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A review of learning theories for gamification elements in instructional games

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The design and development of instructional games needs to be based on learning theories since the purpose of creating instructional games is principally for learning. Sound learning theories have to be taken into consideration in explaining the selection of gamification elements that are applied in the game design. The paper aims to explain how three learning theories that are Behaviourism, Cognitivism and Constructivism support the gamification elements in term of promoting learning. It is crucial to understand how the gamification elements function in making instructional games meaningful to learning. Thus, the understanding may assist the instructional game developers and instructors. For instructional game developers, the understanding facilitates them in selecting the most appropriate gamification elements that meet with the different learning needs of students when designing and developing instructional games. While instructors can apply the understanding in choosing appropriate instructional games according to their students' learning needs.
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Malaysian International Conference on Academic Strategies in English Language
Teaching (MyCASELT) 2019, 21-22 August 2019
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A review of learning theories for
gamification elements in instructional games
Tuan Sarifah Aini Syed Ahmad 1, Anealka Aziz Hussin2, Ghazali Yusri 3
1 Universiti Teknologi MARA Negeri Sembilan,Kuala Pilah Campus
72000 Kuala Pilah, Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia
tsyaini@uitm.edu.my
2, 3Universiti Teknologi MARA, 40450 Shah Alam, Selangor, Malaysia
2anealka@uitm.edu.my, 3ghazaliy@uitm.edu.my
Abstract: The design and development of instructional games needs to be
based on learning theories since the purpose of creating instructional games is
principally for learning. Sound learning theories have to be taken into consideration
in explaining the selection of gamification elements that are applied in the game
design. The paper aims to explain how three learning theories that are
Behaviourism, Cognitivism and Constructivism support the gamification elements
in term of promoting learning. It is crucial to understand how the gamification
elements function in making instructional games meaningful to learning. Thus, the
understanding may assist the instructional game developers and instructors. For
instructional game developers, the understanding facilitates them in selecting the
most appropriate gamification elements that meet with the different learning needs
of students when designing and developing instructional games. While instructors
can apply the understanding in choosing appropriate instructional games according
to their students’ learning needs.
Keyword: learning theories, gamification elements, instructional games,
effective learning
1 Introduction
Instructional games are conventional and computer games that are played
for learning purposes such as to improve skills and enhance knowledge.
Conventional instructional games are games that are played by using instrument
such as cards, boards or tabletop and tools such as dices, sticks and markers. While
computer games are digital games that are played online or offline by using digital
devices such as desktop computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones.
Instructional games have certain gamification elements that are
incorporated in the game design for attaining certain learning objectives.
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Teaching (MyCASELT) 2019, 21-22 August 2019
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Gamification is defined the application of game elements in the non-game context
(Muntean, 2011; Kapp, 2012; Caponetto et al. 2014). Gamification elements are
incorporated in both types of games, conventional and computer games.
Gamification elements in conventional games are limited. For example, Scrabble,
the classic conventional game, gamify the elements of picking the letter tiles where
the tiles have to be taken randomly by players. Another element that is gamified in
Scrabble is score by allocating different points for letters and having triple letter
score, double word score, triple word score and double word score for certain grids.
In computer games, various gamification elements can be used because of the nature
of computer games that utilise technology to make them fun. For example, a
freedom to fail in computer games is designed as lives.
It is important to design instructional games that can promote meaningful
learning. Thus, instructional game developers need to understand how game
elements function in making learning process to occur when student play the
instructional games that have been designed. How game elements work to make
learning occur can be explained through sound learning theories. Therefore, this
paper aims to explore how three learning theories that are Behaviourism,
Cognitivism and Constructivism support the gamification elements in term of
promoting learning. A review of literature was conducted to explore how the
gamification elements are associated with the learning theories. It is hoped that the
understanding may facilitate instructional game developers to choose the
appropriate gamification elements according the learning objectives.
2 Behaviourism
Behaviourism explains learning occurs when there is a behavioural change
after stimuli are provided. The change of behaviours must be observable and
measurable (Zhou & Brown, 2014). Internal aspects such as feelings, thoughts and
beliefs are not considered in explaining learning needs (Schunk, 2012).
Behaviourism disregards the internal aspects of learning that involve mental or
cognitive processes (Schunk, 2012). Behaviourism is significantly influenced by
two scholars, Ian Pavlov and B. F. Skinner. Pavlov contributed a model called
Classical Conditioning. While Skinner established a model known as Operant
Conditioning. There theories have a great impact to learning.
Pavlov (18491936) conducted a series of experiments that he trained a
hungry dog to salivate to a bell sound and named his experiments as Classical
Conditioning (Schunk, 2012). The experiments used meat powder as unconditioned
stimulus to stimulate an unconditioned response that is the dog’s salivation. Then,
he conditioned the dog with repeated trainings to salivate to a bell sound. He
observed that the conditioned stimulus (the bell sound) could stimulate conditioned
response (the dog’s salivation) that was previously caused by an unconditioned
stimulus (meat powder). When conditioned stimulus were not presented repeatedly
without an unconditioned stimulus, conditioned response was eliminated, and it is
known as extinction.
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Skinner (19041990) developed the theory called Operant Conditioning
based on his research with animals where he distinguished many operant
conditioning constituents that were published in his book entitled The Behaviour of
Organisms in 1938 (Brown, 2006). Brown states that the elements that Skinner put
in Behaviourism are exceptional and applied in education for the reason that he
exerts more on human learning and behaviour as compared to Pavlov that focused
on the learning of an animal. He explains that operant conditioning signifies
conditioning of a human being to produce an operant that is a response in the form
of a sentence or speech, without the need to observe the stimuli, the human being
maintain (learn) the operant by reinforcement such as a positive response in the
verbal or non-verbal form from another individual). He adds that verbal behaviour
is restrained by its consequences: rewarding consequences can enhance behaviour
in term of strength and frequency while punishing consequences or lack of
reinforcement causes behaviour to weaken or finally ended.
Apparently, Behaviourism denotes learning based on two central ideas.
The first idea is that behaviours can be conditioned by providing repeated stimuli
(classical conditioning). The second idea is that behaviours can be reinforced by
rewarded response (operant conditioning). The latter has a great impact in education
or learning. Zhou and Brown (2014) state that the system of reward and punishment
in learning clearly signifies Behaviourism based on operant conditioning. Zhou and
Brown (2014) explain that there are three types of stimuli to change behaviour:
Positive reinforcement
Positive reinforcement is a stimulus given to increase the response
probability such an instructor praise or smile to students when the students
provide correct responses.
Negative reinforcement
Negative reinforcement is a stimulus to increase the response probability
that eliminates or avoids an unfavourable circumstance such as students
who submit assignments on time will not be given the lowest grade.
Punishment
Punishment is giving a strong stimulus that reduces the frequency of a
particular response, and it is efficient in eradicating unwanted behaviours
fast. For example, an instructor awards “0” for late assignments.
3 Cognitivism
The second learning theory is Cognitivism. Cognitivism emphasizes on
what happen in the students’ mind when learning occurs. Among a significant
contribution in Cognitivism is by Jean Piaget (18961980) who introduces the
theory on stages of cognitive development that impact learning instruction (Zhou &
Brown, 2017). Piaget divides the cognitive development into four sequenced levels
(Zhou & Brown, 2017):
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Sensorimotor Stage
It happens from birth until the age of 18 to 24 months. Learning occurs
through experiments and trials and errors. Children realise the existence of
objects although they cannot see it anymore.
Preoperational Stage
It happens from 18 to 24 months to 7 years old. Language, memory and
imagination start to develop. Children can only understand and express
simple concepts between the past and future. Intelligence is illogical as it
is egocentric and intuitive.
Concrete Operational Stage
It happens from 7 to 11 years old. Symbols are manipulated logically and
systematically by connecting to concrete objects. Intelligence is less
egocentric and children are more aware of external events relating concrete
references.
Formal Operational Stage
It happens from adolescence through adulthood. Symbols are used to relate
with abstract concepts through systematic thinking about various variables
and formulation of hypotheses.
There are three implication of Piaget’s four stages of development to
learning (McLeod, 2018). First, students have existing knowledge that have been
developed through the stages. Second, the transition from one stage to another stage
involves adaptation process namely assimilation (existing knowledge is used to
cope with a new object/ situation), accommodation (adjustment is done to cope with
a new object/ situation when existing knowledge cannot be applied) and equilibrium
(the force that makes the development leaps and bounds). Finally, cognitive
development develops in a sequence according to the four stages mentioned.
Ertmer and Newby (2013) state that cognitivism emphasises on making
meaningful knowledge connecting existing knowledge in the memory with new
knowledge. Thus, instructional design must focus on three aspects (Ertmer &
Newby, 2013). First, it is important to understand the existing knowledge that
students have already had in their memory since the existing knowledge can affect
the learning outcomes. Second, new information need to be organised and structured
effectively in order to tap the students’ previous knowledge, abilities or skills.
Finally, practice need to be arranged with feedback in order to allow the process of
assimilation and/ or accommodation of new knowledge with students’ cognitive
structure.
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3 Constructivism
Constructivists emphasises that students learn by constructing knowledge
and meaning based their experience (Schunk, 2012). Knowledge is not transferred
from the real world into students’ memory since students need to personally
interpret the input from the real world by applying their experiences (Schunk, 2012;
Ertmer & Newby, 2013). Knowledge and meaning construction that is true to a
person may not be true to other people (Schunk, 2012). Thus, learning materials
provided to students should be cautiously selected in order to ensure that students
can apply their existing knowledge and experience so that learning takes place that
may results in the construction of new knowledge.
Constructivism also emphasizes that learning occurs in context (Schunk,
2012). Thus, Constructivism assumes that students and the environment have
important roles in learning. The interaction between students and the environment
will construct knowledge (Ertmer & Newby, 2013). The environment cannot be
situated, and tasks should be of authentic and relevant to the experience that students
encounter in their real life (Ertmer & Newby, 2013). For example, instructional
games are designed and developed to have learning content that is linked with
sports, adventure or fantasy so that learning does not only occur in the fun way but
also enhances thinking skills.
There are several assumptions in Constructivism with regard to learning.
Constructivism principally suggests learning occurs through active learning
(Schunk, 2012). Students need to involve actively in learning so that their
knowledge is constructed through the experience that is gained in the situated
context. For example, a student learns that a plant needs water to grow so that the
learning task created should show that a plant dies when it is not watered. Another
assumption is that students should not be taught trough the traditional way, but
students should be given different tasks in order to allow them to manipulate
materials and interact socially (Schunk, 2012). Schunk (2012) suggest that students
should be allowed to do experiments where they can examine phenomena, gather
data, make and test hypotheses, and collaborate with people.
Constructivism also emphasizes the effects of the four-stage child
development by Piaget on learning. Schunk (2012) states that an instructor has to
understand cognitive development and provides several suggestions: (1) students
need to be taught according to their level since students operate at different levels;
(2) students need to be kept active; (3) students need to be provided with the rich
learning environment in order to explore and practice actively so that knowledge
construction can be enhanced; and (4) the inputs provided to student must have
incongruity that mismatches with the cognitive structure that students have in the
learning environment. With regard to suggestion (4), the inputs provided should not
allow students to assimilate with the inputs. However, the inputs should not be too
challenging to impede accommodation. Thus, students are provided with a task
where they need to solve a problem incorrectly. Then, the feedback provided that
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inform the students that the solution provided by them is incorrect may foster
disequilibrium.
Ertmer and Newby (2013) propose several principles to ensure learning
occurs and applied in meaningful contexts. First, the control and manipulation of
information should be emphasised in order to allow students to actively use the
information obtained from learning. Second, various methods are used to arrange
information such as applying again information at different times and contexts.
Third, students should be assisted in using problem solving skills in order to use
information outside the context where the information is provided. Finally, students
should be evaluated on knowledge and skill transfer.
Implications of learning theories in the selection of gamification
elements in the design and game development
Implications of Behaviourism in learning particularly is programmed
instruction are described as follow (Markle,1969; Skinner, 1968 cited in Chen,
2011):
a. Practice should be provided to discover the subject in steps in the form of
stimuli-responses: the stimuli are questions and the responses are the
answers.
b. Immediate feedback is provided after students respond to a stimulus.
c. The difficulty level of stimulus/ questions should be arranged to allow
student to give correct responses all the time so that they are positively
reinforced.
d. Apart from good performance as reinforcement for learning, students also
need to be provided with verbal praise, gifts and grades (score).
Ertmer and Newby (2013) believe that the design of instructional materials
based on Behaviourism should include several elements that re described as follow:
a. Learning outcomes in the form of behavioural objectives that should be
measurable and observable.
b. Students should be assessed first to indicate the beginning point of
instruction.
c. Learning should start simple to complex performance levels that can be
achieved by arranging the presentation of learning tasks.
d. Reinforcement such as tangible rewards and informative feedback should
be used to enhance performance. Finally, cues, shaping and practice
should be used to strongly associate a stimulus and a response.
Based on Behaviourism, several gamification elements for instructional
games should be considered in the design and development of instructional games.
The elements are as follow.
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The first gamification element is behavioural objectives. It is due to
behavioural objectives can be measured and observed (Ertmer & Newby, 2013).
Thus, expected outcomes are informed to students before they play instructional
games. For example, learning objectives that are included before starting any task
in instructional games that inform students about the knowledge or skills that they
should able to acquire after completing the task. Game objectives are also
behavioural objectives that inform students how to complete a task/ game mission
in instructional games. It is common to design only one set of learning objectives
for an instructional game (Dicheva, Dichev, Agre, & Angelova, 2015) since the
design and development of instructional games is challenging, laborious and
expensive (Kapp, 2012).
The second gamification element is score. Score is positive reinforcement
when it increases (positive score), but a punishment when it decreases (negative
score). Talib et al. (2011) state that score a feedback for the development of key
behaviours. Talib et al. (2011) explain that score is provided for rewarding the
achievement of intended learning outcomes, and score also Since score rewards
learning achievement that signify the achievement of learning outcome, score can
be used to monitor learning performance. Thus, Whitton (2010) states that score can
potentially be used for assessment of performance in learning. Score indicate
progress (Seaborn & Fels, 2014) unless students are allowed to click answers
several times based on trial-and-error basis that lead to provide false performance
(Tärning, 2018).
The third gamification element is timer. Timer is a time limitation that
require students to complete a task within the provided time. Time limitation can be
displayed as a count-down or count-up timer. Timer is a type of negative
reinforcement because students avoid it in order not to get unfavourable
circumstances such as “game over” or repeat the same task. Apart from score, timer
is also useful for gauging performance (Whitton, 2010; Schunk, 2012). Timer also
enables students to make a comparison of their achievement. When they can
complete a task within the provided time, it means that they have achieved the
standard set in the games. Keller (2010) suggests that it is essential to have
consistency in the completion of learning task. Thus, timer is also a useful
gamification element for assessment of performance.
The fourth gamification element is level. Levels in instructional games
separate learning tasks according to levels of difficulty which starts from the
simplest task and followed by more complex task. Learning progresses as the level
is increased. Levelling is a kind of reward for completing task correctly. Thus, a
level in instructional games is a positive reinforcement. In a course as well as
instructional games, the Bloom’s Taxonomy is commonly applied for the purpose
of sequencing learning tasks according to hierarchical cognitive levels (Krathwohl,
2002; Munzenmaier & Rubin, 2013; Tuan Sarifah Aini & Anealka, 2017)
(Krathwohl, 2002; Tuan Sarifah Aini & Anealka, 2017). Moreover, by arranging
tasks from the simplest level to the most difficult level, the opportunity for students
to answers all questions correctly is higher. It is due to learning is conditioned
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to progress systematically according to cognitive difficulty levels. Bloom's
Taxonomy can also measure thinking because cognitive difficulty levels are clearly
divided (Zhou & Brown, 2017). As for the revised Bloom’s Taxonomy has six
levels: remember, understand, apply, analyse, evaluate and create (Krathwohl,
2002).
The fifth gamification element is corrective feedback. When a question
(stimulus) is provided, students will give the answer (response). To inform students’
achievement, feedback need to be given immediately. Corrective feedback can be
designed by using sounds such as beep for a correct response and buzz for a wrong
response, or by using graphics such as right and wrong symbol, and text such as
“Correct!” and Wrong!”, Thus, corrective feedback is provided just to inform either
the answer is correct or wrong, score is given. Corrective feedback does not involve
in mental activity, making meaning or relate existing knowledge with new
understanding. It is merely to inform achievement. Feedback generally inform
students how well they achieve the learning objectives (Dichev, Dicheva, Angelova,
& Agre, 2014). Thus, corrective feedback in instructional games is a positive
reinforcement.
The last gamification element is praise feedback. Praising students for their
achievement is crucial in promoting behavioural change. Feedback praise is a
positive reinforcement. In instructional games, praise feedback is provided after
students provide a response to a stimulus. Normally, praise feedback is given for
positive outcomes, but can also be given for the attempts to achieve positive
outcomes. For example, praise feedback for a correct and response can be
“Excellent!” and “Try again!” respectively. Praise feedback does not have any
impact on performance, but students prefer (Tärning, 2018) since it helps to boost
the learning desire (Mukherji & O’De, 2000 cited in Yusoff, Wills, Crowder, &
Gilbert, 2011), condition habits (Schunk, 2012), and make students believe that they
are progressing in learning, increase self-efficacy and motivation (Schunk, 2012).
Based on Cognitivism, two gamification elements for instructional games
should be considered in the design and development of instructional games. The
elements are as follow.
One of the gamification element is level. Level is not only associated with
Behaviourism but also Cognitivism when it is related to mastery of learning that
happens in a sequence. Tasks in instructional games have to be arranged according
to cognitive difficulty levels. Level indicates a specific mastery (Rutkauskiene,
Gudoniene, Maskeliunas, & Blazauskas, 2016). When students finish a level, they
acquire certain knowledge. The knowledge that have been acquired in the previous
level becomes their existing knowledge. When they play the next level, they use
their existing knowledge with the gain new knowledge obtained at the current level.
The other gamification element is explanatory feedback. Explanatory
feedback contains explanation why response is correct or wrong. Malliarakis,
Xinogalos and Satratzemi (2014) explains that explanatory feedback contains
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description of the quality of student performance. Instructional games should be
provided with feedback that can facilitate students to make accurate mental
connections (Thompson, Simonson, & Hargrave, 1992), cited in Ertmer & Newby,
2013). Cognitive feedback is different from behavioural feedback such as corrective
and praise feedback. It is due to cognitive feedback permits students to process the
feedback cognitively and making it meaningful to learning. In instructional games,
cognitive feedback provided is called explanatory feedback. Tärning (2018)
describes that explanatory feedback is provided when response provided by students
are correct or incorrect with the purpose to allow students in building up a deeper
understanding on tasks given and serving as a basis for structuring other tasks in the
future. When students answer a question in the first attempt and make mistake, they
will try to answer the question again by choosing the correct answer based on
explanatory feedback provided. Thus, when students answer for the second attempt,
students discover that their existing knowledge may be wrongly applied (discovery
learning). With the help of explanatory feedback, students then make connection
with their existing knowledge and new knowledge obtained from the explanatory
fedback. Thus, students learn through trial-and-error and making connectionwith
existing and new knowledge. (Zhou & Brown, 2014).
The gamification element that underpins Constructivism is explanatory
feedback. This type of feedback facilitate students in realising why their response
or answer is correct or incorrect, and attaining their objectives although they have
responded or answered incorrectly (Malliarakis, Xinogalos, & Satratzemi, 2014).
By using the inputs in explanatory feedback, students are given the opportunity to
make sense of their mistakes by relating the inputs with their experience in obtaining
the answer for the question. Thus, the meaningful learning occurs when students
can connect correctly their mistakes that they have done with the inputs provided.
Thus, they may be able to construct a new understanding of the learning item learnt.
Explanatory feedback is an approach of scaffolding that may help students to do
better in their next attempt (Malliarakis et al., 2014). This is due to students have
obtained the experience of answering the question wrongly and have constructed a
new meaningful understanding of the learning item learnt.
Explanatory feedback that is supplied to students should be cautiously
crafted in order to allow meaningful learning. There are several features of
explanatory feedback (Johnson, Bailey, & Buskirk, 2017a): (1) it is informational
whereby it does not inform the correct answer, but provides information in order to
obtain the correct answer or enhance general understanding; (2) it is topic specific
as it offers information particularly about to direct students in getting the correct
answer; and (3) it provides hints to facilitate students in getting the correct answer
without stating directly what the answer is. Research indicates that explanatory
feedback helps in improving learning (Johnson, Bailey, & Buskirk, 2017b;
Malliarakis et al., 2014; Tärning, 2018). It is because students have understood why
they answered wrongly and construct the new understanding of the item learnt.
Thus, when they attempt the tasks again, they have already equipped themselves
with adequate knowledge to perform the tasks correctly.
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The summary of gamification elements, learning theories and the purposes
of incorporating them in the design and development of instructional games are as
follow:
Table 1. Summary of learning theories and gamification elements
Gamification
Element
Learning Theory
Purpose
1.
Behavioural
objectives
Behaviourism
Measureable
Observable
To inform
learning
objectives
To inform game
objectives
2.
Score
Behaviourism
Positive
reinforcement
(positive score)
Punishment
(negative score)
To inform the
achievement of
learning outcome
To assess learning
performance
3.
Timer
Behaviourism
Negative
reinforcement
To assess
performance
To set consistency
in the completion
4.
Level
Behaviourism
Positive
reinforcement
Cognitivism
Mastery of
learning occurs
in sequence of
cognitive levels
To arrange
learning tasks
according to
cognitive levels
To arrange
learning tasks
according to
cognitive levels
5.
Corrective
feedback
Behaviourism
Positive
reinforcement
To inform
achievement
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Gamification
Element
Learning Theory
Purpose
6.
Praise
Behaviourism
Positive
reinforcement
To boost the
learning desire
To make students
believe that they
are progressing in
learning
To increase self-
efficacy
To increase
motivation
7.
Explanatory
feedback
Constructivism
To construct
meaningful
learning based
on previous
knowledge and
experience
To provide
information
To direct students
to get the correct
answer
To scaffold
learning
To improve
learning
Conclusion
It is essential for instructional game developers to understand how
gamification elements can enhance learning by associating them with learning
theories. It is due to learning theories can explain how gamification elements
function in order to make learning occurs in the meaningful way. The gamification
elements should be selected based on how they function and their purposes. When
instructional games are designed and developed with appropriate gamification
elements, instructional game developers can reduce the time and cost of getting the
right gamification elements that match with the students’ learning needs while
students can enhance their learning effectively when playing the instructional
games.
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tion-textbooks
... A behaviour change can be done when a stimulus is presen. Behaviourism is influenced by two scholars; Ian Pavlov and B.F. Skinner who contributed to the classical conditioning model and their theories are of great importance to when it comes to learning [20]. Skinner established the Operant Conditioning model which is based more on the human learning behaviour as compared to Pavlov's which focuses more on the learning of an animal [20]. ...
... Behaviourism is influenced by two scholars; Ian Pavlov and B.F. Skinner who contributed to the classical conditioning model and their theories are of great importance to when it comes to learning [20]. Skinner established the Operant Conditioning model which is based more on the human learning behaviour as compared to Pavlov's which focuses more on the learning of an animal [20]. The system of rewarding and punishment has a great impact when it comes to education as stated by Skinner in his model of operant conditioning. ...
... The system of rewarding and punishment has a great impact when it comes to education as stated by Skinner in his model of operant conditioning. There are three types of stimuli based on operant conditioning to change behaviour as discussed in table 1 below [20]: ...
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Gamification techniques have been explored to modify learning and teaching in a VLE to make it more engaging and appealing for students to use. This paper explores the link between motivation and engagement with gamification while identifying the gaps in the literature. The topic of gamification in learning has been inadequately researched and there is a lack of theoretical as well as empirical study regarding it.
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The active use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) caused the creation of new ICT application models in various sectors. Due to that, education is getting more and more interactive as more concepts of smart education are implementing into learning process. The new smart ways of learning bring new challenges to manage the learning processes and make them as much evolving as possible at the same time opening new self-learning opportunities through gamification as an effective engaging learning method. The aim of this article is to present the gamification model for e-learning participants’ engagement. The objectives of the paper: (1) Overview the existing approaches and models of gamification; (2) Present the design of gamification model for participants’ engagement; (3) Present the results of implementation of the gamification model.
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Learning is a goal driven social activity determined by motivational factors. To be able to efficiently gamify learning for improved student motivation and engagement, the educators have to understand the related aspects studied in games, motivational psychology and pedagogy. This will help them to identify the factors that drive and explain desired learning behaviors. This paper presents a survey of the main approaches employed in gamification and the emerging new directions in the context of the relevant motivational psychology and pedagogy. The focus is on the motivational factors that impact learning and understanding of behavior change. The purpose of the paper is two-fold: on one side, to provide analysis and guide to relevant works related to gamification along with outlining the emerging trends, and on the other, to provide foundation for evaluation and identification of the areas of possible improvements.
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While gamification is gaining ground in business, marketing, corporate management, and wellness initiatives, its application in education is still an emerging trend. This article presents a study of the published empirical research on the application of gamification to education. The study is limited to papers that discuss explicitly the effects of using game elements in specific educational contexts. It employs a systematic mapping design. Accordingly, a categorical structure for classifying the research results is proposed based on the extracted topics discussed in the reviewed papers. The categories include gamification design principles, game mechanics, context of applying gamification (type of application, educational level, and academic subject), implementation, and evaluation. By mapping the published work to the classification criteria and analyzing them, the study highlights the directions of the currently conducted empirical research on applying gamification to education. It also indicates some major obstacles and needs, such as the need for a proper technological support, for controlled studies demonstrating reliable positive or negative results of using specific game elements in particular educational contexts, etc. Although most of the reviewed papers report promising results, more substantial empirical research is needed to determine whether both extrinsic and intrinsic motivation of the learners can be influenced by gamification.
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Gamification has drawn the attention of academics, practitioners and business professionals in domains as diverse as education, information studies, human-computer interaction, and health. As yet, the term remains mired in diverse meanings and contradictory uses, while the concept faces division on its academic worth, underdeveloped theoretical foundations, and a dearth of standardized guidelines for application. Despite widespread commentary on its merits and shortcomings, little empirical work has sought to validate gamification as a meaningful concept and provide evidence of its effectiveness as a tool for motivating and engaging users in non-entertainment contexts. Moreover, no work to date has surveyed gamification as a field of study from a human-computer studies perspective. In this paper, we present a systematic survey on the use of gamification in published theoretical reviews and research papers involving interactive systems and human participants. We outline current theoretical understandings of gamification and draw comparisons to related approaches, including alternate reality games (ARGs), games with a purpose (GWAPs), and gameful design. We present a multidisciplinary review of gamification in action, focusing on empirical findings related to purpose and context, design of systems, approaches and techniques, and user impact. Findings from the survey show that a standard conceptualization of gamification is emerging against a growing backdrop of empirical participants-based research. However, definitional subjectivity, diverse or unstated theoretical foundations, incongruities among empirical findings, and inadequate experimental design remain matters of concern. We discuss how gamification may to be more usefully presented as a subset of a larger effort to improve the user experience of interactive systems through gameful design. We end by suggesting points of departure for continued empirical investigations of gamified practice and its effects.
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This chapter addresses educational software use in the kindergarten. It presents research findings of a study which investigated the existence and use of a computer in class by children, the voluntary participation of kindergarten teachers and the natural classroom environment (lack of artificial intervention). Seventeen Greek state kindergartens participated in this study, and the data were collected by interviews with the teachers and class observations. It was found that computer use took place, mainly, daily during the hour of free activities. The most commonly used programs were the MS Paint, commercial and educational CDROMs, and the MS Word, while the use of the Internet was rare. Teachers intervened and guided children throughout the use of different programs except for computer games, where children played on their own. The study revealed some difficulties children encountered when using the programs MS Paint and MS Word. The crucial role of childhood teachers is also discussed.
Chapter
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The book introduces techniques to improve the effectiveness of serious games in relation to cognition and motivation. These techniques include ways to improve motivation, collaboration, reflection, and the integration of gameplay into various contexts. The contributing authors expand upon this broad range of techniques, show recent empirical research on each of these techniques that discuss their promise and effectiveness, then present general implications or guidelines that the techniques bring forth. They then suggest how serious games can be improved by implementing the respective technique into a particular game.
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It is impossible to control another person's motivation. But much of the instructor's job involves stimulating learner motivation, and learning environments should ideally be designed toward this goal. Motivational Design for Learning and Performance introduces readers to the core concepts of motivation and motivational design and applies this knowledge to the design process in a systematic step-by-step format. The ARCS model-theoretically robust, rooted in best practices, and adaptable to a variety of practical uses-forms the basis of this problem-solving approach. Separate chapters cover each component of the model-attention, relevance, confidence, and satisfaction-and offer strategies for promoting each one in learners. From there, the motivational design process is explained in detail, supplemented by real-world examples and ready-to-use worksheets. The methods are applied to traditional and alternative settings, including gifted classes, elementary grades, self-directed learning, and corporate training. nd the book is geared toward the non-specialist reader, making it accessible to those without a psychology or teaching background. With this guide, the reader learns how to: Identify motivation problems and goals Decide whether the environment or the learners need changing Generate attention, relevance, confidence, and satisfaction in learners Integrate motivational design and instructional design Select, develop, and evaluate motivational materials Plus a wealth of tables, worksheets, measures, and other valuable tools aid in the design process Comprehensive and enlightening, Motivational Design for Learning and Performance furnishes an eminently practical body of knowledge to researchers and professionals in performance technology and instructional design as well as educational psychologists, teachers and trainers. © Springer Science-Business Media, LLC 2010. All rights reserved.