Selecting Appropriate Game Factors in Educational Gamification: An Instrument for Investigating Undergraduate Students’ Pleasurability in Learning
University of Kansas
Educational Leadership and Policy Studies
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Gamification is defined as using game factors in non-game environments with the purpose of encouraging users to behave in a certain way. Educational gamification is to use game factors in learning environments. This innovative instructional/learning approach has positive effects on student engagement (Erenli, 2013; Hamari et al., 2014; Jensen, 2012; Nah et al., 2014). But most research used case studies with small sample size or less rigorous research methods. Since the results from those studies were contextual, they could not be generalized in diverse contexts. This mixed-method research aims to design an instrument for investigating undergraduates’ pleasurability in educational contexts and then map them with game factors. This instrument could be used to inform instructors and designers of the most desirable game factors that can make students’ learning experiences more pleasurable. A 4-point Likert scale was distributed to 279 undergraduate students at the University of Kansas to explore student preferences for different types of pleasurable learning experiences. Four subscales were revealed from exploratory factor analysis (EFA) with the internal consistency of above .70 Cronbach’s alpha scale reliability score. The correlations between undergraduates’ pleasurability in educational contexts and the game factors in educational gamification were found based on the items that are included in each subscale and the definitions of the game factors. Multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) was implemented to explore the relationships between participants’ demographic, academic, and gaming/technology backgrounds on each subscale. Gender, Ethnicity, and Frequency of Using Computers for Learning per Week were the three predictors that resulted in statistically significant differences among college student senses of pleasurable learning experiences at the significance level of .05. This research also conducted one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) to compare Chinese international students with domestic students in the United States in terms of their pleasurability in educational contexts. Statistically significant differences were found between these two groups of participants. The results of this research can be used for future research on designing alternative instructions for learners who come from different countries of origins. The instrument developed in this research will also help researchers design their experiments and evaluations on student engagement and pleasurability in gamified learning environments.
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