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Gamification of Chemical Engineering Pathways: Evidence from Introductory Courses

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Conference

2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access

Location

Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count

6

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/37217

Download Count

57

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Paper Authors

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Michael Geoffrey Brown Iowa State University of Science and Technology

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Michael Brown is an assistant professor of Student Affairs and Higher Education at Iowa State University. His research focuses on the development of curriculum, instruction, and instructional technology in undergraduate STEM courses. His current project focuses on the use of web-enabled student-facing dashboards designed to promote students' motivation and their emerging engineering identities.

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Monica H. Lamm Iowa State University of Science and Technology

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Dr. Monica Lamm is an Associate Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering at Iowa State University. She has broad interests in engineering education, including the use of retrieval practice and team-based learning to improve student course outcomes in engineering courses. She also partners with teacher preparation programs to introduce engineering concepts to pre-service teachers who will enter early childhood through K-5 classrooms.

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Larysa Nadolny Iowa State University of Science and Technoloyg

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Dr. Larysa Nadolny is an Associate Professor in the School of Education and Human Computer Interaction at Iowa State University. Her research interests include the integration of game-based learning and gamification in higher education for academic achievement and motivation.

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Abstract

The retention of students pursuing chemical engineering degrees is essential to the future science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) workforce, but failure in introductory chemistry coursework is a barrier to degree persistence and completion. Despite the positive research on impact of gamification on engagement and academic achievement, only a small number of gamification studies focus on large enrollment STEM courses like those taken by chemical engineers early in their major program, and few incorporate robust measures to rigorously and systematically assess students’ behavioral, cognitive, and affective changes. The goal of this study is to establish effective strategies for the application of gamification in courses that appear early in the chemical engineering curriculum, supporting the retention of students in the major and the graduation of chemical engineers. This was achieved through the development of a chemistry and chemical engineering focused dashboard that is integrated within an online learning management system that includes gamification tools (i.e., leaderboard, badges, and rewards).

We report the results of a design-based research study of the dashboard in the introductory chemistry sequence for chemical engineers at a large research university. Students were provided access to the dashboard as part of the learning management system. The dashboard was designed to align to course content. As part of ABET accreditation, chemical engineering majors complete a progress assessment in their second year before progressing in the major. The badges provided to students in the system were based on concepts from the course that would appear on a progress assessment, and provide students an indication of their proficiency on the topic based on their performance in the course. Students were also provided a visualization of tasks to complete within each week, a ‘health’ monitor that provides them their average score on recent assignments by type (homework, exam, lab quizzes), and interactive rewards that surprised students based on their performance and engagement.

Our analysis involves complementary methods of quantitative evaluation and qualitative description of how dashboard use impacted chemical engineering students’ motivation and performance in introductory chemistry coursework. We conduct a multi-variate linear regression model to predict students’ academic performance given their use of the student facing dashboard (n=548/578). We control for initial motivational beliefs as measured by Perez’s adaptation of Eccles’ expectancy value scale for STEM courses, students’ emerging engineering identity as measured by XXX instrument, and demographic differences. Our findings suggest that students benefit from using the dashboard as part of their engagement with course resources, such that as students’ engagement with the dashboard (as measured in accumulated page views) increases, their end of term grade increases (B=5.8 points on final grade out of 100, p=0.000). We did not observe significant differences by initial motivational beliefs, engineering identity scales, demographics, or students’ estimates on the amount of time spent preparing for class. Additionally, we conducted thematic analyses of students’ qualitative feedback on the dashboard features. Students identified the utility of the visualization for helping them plan their time for the week, and appreciated the feedback from the health monitor.

Brown, M. G., & Lamm, M. H., & Nadolny, L. (2021, July), Gamification of Chemical Engineering Pathways: Evidence from Introductory Courses Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://peer.asee.org/37217

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