This paper examines the literature on computer games and serious games in regard to the potential positive impacts of gaming on users aged 14 years or above, especially with respect to learning, skill enhancement and engagement. Search terms identified 129 papers reporting empirical evidence about the impacts and outcomes of computer games and serious games with respect to learning and engagement and a multidimensional approach to categorizing games was developed. The findings revealed that playing computer games is linked to a range of perceptual, cognitive, behavioural, affective and motivational impacts and outcomes. The most frequently occurring outcomes and impacts were knowledge acquisition/content understanding and affective and motivational outcomes. The range of indicators and measures used in the included papers are discussed, together with methodological limitations and recommendations for further work in this area. ► Largest review of computer games & serious games literature that we are aware of. ► 7392 papers were identified on positive impacts of games on users over 14 years. ► 129 papers reported empirical evidence about impacts on learning and engagement. ► A multidimensional approach has been developed to categorize games. ► This research provides a significant basis for future work in this area.
Gamification is the use of game design elements and game mechanics in non-game contexts. This idea has been used successfully in many web based businesses to increase user engagement. Some researchers suggest that it could also be used in web based education as a tool to increase student motivation and engagement. In an attempt to verify those theories, we have designed and built a gamification plugin for a well-known e-learning platform. We have made an experiment using this plugin in a university course, collecting quantitative and qualitative data in the process. Our findings suggest that some common beliefs about the benefits obtained when using games in education can be challenged. Students who completed the gamified experience got better scores in practical assignments and in overall score, but our findings also suggest that these students performed poorly on written assignments and participated less on class activities, although their initial motivation was higher. ► The dynamics of games can be incorporated into learning actions. ► We present the design and evaluation of a gamified learning experience. ► Students following the gamified version get better scores on practical assignments. ► They also participate less and perform poorly on written examinations. ► Gamification seems to have potential to increase student motivation.
Gamification, the application of game elements to non-game settings, continues to grow in popularity as a method to increase student engagement in the classroom. We tested students across two courses, measuring their motivation, social comparison, effort, satisfaction, learner empowerment, and academic performance at four points during a 16-week semester. One course received a gamified curriculum, featuring a leaderboard and badges, whereas the other course received the same curriculum without the gamified elements. Our results found that students in the gamified course showed less motivation, satisfaction, and empowerment over time than those in the non-gamified class. The effect of course type on students' final exam scores was mediated by students' levels of intrinsic motivation, with students in the gamified course showing less motivation and lower final exam scores than the non-gamified class. This suggests that some care should be taken when applying certain gamification mechanics to educational settings.
Although augmented reality (AR) has gained much research attention in recent years, the term AR was given different meanings by varying researchers. In this article, we first provide an overview of definitions, taxonomies, and technologies of AR. We argue that viewing AR as a concept rather than a type of technology would be more productive for educators, researchers, and designers. Then we identify certain features and affordances of AR systems and applications. Yet, these compelling features may not be unique to AR applications and can be found in other technological systems or learning environments (e.g., ubiquitous and mobile learning environments). The instructional approach adopted by an AR system and the alignment among technology design, instructional approach, and learning experiences may be more important. Thus, we classify three categories of instructional approaches that emphasize the “roles,” “tasks,” and “locations,” and discuss what and how different categories of AR approaches may help students learn. While AR offers new learning opportunities, it also creates new challenges for educators. We outline technological, pedagogical, learning issues related to the implementation of AR in education. For example, students in AR environments may be cognitively overloaded by the large amount of information they encounter, the multiple technological devices they are required to use, and the complex tasks they have to complete. This article provides possible solutions for some of the challenges and suggests topics and issues for future research. ► We argue that viewing AR as a concept rather than a technology is more productive. ► We identify features and affordances of AR systems and applications. ► The instructional approaches adopted by an AR system are discussed. ► While AR offers new learning opportunities, it also creates new challenges. ► We provide solutions for challenges and suggest directions for future research.
We present an analysis of instructional design quality of 76 randomly selected Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). The quality of MOOCs was determined from first principles of instruction, using a course survey instrument. Two types of MOOCs (xMOOCs and cMOOCs) were analysed and their instructional design quality was assessed and compared. We found that the majority of MOOCs scored poorly on most instructional design principles. However, most MOOCs scored highly on organisation and presentation of course material. The results indicate that although most MOOCs are well-packaged, their instructional design quality is low. We outline implications for practice and ideas for future research.
Continuing interest in digital games indicated that it would be useful to update Connolly et al.'s (2012) systematic literature review of empirical evidence about the positive impacts and outcomes of games. Since a large number of papers was identified in the period from 2009 to 2014, the current review focused on 143 papers that provided higher quality evidence about the positive outcomes of games. Connolly et al.'s multidimensional analysis of games and their outcomes provided a useful framework for organising the varied research in this area. The most frequently occurring outcome reported for games for learning was knowledge acquisition, while entertainment games addressed a broader range of affective, behaviour change, perceptual and cognitive and physiological outcomes. Games for learning were found across varied topics with STEM subjects and health the most popular. Future research on digital games would benefit from a systematic programme of experimental work, examining in detail which game features are most effective in promoting engagement and supporting learning.
Early studies indicated that teachers’ enacted beliefs, particularly in terms of classroom technology practices, often did not align with their espoused beliefs. Researchers concluded this was due, at least in part, to a variety of external barriers that prevented teachers from using technology in ways that aligned more closely with their beliefs. However, many of these barriers (access, support, etc.) have since been eliminated in the majority of schools. This multiple case-study research was designed to revisit the question, “How do the pedagogical beliefs and classroom technology practices of teachers, recognized for their technology uses, align?” Twelve K-12 classroom teachers were purposefully selected based on their award-winning technology practices, supported by evidence from personal and/or classroom websites. Follow-up interviews were conducted to examine the correspondence between teachers’ classroom practices and their pedagogical beliefs. Results suggest close alignment; that is student-centered beliefs undergirded student-centered practices (authenticity, student choice, collaboration). Moreover, teachers with student-centered beliefs tended to enact student-centered curricula despite technological, administrative, or assessment barriers. Teachers’ own beliefs and attitudes about the relevance of technology to students’ learning were perceived as having the biggest impact on their success. Additionally, most teachers indicated that internal factors (e.g., passion for technology, having a problem-solving mentality) and support from others (administrators and personal learning networks) played key roles in shaping their practices. Teachers noted that the strongest barriers preventing other teachers from using technology were their existing attitudes and beliefs toward technology, as well as their current levels of knowledge and skills. Recommendations are made for refocusing our professional development efforts on strategies for facilitating changes in teachers’ attitudes and beliefs. ► We examined alignment of beliefs and practices among 12 technology-using teachers. ► Practices and beliefs aligned for 11 of 12 technology-using teachers. ► Beliefs and practices did not align for 1 teacher, possibly due to resource barriers. ► Biggest barriers and strongest enablers were internal (attitudes, beliefs, knowledge).
Educators and others are interested in the effects of social media on college students, with a specific focus on the most popular social media website—Facebook. Two previous studies have examined the relationship between Facebook use and student engagement, a construct related to positive college outcomes. However, these studies were limited by their evaluation of Facebook usage and how they measured engagement. This paper fills a gap in the literature by using a large sample ( = 2368) of college students to examine the relationship between frequency of Facebook use, participation in Facebook activities, and student engagement. Student engagement was measured in three ways: a 19-item scale based on the National Survey of Student Engagement, time spent preparing for class, and time spent in co-curricular activities. Results indicate that Facebook use was significantly negatively predictive of engagement scale score and positively predictive of time spent in co-curricular activities. Additionally, some Facebook activities were positively predictive of the dependent variables, while others were negatively predictive. ► Students who spent more time on Facebook scored lower on an engagement scale. ► There was no relationship between time spent on Facebook and time spent studying. ► Students who spent more time on Facebook spent more time in campus activities. ► In general, Facebook activities were more strongly predictive of engagement. ► Some Facebook activities were negative predictors, while others were positive.
Two previous literature review-based studies have provided important insights into mobile learning, but the issue still needs to be examined from other directions such as the distribution of research purposes. This study takes a meta-analysis approach to systematically reviewing the literature, thus providing a more comprehensive analysis and synthesis of 164 studies from 2003 to 2010. Major findings include that most studies of mobile learning focus on effectiveness, followed by mobile learning system design, and surveys and experiments were used as the primary research methods. Also, mobile phones and PDAs are currently the most widely used devices for mobile learning but these may be displaced by emerging technologies. In addition, the most highly-cited articles are found to focus on mobile learning system design, followed by system effectiveness. These findings may provide insights for researchers and educators into research trends in mobile learning. ► Most studies of M-learning focus on effectiveness and mobile learning system design. ► Most M-learning studies adopted surveys and experiments as the main research methods. ► Mobile phones and PDAs currently are the most used devices for mobile learning. ► Use of M-devices for learning is common in higher education and elementary schools. ► Most highly cited articles categorize to M-learning system design and effectiveness.
The purpose of this meta-analysis is to examine overall effect as well as the impact of selected instructional design principles in the context of virtual reality technology-based instruction (i.e. games, simulation, virtual worlds) in K-12 or higher education settings. A total of 13 studies ( = 3081) in the category of games, 29 studies ( = 2553) in the category of games, and 27 studies ( = 2798) in the category of virtual worlds were meta-analyzed. The key inclusion criteria were that the study came from K-12 or higher education settings, used experimental or quasi-experimental research designs, and used a learning outcome measure to evaluate the effects of the virtual reality-based instruction. Results suggest games (FEM = 0.77; REM = 0.51), simulations (FEM = 0.38; REM = 0.41), and virtual worlds (FEM = 0.36; REM = 0.41) were effective in improving learning outcome gains. The homogeneity analysis of the effect sizes was statistically significant, indicating that the studies were different from each other. Therefore, we conducted moderator analysis using 13 variables used to code the studies. Key findings included that: games show higher learning gains than simulations and virtual worlds. For simulation studies, elaborate explanation type feedback is more suitable for declarative tasks whereas knowledge of correct response is more appropriate for procedural tasks. Students performance is enhanced when they conduct the game play individually than in a group. In addition, we found an inverse relationship between number of treatment sessions learning gains for games. With regards to the virtual world, we found that if students were repeatedly measured it deteriorates their learning outcome gains. We discuss results to highlight the importance of considering instructional design principles when designing virtual reality-based instruction.
In this paper, the authors show that augmented reality technology has a positive impact on the motivation of middle-school students. The Instructional Materials Motivation Survey (IMMS) ( ) based on the ARCS motivation model ( ) was used to gather information; it considers four motivational factors: attention, relevance, confidence, and satisfaction. Motivational factors of attention and satisfaction in an augmented-reality-based learning environment were better rated than those obtained in a slides-based learning environment. When the impact of the augmented reality system was analyzed in isolation, the attention and confidence factors were the best rated. The usability study showed that although this technology is not mature enough to be used massively in education, enthusiasm of middle-school students diminished most of the barriers found. ► Augmented reality technology was used to deploy a module for a visual arts course. ► An augmented reality module fostered more students' attention than a traditional one. ► An augmented reality module fostered more students' satisfaction than a traditional one. ► Evaluation showed that augmented reality technology increases students' motivation. ► A usability study showed weaknesses of the system and how they were overcome.
Mobile devices such as laptops, personal digital assistants, and mobile phones have become a learning tool with great potential in both classrooms and outdoor learning. Although there have been qualitative analyses of the use of mobile devices in education, systematic quantitative analyses of the effects of mobile-integrated education are lacking. This study performed a meta-analysis and research synthesis of the effects of integrated mobile devices in teaching and learning, in which 110 experimental and quasiexperimental journal articles published during the period 1993–2013 were coded and analyzed. Overall, there was a moderate mean effect size of 0.523 for the application of mobile devices to education. The effect sizes of moderator variables were analyzed and the advantages and disadvantages of mobile learning in different levels of moderator variables were synthesized based on content analyses of individual studies. The results of this study and their implications for both research and practice are discussed.
This study investigated the current state of college students' perceptions toward mobile learning in higher education. Mobile learning is a new form of learning utilizing the unique capabilities of mobile devices. Although mobile devices are ubiquitous on college campuses, student readiness for mobile learning has yet to be fully explored in the United States. The paper describes a conceptual model, based on the theory of planned behavior (TPB), which explains how college students' beliefs influence their intention to adopt mobile devices in their coursework. Structural equation modeling was used to analyze self-report data from 177 college students. The findings showed that the TPB explained college students' acceptance of m-learning reasonably well. More specifically, attitude, subjective norm, and behavioral control positively influenced their intention to adopt mobile learning. The results provide valuable implications for ways to increase college students' acceptance of mobile learning. ► The theory of planned behavior was applied to explain m-learning acceptance. ► 87.2% of intention to adopt m-learning can be explained by all three factors. ► The significant factors were attitude, subjective norm and behavioral control. ► Perceived behavioral control was the stronger determinant of m-learning adoption.
Within education, concepts such as distance learning, and open universities, are now becoming more widely used for teaching and learning. However, due to the nature of the subject domain, the teaching of Science, Technology, and Engineering are still relatively behind when using new technological approaches (particularly for online distance learning). The reason for this discrepancy lies in the fact that these fields often require laboratory exercises to provide effective skill acquisition and hands-on experience. Often it is difficult to make these laboratories accessible for online access. Either the real lab needs to be enabled for remote access or it needs to be replicated as a fully software-based virtual lab. We argue for the latter concept since it offers some advantages over remotely controlled real labs, which will be elaborated further in this paper. We are now seeing new emerging technologies that can overcome some of the potential difficulties in this area. These include: computer graphics, augmented reality, computational dynamics, and virtual worlds. This paper summarizes the state of the art in virtual laboratories and virtual worlds in the fields of science, technology, and engineering. The main research activity in these fields is discussed but special emphasis is put on the field of robotics due to the maturity of this area within the virtual-education community. This is not a coincidence; starting from its widely multidisciplinary character, robotics is a perfect example where all the other fields of engineering and physics can contribute. Thus, the use of virtual labs for other scientific and non-robotic engineering uses can be seen to share many of the same learning processes. This can include supporting the introduction of new concepts as part of learning about science and technology, and introducing more general engineering knowledge, through to supporting more constructive (and collaborative) education and training activities in a more complex engineering topic such as robotics. The objective of this paper is to outline this problem space in more detail and to create a valuable source of information that can help to define the starting position for future research.
The flipped learning model, which “flips” traditional in-class lectures with collaborative activities, has gained many followers and converts in K-12 education. However, a review of previous studies shows that the flipped model is still underutilized and underexplored in the higher education context. Research and design models for flipped learning in higher education are also insufficient. This study attempts to fill this gap by developing a model that can provide a foundation for further research and practice for flipped learning in higher education. Building from the four pillars of F-L-I-P™ (Flexible Environments, Learning Culture, Intentional Content, and Professional Educators), the proposed research and design model named “FLIPPED” adds three extra letters—P-E-D (Progressive Activities, Engaging Experiences, and Diversified Platforms)—to the F-L-I-P™ acronym. This model was implemented in a “Holistic Flipped Classroom” environment and evaluated based on a student survey, interviews, and an analysis of computer system logs. Findings demonstrated that the proposed model was effective; students reported that they were satisfied with the course, their attendance improved, and their study efforts increased. Results also suggested that the transactional distance changed during the learning process: highly motivated students performed much better than less motivated students. However, some students retained their former passive learning habits, and this resulted in an obstruction to full adoption. Reflections on the achievements and challenges of the “FLIPPED” model have culminated in various examples, guidelines, and suggestions for practitioners as they consider their own design, implementation, and adoption.
This study investigated the extent and nature of university students’ use of digital technologies for learning and socialising. The findings show that students use a limited range of mainly established technologies. Use of collaborative knowledge creation tools, virtual worlds, and social networking sites was low. ‘Digital natives’ and students of a technical discipline (Engineering) used more technology tools when compared to ‘digital immigrants’ and students of a non-technical discipline (Social Work). This relationship may be mediated by the finding that Engineering courses required more intensive and extensive access to technology than Social Work courses. However, the use of technology between these groups is only quantitatively rather than qualitatively different. The study did not find evidence to support popular claims that young people adopt radically different learning styles. Their attitudes to learning appear to be influenced by lecturers’ teaching approaches. Students appear to conform to traditional pedagogies, albeit with minor uses of tools delivering content. The outcomes suggest that although the calls for transformations in education may be legitimate it would be misleading to ground the arguments for such change in students’ shifting patterns of learning and technology use.
This article reviews the (quasi)experimental research of the past decade on the learning effects of computer simulations in science education. The focus is on two questions: how use of computer simulations can enhance traditional education, and how computer simulations are best used in order to improve learning processes and outcomes. We report on studies that investigated computer simulations as a replacement of or enhancement to traditional instruction. In particular, we consider the effects of variations in how information is visualized, how instructional support is provided, and how computer simulations are embedded within the lesson scenario. The reviewed literature provides robust evidence that computer simulations can enhance traditional instruction, especially as far as laboratory activities are concerned. However, in most of this research the use of computer simulations has been approached without consideration of the possible impact of teacher support, the lesson scenario, and the computer simulation’s place within the curriculum. ► Traditional instruction can be successfully enhanced by using computer simulations. ► An effective way of using simulations is as preparation for laboratory activities. ► Improved visualizations do not necessarily translate into better learning. ► In most research the impact of classroom scenarios and teacher guidance are ignored.
As online and blended learning has become common place educational strategy in higher education, educators need to reconceptualise fundamental issues of teaching, learning and assessment in non traditional spaces. These issues include concepts such as validity and reliability of assessment in online environments in relation to serving the intended purposes, as well as understanding how formative assessment functions within online and blended learning. This article provides a systematic qualitative review of the research literature on online formative assessment in higher education. As an integrative narrative review, the method applied in this review entailed systematic searching, reviewing, and writing this review of the literature to bring together key themes and findings of research in this field. The authors applied qualitative thematic criteria in selecting and reviewing the available literature from which they focused on identifying and analyzing the core themes that are central to the concept of formative assessment with a key focus on application of formative assessment within blended and online contexts. Various techniques were identified for formative assessment by the individual, peers and the teacher, many of which were linked with online tools such as self-test quiz tools, discussion forums and e-portfolios. The benefits identified include improvement of learner engagement and centrality in the process as key actors, including the development of a learning community. The key findings are that effective online formative assessment can foster a learner and assessment centered focus through formative feedback and enhanced learner engagement with valuable learning experiences. Ongoing authentic assessment activities and interactive formative feedback were identified as important characteristics that can address threats to validity and reliability within the context of online formative assessment. ► Formative assessment functions within online learning. ► Formative assessment by the individual, peers and the teacher. ► Threats to validity and reliability in the context of online formative assessment. ► Ongoing authentic assessment deters threats to validity and reliability. ► Interactive formative feedback addresses threats to validity and reliability.
On-line discussion forums constitute communities of people learning from each other, which not only inform the students about their peers' doubts and problems but can also inform instructors about their students' knowledge of the course contents. In fact, nowadays there is increasing interest in the use of discussion forums as an indicator of student performance. In this respect, this paper proposes the use of different data mining approaches for improving prediction of students' final performance starting from participation indicators in both quantitative, qualitative and social network forums. Our objective is to determine how the selection of instances and attributes, the use of different classification algorithms and the date when data is gathered affect the accuracy and comprehensibility of the prediction. A new Moodle's module for gathering forum indicators was developed and different executions were carried out using real data from 114 university students during a first-year course in computer science. A representative set of traditional classification algorithms have been used and compared versus classification via clustering algorithms for predicting whether students will pass or fail the course on the basis of data about their forum usage. The results obtained indicate the suitability of performing both a final prediction at the end of the course and an early prediction before the end of the course; of applying clustering plus class association rules mining instead of traditional classification for obtaining highly interpretable student performance models; and of using a subset of attributes instead of all available attributes, and not all forum messages but only students' messages with content related to the subject of the course for improving classification accuracy.
The advancement of mobile and wireless communication technologies has encouraged an increasing number of studies concerning mobile learning, in which students are able to learn via mobile devices without being limited by space and time; in particular, the students can be situated in a real-world scenario associated with the learning content. Although such an approach seems interesting to the students, researchers have emphasized the need for well-designed learning support in order to improve the students’ learning achievements. Therefore, it has become an important issue to develop methodologies or tools to assist the students to learn in a mobile learning environment. Based on this perspective, this study proposes a formative assessment-based approach for improving the learning achievements of students in a mobile learning environment. A mobile learning environment has been developed based on this approach, and an experiment on a local culture course has been conducted in southern Taiwan to evaluate its effectiveness. The experimental results show that the proposed approach not only promotes the students’ learning interest and attitude, but also improves their learning achievement.