An Exploratory Study on Attitudes Towards Gamification and the Role of Learning Approach in the Context of Distance Learning
Proceedings of the 9th International Conference in Open and Distance Learning, Volume 5, Part A (pp. 177-189)
Posted: 28 Dec 2017
Date Written: November 26, 2017
Over recent years, the techniques and features of gamification have been increasingly incorporated into educational environments, such as distance learning. This dynamic is also reflected in the intensification of the research concerned with the phenomenon of gamification and the factors impacting its implementation in the context of various fields. In alignment with previous research efforts, this study aims, first, to explore the attitudes of the participants in this research towards gamification and, second, to examine the role of their learning approach to the formulation of those attitudes. To attain this goal, an empirical research was conducted with the use of a questionnaire that was distributed to nascent users of gamification, in the field of distance learning. In total, 399 valid questionnaires were collected. The results of this study highlighted the very positive attitudes of the participants both towards distance learning and the use of gamification mechanics. However, there was a differentiation among the respondents in terms of the degree of the positive evaluation they attributed to the individual gamification mechanics examined. This finding suggests that special attention is required on the part of the educators in selecting the gamification mechanics they will integrate in a distance learning environment, since the specific characteristics of the potential students seem to require the provision of customized gamification techniques. Further, this study has shown that the students' learning approach, when it is deep, it affects positively the attitudes towards gamification. However, it entails that this relationship is mediated by the positive attitudes towards distance learning. That is to say, the participants who stated that they acquire a deep learning approach they tend to exhibit a more positive attitude towards distance learning and this in turn leads to a more positive attitude towards gamification. The findings of this study can be used by educational institutions that provide distance learning programs via gamification.
Keywords: gamification, gamification mechanics, distance learning, learning approach
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