platform to learn, engage, explore and be rewarded for the proper behaviors!”- Jason Brandt- Director of Platform and Client Experience, My Wine Society.

The Skylab gamification system consists of 8 elements (Meaning, Empowerment, Social Influence, Unpredictability, Avoidance, Scarcity, Ownership, and Accomplishment) that have all been developed to include the core principles and research findings from the field of Social-Cognitive Learning in order to measure, manage, and optimize the engagement between company and customer. A lot of big companies nowadays are working with this kind of concept in order to engage with their target customers more and more because if they don't measure , manage and optimize their engagement they are not going to be able to satisfy the customers the most. The competition in business is giving advantages to those companies that have more knowledge and know better the customer they are dealing with.

In essence, it's “Human-Focused Design” as opposed to “Function-Focused Design” Skylab has thought and developed The Gamification Engine The perfect Blend of Science , Psychology and Technology.

Skylab is currently planning a series of research studies to show that its users are motivated to engage on the platform due to the operation of these laws. These studies will also the measure how much customers expect to be rewarded and how much they value the rewards provided for reaching the company’s goals. To optimize value for its users, Skylab provides a variety of reinforcements for desired behaviors. It is possible to say that with these features, Skylab clients could “shape” the behavior of their community to serve their main interests of retention and management of these users.

The badges are awarded for users that are meeting various goals in order to reach the final prize, and this provides enhanced intrisic motivation for a better performance. With all these features and measures, the platform impact dashboard allows users to see and feel the impact of personal actions, through the Platform, on the overall community. In this way it is possible to male a reliable judgement of whether or not users are making a significant difference.

To read more on value reinforcement systems and the Skylab environment, refer toBeyond Gamification: Skylab USA’s Value Reinforcement System (VRS)