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Implications of Gamification in Learning Environments on Computer Science Students: A Comprehensive Study

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

Technical Session 11: Topics related to Computer Science

Tagged Division

Computers in Education

Tagged Topic


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Paper Authors


Leila Zahedi Florida International University Orcid 16x16

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Leila Zahedi is a Ph.D. student in the School of Computing and Information Science (SCIS) at Florida International University. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Engineering from the University of Isfahan and two Master’s degrees in Information Technology Management from the University of Yazd and Computer Science from Florida International University. Her research interests include computer science education, quantitative data analysis, and data science. Her current research focuses on gamification in online-learning and scaling innovative engineering pedagogies to suit computer science classes.

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Monique S Ross Florida International University Orcid 16x16

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Monique Ross, Assistant Professor in the School of Computing and Information Science and STEM Transformation Institute, earned a doctoral degree in Engineering Education from Purdue University. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Engineering from Elizabethtown College, a Master’s degree in Computer Science and Software Engineering from Auburn University, eleven years of experience in industry as a software engineer. Her research focus is on broadening participation in engineering and computing through the exploration of: 1) race, gender, and identity and 2) computer science education research in order to inform pedagogical practices that garner interest and retain women and minorities in computer-related engineering fields. 

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Jasmine Skye Batten Florida International University Orcid 16x16

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Jasmine Batten is an undergraduate computer science education researcher whose goal is to earn her PhD in computer science and become a professor. She is interested in improving women's retention in computer science by researching different pedagogical techniques including active learning and gamification and their effects on women. She will graduate from Florida International University in August 2019 with her BS in computer science.

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Computers are used in almost all the fields in our daily life –they are used in various occupations and do the tasks with greater precision and as a result, made the life more comfortable. As such, more than 500,000 computing jobs remain unfulfilled in the US (Reported by app association), and many nations need more computer scientist. Therefore, this urge the need for engineering education community and researchers to focus more on underrepresentation of women in CS due to the fact that women currently comprise only 15.7% of computing degrees awarded ; Computer Science has one of the most considerable gender disparities in science, technology, and engineering and the number of female students choosing computer science as their major remains underrepresented regardless of recent improvements; and the reason behind this statistic is the challenges that lessen students’ motivation in CS majors; Programming courses have always had a negative image among students and usually need more practice. In order to increase the number of female students in CS and ensure the health of the community, there is a need to better understand and discover a mechanism that can improve women’s participation in computer science which leads to attracting more female students in computer science. Researchers have explored various engagements strategies in the fields of computer science. One of the strategies that have seen an increase and garnered attention in the last two decades is the use of video game elements or gamification in different fields such as education. Gamification -which usually refers to using video game mechanics in activities not related to video games - aims to increase participants’ engagement and enjoyment. This notion has been increasing popularity over time especially among especially education researchers because game elements -which provide challenges to the players and motivate them to set goals- can be used in learning environments appropriately to enhance the motivation of learners. While there is a strong body of literature around the implications of gamification on student learning, there are inconsistent results in the literature with regards to the interests or attitudes of women. This review aims to provide a critical evaluation of the use of gamification in the application in the existing literature in 1) education 2) computer science and 3) women in computer science to provide a basis for more targeted learning engagement strategies to motivate and retain more women in computing fields and build on the literature on gamification and gender.

Zahedi, L., & Ross, M. S., & Batten, J. S. (2019, June), Implications of Gamification in Learning Environments on Computer Science Students: A Comprehensive Study Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32946

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