Gamification, the implementation of game elements in a non-game context, is a rapidly growing field of research. One element of gamification that has experienced a rapid growth in popularity is the use of digital badges. Despite widespread adoption in educational settings, there are still gaps in the understanding of their effects on motivation, engagement, learning, and other factors. Furthermore, feedback delivered through badges can include a symbolic reward for successful completion of a task, providing a credential for gaining a skill, or acknowledging mastery of a particular piece of knowledge. This study implemented digital badges in online courses at a large urban two-year college. Badges were used to deliver embedded feedback and analyze the results on motivation, engagement, and learning. An experimental group received badges over the course of a three week module composed of various learning activities targeting course learning outcomes. A control group experienced the same learning activities without receiving the digital badges. Results indicated insignificant differences in perceived motivation, learning gains, and perceived engagement between the two groups. Positive results were observed regarding increased peer-to-peer engagement evidenced by a significant increase in discussion board activity. The increased engagement of peers leads to the subsequent building of a strong learning community. This positive group association can provide a feeling of support which leads to increased effort, persistence, and goal achievement. Potential causes are discussed and suggestions for future research are provided.
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Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
College of Sciences
Modeling & Simulation
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)
Macon, Brian, "Gamification: Badges and Feedback" (2019). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2004-2019. 6340.