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Journal Article

Climbing Up the Leaderboard: An Empirical Study of Applying Gamification Techniques to a Computer Programming Class  pp94-110

Panagiotis Fotaris, Theodoros Mastoras, Richard Leinfellner, Yasmine Rosunally

© Jan 2016 Volume 14 Issue 2, ECGBL 2015, Editor: Robin Munkvold, pp81 - 149

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Abstract: Conventional taught learning practices often experience difficulties in keeping students motivated and engaged. Video games, however, are very successful at sustaining high levels of motivation and engagement through a set of tasks for hours wit hout apparent loss of focus. In addition, gamers solve complex problems within a gaming environment without feeling fatigue or frustration, as they would typically do with a comparable learning task. Based on this notion, the academic community is keen on exploring methods that can deliver deep learner engagement and has shown increased interest in adopting gamification ⠍ the integration of gaming elements, mechanics, and frameworks into non‑game situations and scenarios ⠍ as a means to increase stude nt engagement and improve information retention. Its effectiveness when applied to education has been debatable though, as attempts have generally been restricted to one‑dimensional approaches such as transposing a trivial reward system onto existing teac hing materials and/or assessments. Nevertheless, a gamified, multi‑dimensional, problem‑based learning approach can yield improved results even when applied to a very complex and traditionally dry task like the teaching of computer programming, as shown i n this paper. The presented quasi‑experimental study used a combination of instructor feedback, real time sequence of scored quizzes, and live coding to deliver a fully interactive learning experience. More specifically, the ⠜Kahoot!⠀ Classroom Respon se System (CRS), the classroom version of the TV game show ⠜Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?⠀, and Codecademy⠒s interactive platform formed the basis for a learning model which was applied to an entry‑level Python programming course. Students were t hus allowed to experience multiple interlocking methods similar to those commonly found in a top quality game experience. To assess gamification⠒s impact on learning, empirical data from the gamified group were compared to those from a control group who was taught through a traditional learning app


Keywords: Keywords: gamification, game-based learning, learning and teaching, technology enhanced learning, virtual learning environment, classroom response system, Kahoot, assessment, Higher Education


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