In-game assessments increase novice programmers' engagement and level completion speed

Michael J. Lee, Andrew J. Ko, Irwin Kwan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

39 Scopus citations

Abstract

Assessments have been shown to have positive effects on learning in compulsory educational settings. However, much less is known about their effects in discretionary learning settings, especially in computing education and educational games. We hypothesized that adding assessments to an educational computing game would provide extra opportunities for players to practice and correct misconceptions, thereby affecting their performance on subsequent levels and their motivation to continue playing. To test this, we designed a game called Gidget, in which players help a robot find and fix defects in programs that follow a mastery learning paradigm. Across two studies, we manipulated the inclusion of multiple choice and self-explanation assessment levels in the game, measuring their impact on engagement and level completion speed. In our first study, we found that including assessments caused learners to voluntarily play longer and complete more levels, suggesting increased engagement; in our second study, we found that including assessments caused learners to complete levels faster, suggesting increased understanding. These findings suggest that including assessments in a discretionary computing education game may be a key design strategy for improving informal learning of computing concepts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationICER 2013 - Proceedings of the 2013 ACM Conference on International Computing Education Research
Pages153-160
Number of pages8
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 11 2013
Externally publishedYes
Event9th Annual International Computing Education Research Conference, ICER 2013 - San Diego, CA, United States
Duration: Aug 12 2013Aug 14 2013

Publication series

NameICER 2013 - Proceedings of the 2013 ACM Conference on International Computing Education Research

Other

Other9th Annual International Computing Education Research Conference, ICER 2013
CountryUnited States
CitySan Diego, CA
Period8/12/138/14/13

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • Education

Keywords

  • Assessment
  • Engagement, speed, debugging, serious game, educational game
  • Programming

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