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An Empirical Investigation on the Benefits of Gamification in Programming Courses

An Empirical Investigation on the Benefits of Gamification in Programming Courses Context: Programming courses are compulsory for most engineering degrees, but students’ performance on these courses is often not as good as expected. Programming is difficult for students to learn, given that it includes a lot of new, complex, and abstract topics. All of this has led experts to the conclusion that new teaching techniques are required if students are to be motivated and engaged in learning on programming courses. Gamification has come to be an effective technique in education in general, and is especially useful in programming courses. This motivated us to develop an open source gamified platform, called UDPiler, for use in a programming course. Objective: The main goal of this article is to obtain empirical evidence on the improvement of students’ learning performance when using UDPiler in comparison to a non-gamified compiler. Method: A quasi-experiment was performed with two groups of first-year engineering students at Diego Portales University in Chile, using a non-gamified compiler and a gamified platform, respectively. Results: The results reveal that the students obtained better marks when the gamified platform was used to learn C programming. In addition, there is statistical significance in favor of there being a positive effect on the learning performance of those students who used the gamified platform. Conclusions: The results allow us to conclude that gamification is an encouraging approach with which to teach C programming, a finding that is aligned with previous empirical studies concerning gamification on programming courses, carried out in academic contexts. Nonetheless, we are aware that further validation is also required to corroborate and strengthen the findings obtained and to investigate whether the kind of gamified elements (mechanics, dynamics, and aesthetics) used have any influence on students’ performance, among other issues that deserve further investigation and that are explained throughout this article. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png ACM Transactions on Computing Education (TOCE) Association for Computing Machinery

An Empirical Investigation on the Benefits of Gamification in Programming Courses

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Publisher
Association for Computing Machinery
Copyright
Copyright © 2018 ACM
ISSN
1946-6226
eISSN
1946-6226
DOI
10.1145/3231709
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Context: Programming courses are compulsory for most engineering degrees, but students’ performance on these courses is often not as good as expected. Programming is difficult for students to learn, given that it includes a lot of new, complex, and abstract topics. All of this has led experts to the conclusion that new teaching techniques are required if students are to be motivated and engaged in learning on programming courses. Gamification has come to be an effective technique in education in general, and is especially useful in programming courses. This motivated us to develop an open source gamified platform, called UDPiler, for use in a programming course. Objective: The main goal of this article is to obtain empirical evidence on the improvement of students’ learning performance when using UDPiler in comparison to a non-gamified compiler. Method: A quasi-experiment was performed with two groups of first-year engineering students at Diego Portales University in Chile, using a non-gamified compiler and a gamified platform, respectively. Results: The results reveal that the students obtained better marks when the gamified platform was used to learn C programming. In addition, there is statistical significance in favor of there being a positive effect on the learning performance of those students who used the gamified platform. Conclusions: The results allow us to conclude that gamification is an encouraging approach with which to teach C programming, a finding that is aligned with previous empirical studies concerning gamification on programming courses, carried out in academic contexts. Nonetheless, we are aware that further validation is also required to corroborate and strengthen the findings obtained and to investigate whether the kind of gamified elements (mechanics, dynamics, and aesthetics) used have any influence on students’ performance, among other issues that deserve further investigation and that are explained throughout this article.

Journal

ACM Transactions on Computing Education (TOCE)Association for Computing Machinery

Published: Nov 20, 2018

Keywords: Gamification

References