Gamification — the application of game design elements to non-game contexts — is a pretty hot idea right now in the online startup world. More and more startups are introducing things like badgets, achievements, leaderboards, points, and progress bars to encourage users to do things such as visit new businesses, answer questions, and, of course, play games. One particularly interesting application of gameification is in the area of education, using fun to motivate learning.
Lunchbox is a stealthy startup that’s planning to introduce this kind of learning to the world of photography.
The startup is the brainchild of founders Iaan van Niekerk, his wife Christine Meintjes, and Adii Pienaar, the founder of WooThemes. Noticing that photography is playing a bigger and bigger part of our world, they wanted to create a friendly learning environment that can help people tell stories better using their cameras, whether they’re shooting with a smartphone, compact camera, or DSLR.
The courses offered by the service are based around video lessons in which professional photographers share their knowledge and experience in all areas of photography, from beginner techniques to advanced theory, from iPhoneography to how to best use off-camera flash.
Quizzes, badges, rewards, and other game mechanics are used to motivate students, allowing them to show off their learning accomplishments on their public profile pages:
The courses will go beyond the technical and theoretical aspects of creating photographs, to include lessons on things like marketing, branding, managing clients, and running a photography business.
All the video lessons are designed for easy consumption. They’re short, sweet, and optimized for viewing on mobile devices.
If you’re interested in using Lunchbox, the service will enter a limited private beta starting next week, and signing up on the homepage may give you access during this initial phase. The service will cost $29 a month to use, but this rate may changed depending on user feedback during beta testing.
Gamification tactics have been quite successful for many websites, so it’ll be interesting to see whether Lunchbox can succeed in its mission of turning casual shooters into serious enthusiasts… and perhaps eventually into seasoned professionals.