Motivational effects of instructional support provided by game-based learning of high school mathematics
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The purpose of this experimental study was to examine the interactive effects of instructional support and game-based learning of high school mathematics. This study focused on the use of a computer game as the vehicle of instructional support, and self-determination theory was applied to evaluate students’ motivation by analyzing motivational factors of autonomy, relatedness, and competence. Pretest-posttest control group design with random assignment was used to evaluate students’ academic achievement, while posttest-only control-group design with random assignment was used to evaluate students’ game enjoyment and the motivational effects of instructional support in game-based learning of high school mathematics. All participants were randomly assigned to either a control group or one of three treatment groups. Participants in the control group engaged in learning without treatment of computer game or instructional support, and those in one of the three experimental conditions engaged in (a) learning mathematics with instructional support in non-gaming environment, (b) game-based learning of mathematics with instructional support of guided practice and feedback, or (c) game-based learning of mathematics without instructional support. The data were analyzed for 145 participants who completed all three sessions of treatments. A series of t-tests were conducted to evaluate the differences of game enjoyment between game treatment with and without instructional support. A series of 2 × 2 analysis of variance (ANOVA) were conducted to evaluate the interaction of game and instructional support on academic achievement and motivation factors of autonomy, competence, and relatedness. Instructional support embedded in the game did not impact participants’ game enjoyment level, academic achievement or motivation. Those participants who experienced game treatment demonstrated lower levels of relatedness, competence, and autonomy than those without game treatment in the second session. Instructional support and game-based learning of high school mathematics impacted game enjoyment, achievement, and motivation differently in the current study compared to previous studies in elementary and middle schools. Recommendations for future research involve two major components of game-based learning, including internal contexts (game idea and functionality) and external contexts (applications).