Learning and engagement in a gamified course: Investigating the effects of student characteristics


The current study investigated college students' experiences of a gamified informatics course. We surveyed 139 students aged 18–31 years (M = 20 years, SD = 1.5) enrolled in an undergraduate informatics course focused on social networking technologies. Surveys were conducted at 3 time points during the course (beginning, middle, and end). Overall, we found positive trends with respect to students' perceptions of gamification's impact on their learning, achievement, and engagement in the course material. Although students who played and identified variously with recreational games were more alike than not, we did uncover one notable difference with respect to how students' gaming frequency impacted their engagement in the course. Nongamers expressed somewhat less motivation to do well in the course than frequent gamers. For all other measures of engagement, however, nongamers appeared to be equally engaged by the gamified format of the course as gamers. There were virtually no differences between male and female students' perceptions of gamification. This study contributes new insight into the conditions under which gamification succeeds or fails in educational settings. These insights will be useful to designers and instructors of gamified learning environments as they seek to engage and support a variety of learners.

Recommended Citation

Davis K, Sridharan H, Koepke L, Singh S, Boiko R. Learning and engagement in a gamified course: Investigating the effects of student characteristics. J Comput Assist Learn. 2018;1–12. https://doi.org/10.1111/jcal.12254


gamification, teaching strategies, learning strategies, postsecondary education