Asee peer logo

Using Gamification and Cyber Learning Environment to Improve Students' Learning in an Introductory Computer Programming Course: An Empirical Case Study

Download Paper |


2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

COED: Gamification and Introducing Students to Programming

Tagged Division

Computers in Education

Tagged Topic


Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Mourya Reddy Narasareddy Gari North Dakota State University

visit author page

Mourya Reddy works as Research Assistant at the Department of Computer Science, North Dakota State University. Mourya's primary research focus is on student learning.

visit author page


Gursimran Singh Walia North Dakota State University

visit author page

Gursimran S. Walia is an associate professor of Computer Science at North Dakota State University. His main research interests include empirical software engineering, software engineering education, human factors in software engineering, and software quality. He is a member of the IEEE Computer Society. Contact him at

visit author page

author page

Alex Radermacher North Dakota State University

Download Paper |


Software continues to affect every aspect of our lives and has resulted in greatest increase in demand for software engineers. Additionally, these software systems need to be maintained and software developers need to be trained in software testing and other verification activities to ensure delivering high quality software. The problem of integrating software testing concepts and techniques into computer programming courses (especially introductory courses) is a challenge. A major drawback of current approaches (e.g., test-driven learning) is lack of appropriate resources (knowledge, course materials and tools) to achieve successful integration. Furthermore, it is also important to ensure that the students are continuously engaged and motivated to learn. One way to deal with these challenges is the use of gamification to an educational cyber learning environment, to the point of increasing engagement of the student and helps in providing the impulse to the active learning of the student. In today's digital era, gamification has turned into a well-known strategy to encourage specific behavior, and increase motivation and engagement. In this paper, we have presented the study and results of improving students engagement and motivation by integrating the design mechanisms of gamification to WReSTT (Web-Repository of software Testing Tools— a high-level cyber learning environment for software testing. WReSTT provides a cyber-learning environment that facilitates improving students conceptual learning and practical skills in software testing. WReSTT helps in training students in software testing concepts with a series of learning objects which are modules that consists of set of tutorials followed by Q/A sessions and also practical application session in which the student creates test suite. Gamification in WReSTT has been designed and implemented with the intent of improving the student’s engagement and motivation on Learning. Gamification is one of the core design themes embedded in WReSTT. The two key game elements included in WReSTT are reward points and leaderboard. Reward points are the results of effective learning in WReSTT that are given in the form of virtual points and the leaderboard provides the instructor about the information of students who reached highest level in the course with regards to points predicated on cumulated reward points. This paper evaluates the usefulness of WReSTT at incorporating testing components into the introductory CS programming courses at a major public university. The empirical study was conducted at XX University wherein, two different sections of introductory CS course (CS1) used two different versions of WReSTT. The first section (a control group) used without any gamification features, while the second section (experiment group) had gamification elements (leaderboard and points). The study utilized the pre/posttest instrument tool to measure whether “gamification” had any impact on the improvement in their learning. Additionally, we analyzed how we could be improving the design and usage of the cyber-learning environments like WReSTT in the context of student learning. The pre/post test results indicated that the experiment group (that were introduced to gamification elements) performed significantly better than the control group. Additionally, subjects were able to improve their understanding of testing concepts when comparing the pre vs. post test scores. The results and feedback from the students showed that, incorporating more gamification elements like badges, progress bars to WReSTT, would definitely affect students learning positively.

Narasareddy Gari, M. R., & Walia, G. S., & Radermacher, A. (2018, June), Using Gamification and Cyber Learning Environment to Improve Students' Learning in an Introductory Computer Programming Course: An Empirical Case Study Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--31206

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: © 2018 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