Investigating the impact of a gamified unit of instruction on student motivation and learning

Sixth grade social studies teachers are required to cover a wide range of content and skills based on state and national standards. These requirements often make it difficult to cover, in detail, topics that are of high-interest to students but are not present in curricular requirements. In addition, students are diverse, leading to the necessity for varied approaches to instruction. To encourage students to explore topics of interest in greater detail while still meeting the content and skill requirements set forth and addressing a diverse student body, a gamified unit covering Ancient Egypt was created. The unit was developed using the Hawaiian culture-based Moenahā unit planning format and incorporated the ideas of student choice and gamification—applying game elements in non-gaming situations. These concepts were used in an effort to positively impact both student motivation and learning. A unit website was created and shared with students. This website outlined the requirements for the unit and the game, provided necessary resources, and displayed student scores for the game in a leaderboard table in real time. One hundred and two sixth grade social studies students participated in the study. Participants completed a survey indicating the perceived impact of different elements of the unit on their motivation and learning. Survey responses indicated that students found the gamification and choice elements of the unit to have positive impacts on their motivation and learning. Data collected has encouraged the researcher to continue incorporating gamification and student choice into instruction.
gamification, student choice, action research, motivation, learning, middle school
Bowman , N. (2015, March 17). Investigating the impact of a gamified unit of instruction on student motivation and learning. PowerPoint presented at the 20th Annual Technology, Colleges, and Community Worldwide Online Conference.
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