Student engagement in online discussions through a gamified approach
MetadataShow full item record
Asynchronous online discussion is important in online and blended courses by supporting various activities for students to interact with classmates and instructors. Benefits of asynchronous online discussion often include outcomes such as promoting thoughtful and reflective interaction among peers, engaging students in classes, and bolstering active learning. However, only when students engage in the discussions, can the aforementioned benefits occur. Low participation rate and shallow discourse are frequently reported by researchers. Being physically isolated from classmates and lacking an omnipresent instructor, student engagement in online discussions heavily leans on their motivation and self-regulated learning. By taking the motivational benefits of the gamification approach, this dissertation presents the products of a program of inquiry on designing, developing, and evaluating the gamification approach for promoting student engagement in online discussions. Featuring six game elements, gEchoLu, was designed and developed for this dissertation that allows instructors to gamify online discussions. This dissertation comprises an introductory chapter (Chapter 1) and a conclusion chapter (Chapter 6) that frame four journal style manuscripts. Chapter 2 presents five design principles for gamifying online discussions, each of which consists of one or two implementations of gEchoLu. Chapter 3 reports findings from two trial studies of using gEchoLu in asynchronous online discussions. gEchoLu was tested in blended undergraduate and an online graduate courses. Student engagement in online discussions was examined and the effect of each specific game element was investigated. In Chapter 4, a control group was included, and mixed methods were used to investigate the effect of the gamification approach on student engagement in online discussions. The secondary MANOVA indicated that students who engaged in the gamification approach outperformed their counterparts in the control group. Chapter 5 prioritizes qualitative method to provide a comprehensive story of using the gamification approach in online discussions in an undergraduate level online course. How each of the game elements incorporated in gEchoLu affected student engagement, factors that encouraged or discouraged students to engage in the gamification approach, and instructor’s perspective on the gamified online discussions were shared in this chapter.