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Establishing the Impact that Gamified Homework Portals Can Have on Students' Academic Motivation

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session


Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

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Brittany Lynn Butler


Cheryl A. Bodnar Rowan University

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Cheryl A. Bodnar, Ph.D., CTDP is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Experiential Engineering Education at Rowan University. Dr. Bodnar’s research interests relate to the incorporation of active learning techniques in undergraduate classes as well as integration of innovation and entrepreneurship into the engineering curriculum. In particular, she is interested in the impact that these tools can have on student perception of the classroom environment, motivation and learning outcomes. She obtained her certification as a Training and Development Professional (CTDP) from the Canadian Society for Training and Development (CSTD) in 2010, providing her with a solid background in instructional design, facilitation and evaluation. She was selected to participate in the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) Frontiers of Engineering Education Symposium in 2013 and awarded the American Society for Engineering Education Educational Research Methods Faculty Apprentice Award in 2014.

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This research paper describes the investigation of the impact a gamified learning environment has on students’ motivation to complete course homework within a second semester freshman year design course. There are many benefits to including a gamified learning environment within a classroom including that it allows for students to learn through failure, and provides many different paths for student success.1 Previous studies on gamified learning environments have shown improvement in student’s engagement in classrooms, as well as learning gains2,3 although there has been little work done on the effect gamified learning environments can have on student motivation. In this study, two classes of freshman engineering students completed their homework through the use of a gamified homework platform. The gamified homework portal was designed around quests (or individual activities) allowing for students to select the quests that interested them the most in the pursuit of achieving a final point score. Quests were scaffolded to ensure that students were meeting the minimum learning objectives for the course and progressively being exposed to content of higher difficulty. Students were also not penalized for failure and given unlimited opportunities to resubmit quests to achieve the benchmarks set for the course. As additional incentive, students could earn badges, awards and achievements based off of the quality of their work, and the quests they selected to complete.

To determine the impact that the gamified homework platform had on students’ motivation, students were asked to complete the Jones MUSIC Inventory4,5 and participate in an end of semester focus group. The Jones MUSIC Inventory measures academic motivation and provides a perspective on students’ motivation towards completing course objectives. 4,5 Focus group results were analyzed using a grounded emergent qualitative analysis approach by two analysts. The categories were then cross-referenced with the Jones MUSIC model4,5 to determine alignment of the categories observed with students’ academic motivation. Overall, the results have shown that the gamified learning environment had relatively neutral impact on students’ academic motivation towards homework.

Butler, B. L., & Bodnar, C. A. (2017, June), Establishing the Impact that Gamified Homework Portals Can Have on Students' Academic Motivation Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28295

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