Exploring the Effects of Progression Mechanics in Competitive and Collaborative Gamified Learning

Xu, Dongjie, Read, Janet C orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-7138-1643 and Allen, Julie (2023) Exploring the Effects of Progression Mechanics in Competitive and Collaborative Gamified Learning. In: 17th European Conference on Games Based Learning, 5-6 October 2023, University of Twente, Enschede, Netherlands.

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This study investigates how competitive, collaborative, and progressive game-based and gamification learning mechanics influence children's motivation, engagement, and learning outcomes. The research was conducted with primary school children in an e-learning context delivered by the University of Central Lancashire’s (UCLan) eLearning platform – Learnvoy - and specifically explored how the sense of progression, competition, and collaboration in a gamified environment influenced learners' academic performance. This study involved groups of primary school learners in a quasi-experiment. The control group engaged in a traditional eLearning setup where they were asked to watch a few plain monologue tutorial videos and answer related questions. Two experimental groups participated in a gamified eLearning environment that used the same tutorial videos, but in which their answers powered up in-game characters: in one case creating a competitive experience and in the other a collaborative experience. After viewing each tutorial video, each learner answered the same questions as the control group, but here their rate of correctness powered up, or hindered frogs, from reaching a princess in a game based on the story of The Princess and the Frog. In this way, competitive, collaborative, and progressive elements were introduced in the game, where learners with higher accuracy in the question and answering activities had a better chance of winning, thus fostering an environment of motivation and achievement. The results indicate that both experimental groups exhibited improved motivation, engagement, and accuracy compared to the control group; there was no significant difference between the two gamified conditions. These results are interesting to schoolteachers and eLearning creators seeking to integrate innovative and effective learning strategies into their educational curriculums. The findings underscore the potential of competitive and collaborative game mechanics, particularly progression elements, in enhancing learners' learning experiences and outcomes. In conclusion, this research highlights the educational value of competitive, collaborative, and progressive digital game-based learning mechanics, suggesting that the sense of progression, competition and collaboration conveyed by such games can play a role in fostering learners' academic success.

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