Motivating Students in Game-Based Learning: The Importance of Instructor Teaching Practices
Morelock, John Ray
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Game-based learning--using games to achieve learning objectives--represents a promising and increasingly popular means of progressing engineering education's decades-long goal of bringing more evidence-based, active learning pedagogy into the classroom. However, if game-based learning is to proliferate as a pedagogy, research on game-based teaching is critical to provide practical recommendations for implementation, making the pedagogy more accessible to instructors. However, reviews of game-based literature reveal that little work exists in the game-based teaching space, and what work exists models high-level teaching practices and archetypal roles, which often fail to pinpoint specific practices game-based instructors can use to be successful. Moreover, reviews of game-based learning literature more generally suggest that research on how to improve student motivation in game-based learning settings--an important variable for learning and a longstanding argument for the value of games in education--are lacking in both quantity and theoretical soundness. To redress these gaps, I conducted a primarily qualitative, multiple-case study of seven non-digital game-based learning activities in engineering with the goal of furthering game-based teaching research and providing practical recommendations to instructors when using games in their classrooms. Using the MUSIC Model of Motivation as a motivation framework and the Observation Protocol for Adaptive Learning as a framework for categorizing teaching practices, I interviewed instructors about how they expected their teaching practices to affect student motivation, and I interviewed these instructors' students about how they actually perceived their instructors' actions as affecting their motivation. By comparing instructor and student responses, I derived recommendations for game-based learning practice that are likely to have a high impact on student motivation, and condensed these recommendations into a four-phase framework of game-based teaching to bolster student motivation. I supplemented my interview data with observation data to construct detailed summaries of each case I studied. The recommendations I offer in my framework can serve as useful resources for instructors seeking to foray into game-based teaching practices or improve their existing game activities, especially in engineering. Moreover, my study provides a model for investigating game-based teaching practices and motivation in game-based learning using established theoretical frameworks in natural classroom settings.
- Doctoral Dissertations