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Achieving a healthier lifestyle through digital badging and social media

Can badging motivate teens to exercise regularly? YMCA of Greater New York partnered with the Institute of Play and Global Kids to pilot Y-MVP, a program at the Y that applies digital badging to youth health and fitness.

Working with a team of game designers, educational technologists and industrial designers, the Y developed the hardware and system for Y-MVP, including dedicated electronic kiosks and a digital badging system using Learning Times’ BadgeOS.

When teens scan their Strong Kids Program member IDs at the kiosk, they access their web-based Y-MVP accounts. Teens learn how to plan an effective workout sessions by selecting from among 10-15 pre-determined Playlists or by creating a Playlist of their own based on the F.I.T.T. (Frequency, Intensity, Time and Type) training principle. Instead of songs, a Y-MVP Playlist consists of a series of specific activities, that make up a personal workout routine.

such as 30 minutes of aerobic exercise on a treadmill or 30 minutes of muscle strength and endurance work with free weights..

After the teens complete their Y-MVP Playlist workout at the gym, they check out by recording their activity at the Y-MVP kiosk and earn points for their workout session. Once they begin to accumulate points, teens can level up, earning digital badges and unlocking tangible awards, such as T-shirts, water bottles and other workout gear.

Y-MVP was piloted at the Harlem and Bedford-Stuyvesant Y branches, and has been designated as one of three signature programs at the YMCA of Greater New York.

This project was funded by the Hive Digital Media Learning Fund in The New York Community Trust in 2012.

Lead Organization:
YMCA of Greater New York

Partner Organizations:
Institute of Play

Project Goal:
To increase teens’ awareness of health issues and teach them how to develop an individual workout plan that is enjoyable and sustainable through a dynamic badge system.

Project Tags:
Youth Development & Leadership

Project Portfolio