Asee peer logo

Learner Centered Games: A Pathway To Student Motivation And Engagement

Download Paper |


2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

Student Engagement and Motivation

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.842.1 - 13.842.11



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Stephen Crown

author page

Arturo Fuentes

author page

Bob Freeman

Download Paper |

NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Learner Centered Games: A Pathway to Student Motivation and Engagement


The internet has brought many new resources to students that have the possibility of improving the learning environment. However, with this has come an increasing expectation among students that learning should be easy and that the primary responsibility for student learning falls on the instructor rather than on the student. The challenge is determining how to redesign the educational process so that these new resources are used appropriately and do not encourage the student to become a passive learner. The key to addressing this challenge may be found in student motivation and engagement. According to the authors, student engagement is an essential element in the design and implementation of an effective learning environment that must be deliberately stimulated and measured. An engaged student is one who has a realistic plan for learning and implements that plan at their full potential. According to the authors, reconnecting or integrating the educational process with the student’s values, interests, goals, and aspirations (who the student is) will significantly strengthen the motivational basis for their education and lead to a higher level of engagement, learning, and academic success. Although the most effective means of impacting student motivation and success is to address all aspects of who the student is, the focus of this paper is on the use of games delivered in a learner-centered environment that focuses on student interest and integrates the educational setting. The authors have designed and implemented several motivational and engaging games where engineering students go beyond their own expectations, and the expectations of faculty, and willingly spend three or four times more than that envisioned by the instructor for the projects. This significant increase in engagement and motivation provides evidence that games are an effective pathway to academic success. The particular connections between game activities and key aspects of student motivation are explored. An understanding of these connections is a powerful design tool for the development of new games that can focus on particular student needs.


The engineering education environment has seen many changes in the past twenty years. Advances in computers, networks, and technology have made a wealth of information and computational tools accessible to students like never before. Course web sites give students access to supplemental learning materials1, an ability to dialog with other students and faculty on forums2, and even tutorial movies ranging from working through homework problems to using modeling or computational programs related to the course3. In addition, there has been a flood of interest in and funding of engineering education research. One would assume that with all of these advances and focused attention that student academic success would be growing exponentially. In fact, many advances have been made in the tasks that students can accomplish through the use of new technology, however one must question whether today’s engineering students are making full use of their abilities and available resources. As many of the obstacles for learning are being removed, through recent advances in technology, students may take a more passive role in the learning process than they have in the past. An appropriate analogy may be

Crown, S., & Fuentes, A., & Freeman, B. (2008, June), Learner Centered Games: A Pathway To Student Motivation And Engagement Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--4325

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2008 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015