Educators often have difficulty getting students motivated to focus during traditional lectures. While there have been significant developments in educational technology, particularly in online course platforms and virtual learning environments, very little research has shown how mobile devices can positively impact student engagement in lecture-based learning experiences.

In this study, researchers developed a gamified learning tool accessible by Wi-Fi enabled mobile devices. Tracking forty-nine students enrolled in modularized civics engineering courses, this interactive tool provided both facilitators and students with immediate feedback, allowing them to assess their understanding of the topic at hand.

Using a simulated cycling race theme, students answered several rounds of timed, post-lecture module assessment questions on their mobile device. Rankings were displayed at the close of each module, with the participants receiving immediate feedback on whether learning outcomes and objectives were being satisfied.

An in-class questionnaire showed the majority of participants strongly agreed that, when seeing their results in real time, they worked harder, paid more attention, and retained more information with this new approach. Participants also made improvements in their final exam scores compared to previous terms.

While there is still work to be done in researching innovative methods to increase student engagement through the use of immediate feedback, this study illustrated that frequent feedback can lead to more effective learning outcomes, sustained focus, and increased retention, and that incorporating gamified elements into traditional learning environments can be an effective way to learn.

Gonzalez, A., (2018). Turning a traditional teaching setting into a feedback rich environment.International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education, 15(32).

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