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Playful learning in the twenty-first century: Motivational variables, interest assessment, and games

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Playful learning in the twenty-first century: Motivational variables, interest assessment, and games

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The motivational terms of engagement, interest, and motivation are usually used interchangeably across disciplines. This trend is problematic because each construct has unique characteristics that either differ or overlap each other, and as a result, empirical works that are unclear about which construct is being measured attributes to muddling the overall quality of the research area on interest development. The issue of interest measurement is further complicated by the increased use of technology and games for learning. The purpose of this literature review is to first provide definitions of engagement, interest, and motivation as well as their relationship to each other in learning. Then, I inspect previous methods used to assess interest and report on the recent assessments of interest development using analog and digital games for learning. Empirical works selected for this literature review directly measuring interest and were recent publications (< 5 years), and a total of seven studies in out-of-school K-12 learning settings were examined in detail. Findings from the literature review show that interest assessment has traditionally relied on self-report measures over a brief period of time, whereas ideally a more accurate representation of interest tracking pairs' self-report measures with fieldwork across an individual's lifespan. A common occurrence found in interest assessment studies include small sample groups and an inconsistency in measurements of interest. Further research is needed to develop an instrument or methodology that can measure interest in isolation from other motivational variables and for adaption across disciplines.
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Vol.:(0123456789)
SN Soc Sci (2021) 1:151
https://doi.org/10.1007/s43545-021-00164-z
REVIEW
Playful learning inthetwenty‑first century: Motivational
variables, interest assessment, andgames
SherryYi1
Received: 26 April 2020 / Accepted: 23 May 2021 / Published online: 14 June 2021
© The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2021
Abstract
The motivational terms of engagement, interest, and motivation are usually used
interchangeably across disciplines. This trend is problematic because each construct
has unique characteristics that either differ or overlap each other, and as a result,
empirical works that are unclear about which construct is being measured attributes
to muddling the overall quality of the research area on interest development. The
issue of interest measurement is further complicated by the increased use of technol-
ogy and games for learning. The purpose of this literature review is to first provide
definitions of engagement, interest, and motivation as well as their relationship to
each other in learning. Then, I inspect previous methods used to assess interest and
report on the recent assessments of interest development using analog and digital
games for learning. Empirical works selected for this literature review directly meas-
uring interest and were recent publications (< 5years), and a total of seven studies
in out-of-school K-12 learning settings were examined in detail. Findings from the
literature review show that interest assessment has traditionally relied on self-report
measures over a brief period of time, whereas ideally a more accurate representation
of interest tracking pairs’ self-report measures with fieldwork across an individual’s
lifespan. A common occurrence found in interest assessment studies include small
sample groups and an inconsistency in measurements of interest. Further research is
needed to develop an instrument or methodology that can measure interest in isola-
tion from other motivational variables and for adaption across disciplines.
Introduction
What does it mean to be interested in a phenomenon? Motivational variables—inter-
est, engagement, and motivation—are often interchangeably used across domains,
which contributes to muddled research reporting. First, the meaning and relationship
* Sherry Yi
fangyi1@illinois.edu
1 University ofIllinois atUrbana-Champaign, 1310 South 6th St., Education Building,
Champaign, IL61820, USA
Content courtesy of Springer Nature, terms of use apply. Rights reserved.
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The goal of this paper is to provide a long overdue clarification and upgrade to what has been called the intrinsic-extrinsic dichotomy in the realm of motivation. We argue that the concept of intrinsic motivation should be limited to refer to the pleasure gained from an activity, divorced from any further elements. It means liking the doing. The term has been confounded with a different type of motivation, which is properly labeled achievement motivation and which refers to competition against some standard of excellence (subconscious or conscious). Achievement motivation means wanting to do well. One can like doing something and not care about how well
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Background: Mobile technology permeates every aspect of student lives. The question is whether mobile technology integration can produce desirable effects in the gymnasium. Objective: This preliminary study aimed to investigate the effects of mobile technology integration on student situational interest and physical activity fluctuation in physical education lessons.Methods: Sixth grade students (N = 53) were randomly placed into either an experiment group by class that utilized mobile technology-integrated resources (iPad and applications), or a comparison group that did not utilize technology. Both groups received five identical physical education lessons. Student physical activity was tracked with accelerometers, and they completed the Situational Interest Scale at the end of each lesson. The researchers analyzed the data using descriptive statistics, correlation analysis and multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) with repeated measures. Results: Students in the experiment group reported significantly lower physical activity and situational interest than their counterparts in the comparison group. A group × lesson interaction suggested that student step/min steadily increased throughout the lessons in the experiment group while remaining relative stable in the comparison group. Conclusions: Mobile technologies such as iPad and applications with no direct physical activity prompt had little effect on increasing physical activity or situational interest in the short term. It is important to consider the classroom dynamics to realistically evaluate the constraints and strengths that mobile technology-integrated physical education lessons may pose in a traditional physical education environment.
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Since the field of educational videogames or serious games is not limited to games that are specifically designed for educational purposes, videogames such as Minecraft have aroused the attention of teachers and researchers alike. To gain insights into the applicability of Minecraft, we reviewed the literature on use of the game in education and experimental research. We summarized the current usage in addition to our own considerable experience with Minecraft in courses on educational videogame design and as a research instrument in instructional psychology and discuss the benefits and limitations. Based on these observations, we outlined the future of Minecraft in both fields and emphasize examples that already stretch the technical and methodical boundaries. To increase the application of our analysis, we distill three main implications from our observations that address the future of educational and research tools in educational videogames in general.
Chapter
Intrinsic motivation is the motivation to do something for its own sake, for the sheer enjoyment of a task. Extrinsic motivation is the motivation to do something in order to attain some external goal or meet some externally imposed constraint. Feelings of self-determination, control, and satisfaction have long been linked to an intrinsically motivated state. Environmental constraints such as the imposition of time limits, an expected reward, or an impending evaluation can undermine feelings of self-determination engendering an extrinsic orientation. However, under some circumstances, certain forms of reward may enhance intrinsic motivation through a process of motivational synergy. Intrinsic motivation has been linked to creativity of performance, longer-lasting learning, and perseverance. The fostering of intrinsic motivation in adults is especially important given the emergence of the knowledge economy. Managing knowledge workers means building a community of employees who have positive emotions, a favorable view of their company, their job, and their colleagues, and strong intrinsic motivation. More work needs to be done to understand the determinants of motivation in the workplace, including studies focused on the link between affect and motivation, interpersonal intrinsic motivation among collaborators, and commonalities and differences across cultures.
Chapter
Computer games that are used for the purpose of learning, training, and instruction are often referred to as serious games. The last decade shows a huge increase in empirical studies investigating the learning effectiveness and motivational appeal of serious games. Recent meta-analyses show that serious games are effective compared to traditional instruction but that the effectiveness can be improved. This chapter explores which specific instructional techniques can further improve learning and increase motivation. We define instructional techniques as any adaptation of a feature of the game itself or in the context of the game that influences the selection of relevant information, the organization, and integration of that information and/or the intrinsic motivation of the player. The starting point is a meta-analysis conducted in 2013 that is updated and extended. The meta-analysis has a value-added approach and shows which game features can improve learning and/or increase motivation. The interpretation of the results will yield nine proven effective or promising instructional techniques in terms of learning and/or motivation. This set of nine techniques—content integration, context integration, assessment and adaptivity, level of realism, narration-based techniques, feedback, self-explanation and reflection, collaboration and competition, and modeling—form the basis of this volume, which is closed by a reflection chapter.
Article
Although numerous studies have investigated the seductive details effect in multimedia learning and remarked that seductive details can arouse motivation and interest, few studies have examined the seductive details effect using a motivational framework. In order to fill the gap, the present study used a multiple regression model to examine the predictive relationship between four types of interest and post-task performance of participants who received either a passage containing seductive details or a base-only passage. Participants in both groups (N = 258) were asked to learn a passage about geology. An interest questionnaire was validated by using an exploratory factor analysis (EFA). The results of variance analyses showed that the seductive details group rated the learning material significantly higher in triggered situational interest than did the base passage group. Furthermore, the results showed that triggered situational interest mediated the effects of seductive details on recall while there was no mediation effect via maintained situational interest. In addition, emerging and well-developed individual interest moderated the effects of seductive details. In sum, the results indicated that different types of interest play different roles in learning when seductive details are involved. Theoretical and practical implications of the results are discussed and future directions are suggested.
Article
It is argued that interest is central in determining how we select and persist in processing certain types of information in preference to others. Evidence that shows that both individual and text-based interest have a profound facilitative effect on cognitive functioning and learning is reviewed. Factors that contribute to text-based interest are discussed, and it is suggested that interest elicits spontaneous, rather than conscious, selective allocation of attention. It is further proposed that the psychological and physiological processes associated with interesting information have unique aspects not present in processing information without such interest. Current advances in neuro-cognitive research show promise that we will gain further knowledge of the impact of interest on cognitive functioning and that we will finally be in a position to integrate the physiological and psychological aspects of interest.