Evolving customer engagement: Using mobile technology and gamification to improve awareness of and access to library services

In this session we present an approach to the use of game based techniques in library orientation and customer engagement at Bond University using freely available mobile and online applications.

Turning library orientation into a game is not a new strategy, indeed the library ‘treasure hunt’ is a tried and tested alternative to traditional guided tours of the library (Marcus and Beck 2003; Sciammarella and Fernandes 2007).   In addition virtual library ‘tours’ and orientation videos have been widely adopted in academic libraries (Hickok 2002; Rice and Gregor 2013). More recently libraries have begun following the lead of North Carolina State University in exploiting the potential of free mobile apps to deliver library orientation in the form of a ‘mobile scavenger hunt’ (Burke, Lai, and Rogers 2013).

Since 2011 librarians at Bond University have been delivering library orientation programs that incorporate both physical (in the library) and virtual (online) challenges.  Most recently the orientation program has been delivered using a combination of Google Forms and Google Docs.   Students enter their answers to questions via embedded Google forms and compete for prizes.  One advantage of this approach is that a simple web address is all students need to start and finish the orientation program on their mobile device.

In 2013 and 2014 the Library took a similarly ‘gamified’ approach to connecting with Bond’s research community as part of the University’s ‘Research Week’ celebration.  Building on the experience gained from the online orientations and utilizing the same free applications, the Library created ‘The Research Game’.  The Research Game also involved a mixture of online and in-library challenges, this time suited to the level of more sophisticated researchers.  For the Research Game the Library created an online scoreboard so participants could compare their performance to that of their colleagues.

We evaluate the success of these activities, their sustainability in terms of staff resources and consider future developments.

David Honeyman and Daniel Walker
Bond University

One thought on “Evolving customer engagement: Using mobile technology and gamification to improve awareness of and access to library services

  1. Pingback: Gamification to improve awareness of library services #theta2015 | Blog | Deborah Fitchett

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