Over the past few years, there has been increasing interest in using technology to make the classroom more student-centric and interactive. One common way to do this is through interactive response systems (IRS) that allow teachers to poll the classroom instantly. Another way is through gamified learning, which uses the essential elements of a game (challenge, curiosity, control, and fantasy) to engage students in learning concepts. A recent study combined IRS with gamification elements and investigated the impact on student motivation and attention.

Researchers split a group of 144 students from six English classes into three groups. The control group underwent traditional teaching and polling with a small whiteboard. The first experimental group used a general IRS and the second used a gamified IRS that gave students game tokens to bet on possible answers. The gamified IRS also had a leaderboard to induce friendly competition. In all three groups, students learned the same course content.

Researchers provided surveys before and after the two-week testing period. The results showed that students who used the general or gamified IRS reported significantly greater intrinsic motivation. The students in the second experimental group also showed more emotional engagement and focused attention in class.

Researchers believe that highly interactive tools, such as the gamified IRS, can make a real impact on learning. While the initial findings are promising, it seems that further study is necessary to see if these changes in motivation last long-term. Still, there are many limitations to the traditional teaching model, and it’s easy to see how getting students more involved in their learning would be valuable.

Sun, J. C.-Y., & Hsieh, P.-H. (2018). Application of a gamified interactive response system to enhance the intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, student engagement, and attention of English learners. Educational Technology & Society, 21(3), 104–116.

Image: by Samsung Newsroom via flickr.