Climbing Up the Leaderboard: An Empirical Study of Applying Gamification Techniques to a Computer Programming Class
Fotaris, P., Mastoras, Theodoros, Leinfellner, Richard and Rosunally, Yasmine 2016. Climbing Up the Leaderboard: An Empirical Study of Applying Gamification Techniques to a Computer Programming Class. Electronic Journal of e-Learning. 14 (2), pp. 94-110.
|Authors||Fotaris, P., Mastoras, Theodoros, Leinfellner, Richard and Rosunally, Yasmine|
Conventional taught learning practices often experience difficulties in keeping students motivated and engaged. Video games, however, are very successful at sustaining high levels of motivation and engagement through a set of tasks for hours without apparent loss of focus. In addition, gamers solve complex problems within a gaming environment without feeling fatigue or frustration, as they would typically do with a comparable learning task. Based on this notion, the academic community is keen on exploring methods that can deliver deep learner engagement and has shown increased interest in adopting gamification – the integration of gaming elements, mechanics, and frameworks into non-game situations and scenarios – as a means to increase student engagement and improve information retention. Its effectiveness when applied to education has been debatable though, as attempts have generally been restricted to one-dimensional approaches such as transposing a trivial reward system onto existing teaching materials and/or assessments. Nevertheless, a gamified, multi-dimensional, problem-based learning approach can yield improved results even when applied to a very complex and traditionally dry task like the teaching of computer programming, as shown in this paper. The presented quasi-experimental study used a combination of instructor feedback, real time sequence of scored quizzes, and live coding to deliver a fully interactive learning experience. More specifically, the “Kahoot!” Classroom Response System (CRS), the classroom version of the TV game show “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?”, and Codecademy’s interactive platform formed the basis for a learning model which was applied to an entry-level Python programming course. Students were thus allowed to experience multiple interlocking methods similar to those commonly found in a top quality game experience. To assess gamification’s impact on learning, empirical data from the gamified group were compared to those from a control group who was taught through a traditional learning approach, similar to the one which had been used during previous cohorts. Despite this being a relatively small-scale study, the results and findings for a number of key metrics, including attendance, downloading of course material, and final grades, were encouraging and proved that the gamified approach was motivating and enriching for both students and instructors.
|Journal||Electronic Journal of e-Learning|
|Journal citation||14 (2), pp. 94-110|
|Publisher||Academic Conferences and Publishing International Limited|
|Web address (URL)||http://www.ejel.org/issue/download.html?idArticle=490|
|Publication process dates|
|Deposited||04 Jul 2016|
|License||CC BY-ND 4.0|
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