A Playful Approach to Fostering Motivation in a Distance Education Computer Programming Course: Behaviour Change and Student Perceptions
The central role of motivation to learn in distance education has been noted, and gamification has been proposed as one approach to promote student motivation. This study explores promoting motivation in a distance education, third-year computer programming course via a gamified approach to improve coursework participation and student experience. Motivation was examined from a Self-Determination Theory (SDT) perspective, as gamified approaches often rely on external motivation and the explicit use of competition to engender internal motivation leading to desired behaviours. The results of using gamification in education are mixed, and its use is controversial. Two cycles of action research on the introduction of eight playful elements are reported on, and data relating to student engagement with the course and a student questionnaire was gathered. There was little evidence that the intervention led to behaviour change or improved scores; however, students responded very positively to the intervention, although some negative themes emerged. The extent to which the playful approach supported the basic psychological needs of SDT is discussed and the intervention’s results critically considered, including whether the effort involved in such an approach was worth it. It was concluded that such playful approaches might have positive motivational effects.
Copyright (c) 2018 Colin Pilkington
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence. The copyright of all content published in IRRODL is retained by the authors.
This copyright agreement and use license ensures, among other things, that an article will be as widely distributed as possible and that the article can be included in any scientific and/or scholarly archive.
You are free to
- Share — copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format
- Adapt — remix, transform, and build upon the material for any purpose, even commercially.
The licensor cannot revoke these freedoms as long as you follow the license terms below:
- Attribution — You must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use.
- No additional restrictions — You may not apply legal terms or technological measures that legally restrict others from doing anything the license permits.