“Who cares about fireworks?” – A Study on Digital Coaching, Gamification and Exercise Motivation

Helmefalk, Miralem
Marcusson, Leif
Sell, Anna
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Digital coaching systems offer users support in their physical training through insights and advice based on the individual’s activity data. Often these systems utilize gamification mechanisms to motivate users. In this study we conduct interviews with digital coaching users to understand how digital coaching systems are used to motivate physical activity, what kind of a role gamification plays, and how digital coaching systems should be developed further to better motivate users. We find that data itself is more motivating than gamification mechanisms, that players use data to play their own, internal games; and that data is also used for social purposes. We find that the benefits from digital coaches today are limited and mainly related to accurate exercise tracking and visualization of user data. Gamified elements are used on a low level and not perceived as value-adding by the users; deeper understanding of motivation theory and promoting intrinsic motivation is needed.
Gamification, digital coaching, gamification, physical training, self-determination theory
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