This thesis provides an analysis of gaming elements of engagement that influence learning of curriculum-based content, from data gathered through a systematic review, survey research, and a series of classroom observations. It discusses the implications of elements of engagement in games becoming such a critical component of game-based learning (GBL) for the successful delivery of curriculum-based content for classroom and extended learning. The thesis is divided into five chapters: introduction, literature review, pupil survey, case study, and discussion and conclusion. Systematic review data were gathered from a sample of 91 papers that studied GBL in primary education to analyse gaming elements of engagement that influence learning. This research adopted a mixed-methods design. Survey data were gathered from a convenience sample of 465 pupils across a school in the Republic of Ireland, and two schools in the Turks and Caicos Islands, regarding the pupils’ engagement with learning resources, which included reading materials (i.e. digital and paper-based materials) and classroom, online, and gaming activities. Case study data were gathered from a convenience sample of two teachers of the same school, who completed a set of teacher self-report questionnaires from a series of classroom observations of GBL implementation as planned by them within a period of three to four months. Thus, the findings were not generalizable, as the data analysis was to a great extent limited by the disadvantages of convenience sampling strategies and by the collection of observational data of teacher self-reports of their GBL plans and implementation. Nonetheless, the findings suggest that GBL environments for engagement and learning of curriculum content are best designed by considering gaming elements and features that provide opportunities for the participating pupils to explore and develop a sense of excitement and interest (i.e. promoting engagement) at the beginning of GBL, to get involved in tasks and activities that challenge their abilities (i.e. motivating engagement) during the gameplay, and to gain suitable feedback and reward for task completion (i.e. supporting engagement) during and probably after the gameplay. Primarily, an engagement strategy for the successful design and implementation of GBL in classrooms includes providing meaningful gaming and creating challenges to sustain engagement. Gaming components garnering top attention from pupils to become engaged learners within a GBL environment include a variety of interesting materials and guided activities, opportunities to perform, and task-relevant guidance and feedback. Ultimately, the thesis provides a useful source of information for best practices for teachers, game designers and developers, and other education stakeholders who are considering the use of GBL for classroom teaching/learning and extended learning. This thesis synthesizes the vast literature related to GBL, presents original materials related to gameplay and learning engagement within GBL environments, and offers several recommendations for best practices of game-based instructional design for engagement and learning.
|Publication status||Unpublished - 2016|
- Game-based learning