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The effect of gamification on motivation and engagement

Raed S. Alsawaier (Department of Teaching and Learning, Washington State University, Pullman, Washington, USA)

International Journal of Information and Learning Technology

ISSN: 2056-4880

Article publication date: 2 January 2018

Abstract

Purpose

Gamification is the application of game features, mainly video game elements, into non-game context for the purpose of promoting motivation and engagement in learning. The application of gamification in a pedagogical context provides some remedy for many students who find themselves alienated by traditional methods of instruction. The use of gamification could provide a partial solution to the decline in learners’ motivation and engagement the schooling system is facing today. Specifically, the college environment could benefit a lot from gamifying not only their graduate recruitment strategies, but also the college course content and curricula. This critical analysis of literature on gamification is intended to be part of a sequence on the effect of gamification on motivation and engagement. A proposed methodology in the study of gamification effect on motivation and engagement in addition to an empirical study on three college courses are being finalized to complete this trilogy. The paper aims to discuss these issues.

Design/methodology/approach

Themes covered in the literature review include: conceptualizing gamification, advantages of gamification over game-based learning, theoretical connections to gamification, motivation and engagement, connecting gamification to motivation and engagement, emotions and fun in gamification, player types and gamification features, gamification in action, and implementation guidelines.

Findings

The literature on the effect of gamification on motivation and gamification is still limited on multiple levels. There is a gap between theory and practice in the study of gamification. There is limited literature on the implementation guidelines of the gamified designs.

Practical implications

This critical analysis of literature is followed by connecting it to future research by the same author as part of a sequence on the effect of gamification on motivation and engagement. The second project, will be proposing a methodology for any successful design to provide a holistic understanding of the topic of gamification. Finally, an empirical study on the effect of gamification on students’ motivation and engagement in three college courses will be submitted to complete the trilogy.

Originality/value

This paper is a literature review, so there is a strong connection to literature on this topic. However, the synthesis of the themes and ideas are original. The literature review is extensive and covers the different aspects of the topic of gamification and its relationship to motivation and engagement.

Keywords

Citation

Alsawaier, R.S. (2018), "The effect of gamification on motivation and engagement", International Journal of Information and Learning Technology, Vol. 35 No. 1, pp. 56-79. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJILT-02-2017-0009

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited