Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Gamification, an Instructional Strategy to Course Design and Impact on Learning Outcomes
by White, Naomi, Ph.D., Capella University, 2020, 142; 28092029
Abstract (Summary)

A critical need surfaced for higher education institutions to identify pioneering teaching methods to effectively prepare students for their future. Gamification, as a potential innovative instructional strategy, introduced the role of play to learning to target those cognitive resources required to promote optimal learning. Higher education lacked the empirical evidence to determine the effectiveness of gamification as an emerging, innovative instructional strategy, specifically gamification’s influence on learner’s cognition. The influence of gamification on learners’ perception of mental effort and task difficulty when completing learning tasks and the influence of gamification on outcome achievement was not known in the literature.

The study asked three questions: (a)To what degree do gamified elements in an online orientation course impact on first-year’s student’s perception of task difficulty? (b)To what degree do gamified elements in an online orientation course impact on first-year’s student’s perception of mental effort? and (c) To what degree do gamified elements impact posttest scores of first-year students? This study was a quasi-experimental, two group, pre-post design, with an experimental and control group completing a measurement instrument prior to the start of the course, during checkpoints, and upon completion of the course to determine any changes in students’ perceptions. Checkpoints occurred upon completion of each of the three topics that comprise the online course (safety and transportation, student conduct, and sexual respect). The completion of tasks associated with a topic triggered the opening of a data collection instrument. A convenience sampling was used in the study. The population of incoming, first-year post-secondary education students in a four-year public university registered to attend a mandatory orientation course. A t test was selected to determine if there was evidence of a significant difference between population means. A two-tailed t test was run to identify the differences between two independent means to determine the sample size. Analyses conducted under the topics of student conduct and sexual respect revealed statistical significance, rejecting the null hypothesis that gamified elements influenced students’ perception of mental effort; however, the opposite was discovered with perception of task difficulty. All three topics revealed no statistical difference; however, the practical significance revealed in two topics (student conduct and sexual respect), the gamified group scored higher than the non-gamified group. The data suggested a closer look at mental effort and task difficulty revealed the influence of gamification based on the topic area.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Lewis, Barbara
Commitee: Brtek, Doug, Lane, Carla
School: Capella University
Department: School of Education
School Location: United States -- Minnesota
Source: DAI-A 82/3(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Instructional Design, Higher education, Information Technology
Keywords: Cognitive load theory, Curriculum development, Gamification, Higher education, Instructional design, Online learning
Publication Number: 28092029
ISBN: 9798664789331
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