Our Noggin motto may be “smart, nice, funny,” but we take on an entirely new persona when competition stirs between us. I really couldn’t begin to summarize it into three words, but it’s that feeling of wanting to rip out Galen’s beating heart for running on his lunch break in JEANS just to secure his spot in second place and bump me down to third.
Whether you’re motivated by encouragement or fiery belly-rage, competition raises the bar and a community keeps you accountable for reaching that bar. There are plenty of lofty aims here at Noggin, but the one I’m talking about is the JogginLabs monthly running challenge.
Each month we set up a distance goal through the Nike + running app. The competition becomes a race to see who can reach this goal the fastest. Other than that, there are NO rules. You can run the entire distance in one day if you have that sort of endurance. You can run it in half-mile increments between taco stops. You can run it on a treadmill while you watch all twelve hours of Ken Burns’s The Civil War (True Noggin Story).
The competition is FIERCE. There’s always someone new gunning for your spot, which makes it all the more fun. I’ve been a runner my entire life, and I can honestly say that my running has not been this consistent since my high school cross-country days. There’s something about seeing one of your coworkers creeping up on you in the rankings that jolts you out of your Netflix binge. There’s something about trash talk, something about seeing running shoes peeking out of a bag under a desk, that I find really motivating.
If the spirit of competition can motivate ME to choose 6 miles of sore hip flexors and breathing cramps over re-watching The Office for the 5th time, just imagine the power it can have for your learners. Through social learning, users are engaged with the content and with each other, motivating them to keep at it. Even for those who are not motivated by head-to-head competition, the drive to become better—to jump just one number higher in the rankings—lives in all of us. If we don’t strive to be better than a competitor, then why not be better than our past selves?
Custom portals give learners the platform for this type of community, allowing them to keep track of progress, achievements, and compete against themselves and others. Believe me, there is nothing more satisfying than running in the middle of the night (part of our training plan for the Rangar trail race) and receiving a message full of profanities from Galen the next morning.