CLEVER: Gamification and Enterprise Knowledge Learning

Written by Dominic Elm, Dennis Kappen, Gustavo Tondello, and Lennart Nacke.

CLEVER will be demonstrated during the Student Game Design Competition at CHI PLAY ’16.

Knowledge management (KM) represents the process of effectively capturing, documenting, assimilating, sharing, and deploying organizational knowledge [1,2]. Focused aggregation of such knowledge is critical for maximizing organizational objectives, as well as the efficient and effective functioning of any enterprise. However, a main challenge for companies is the reluctance of their knowledge experts to share their intellectual capital [1,3]. Knowledge Management Systems (KMS) provide the information technology to store, retrieve, and share knowledge; however, users often lack the motivation to engage with them.

Observing this issue, Dominic Elm made the goal of his Master’s thesis to propose a solution to this problem using Gamification. Thus, he designed CLEVER, an online KMS that incorporates game elements to motivate and engage users. The system is composed of two parts: (1) an online knowledge repository, where employees can provide important knowledge to the company, and (2) a trivia strategy game that motivates players to interact with content from the knowledge repository.

Presently, we have implemented and tested a prototype of the learning component of CLEVER. It is a strategic, turn-based trivia game in a digital play space. The prototype incorporates several game elements, including movement, combat, competition, feedback, rewards (stars, energy, and domination points), exploration, and loss avoidance. The players’ goal is to eliminate all enemy units on the game’s digital board. The game can be played by a minimum of two and a maximum of four players who compete against each other on a single digital map, constructed from tiles.

CLEVER’s online game interface

CLEVER’s gameplay focuses on a trivia and an action phases. Players collect energy by answering questions with different levels of difficulty in the trivia phase. This collected energy can then be used to perform a game action (i.e., move, defend, attack, charge, or heal) in the action phase. If all questions are answered correctly, the player is awarded a star, which can be used for executing special actions in the game, such as charging and healing. Stars may be accumulated over time to be used with actions that are more expensive. Units represented as a token on the map are present as different types of units — archer, fighter, and tank. Each unit type differs in health points, attack, and movement range, giving players the opportunity to pursue individual strategies.

Category selection for trivia questions
Trivia dialog, waiting for the player to choose an answer

We conducted an exploratory focus group study with nine participants who played the game in three groups, to gather players’ thoughts, experiences, and motivations to use CLEVER. While individual impressions of the game were diverse, many lauded that strategy and trivia combined as game elements helped differentiate it from other trivia or strategy games. Therefore, this combination was effective in motivating players to interact with knowledge through trivia questions. Our preliminary study informed that gameful elements helped foster the employees’ intrinsic and extrinsic motivations to interact with a KMS. These motivations fostered player engagement with the gameful system and, thus, with knowledge from the repository, which may lead to improved learning. However, participants felt that this kind of gameful KMS is better for learning or reinforcing explicit rather than implicit knowledge.

Future work will extend this study and contribute to gamification research on KMS by further evaluating how CLEVER will affect the employees when they play it asynchronously in between their daily work activities instead of in a laboratory setting. Furthermore, we plan to design, implement, and test the other half of CLEVER: the gameful knowledge repository, which will be aimed at facilitating employees’ motivation to share new con-tent into the knowledge repository.


CLEVER will be demonstrated during the Student Game Design Competition at CHI PLAY ’16. You can find more information about CLEVER and the game prototype in the following publications.


  1. Babita Gupta, Lakshmi S. Iyer, and Jay E. Aronson. 2000. Knowledge management: Practices and challenges. Ind Manage Data Sys 100, 1: 17–21.
  2. William R King. 2009. Knowledge Management and Organizational Learning. Annals of Information Systems 4, 2: 3–13.
  3. Julia Mueller. 2015. Formal and informal practices of knowledge sharing between project teams and enacted cultural characteristics. Project Management Journal 46, 1: 53–68.
CLEVER: Gamification and Enterprise Knowledge Learning

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