Using Game Elements to Make Studying More Engaging

Peirce, Neil (2015) Using Game Elements to Make Studying More Engaging.


A lot of potential exists for systems that enhance learner engagement using game elements. In particular, elements that support the activity of learning, that are designed around learning but that are distinct from the subject matter a learner is studying. This paper describes such a system, the particular support focussed on is goal setting - setting custom learning goals, independent of the course being undertaken, and tracking progress on these goals in a game like way. Students’ approaches to study have been classified by a number of different inventories, perhaps the most popular is Biggs’ Study Process Questionnaire (SPQ) which divides students into one of three categories - Utilising (studying no more than is necessary), Internalising (where studying is an intrinsically motivating activity), and Achieving (getting grades for their own sake). Is it possible to facilitate the state of flow, to enable more students to experience study as an intrinsically motivating activity more often? This work explores the design of a system with the goal of answering this question. This system has been trialled with a class of final year BSc computing students in order to assist them with the activity of studying for exams. The aim of the trial was to determine the degree to which the game-like system succeeded in making studying for exams more engaging. This paper describes the design of the system, and the design and results of the trial.

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