Increasing Intrinsic Motivation of Programming Students: Towards Fix and Play Educational Games

Selvarajah Mohanarajah
InSITE 2018  •  2018  •  pp. 906

[This Proceedings paper was revised and published in the 2018 issue of the journal Issues in Informing Science and Information Technology, Volume 15]

The objective of this research is to investigate the effectiveness of educational games on learning computer programming. In particular, we are focusing on examining whether allowing the players to manipulate the underlying code of the educational game will increase the intrinsic motivation of the programming students.

Traditionally, learning computer programming is considered challenging. Educational games can be used as a tool to motivate students to learn challenging subjects such as programming. Young students are fond of playing digital games. Moreover, they are also interested in creating game applications.

We created a prototype for a casual game to teach the fundamentals of conditional structures. Casual games, compared to other genres, are easy to learn and play. A number of errors were intentionally included in the game at different stages. Whenever an error is encountered, students have to stop the game and fix the bug before proceeding. In order to fix a bug, a student should understand the underlying program of the game. In this strategy, we believe that the self-esteem of the students will be built as they fix the bugs. This in turn will intrinsically motivate the students to actively engage in learning while playing.

Learning first programming language is considered very challenging. This research, investigates a novel approach to teach programming using educational games.

A pilot study was conducted using the prototype to evaluate our claim. The outcome of the evaluation is encouraging. Allowing the gamers, who use educational games for learning programming, to manipulate the underlying code of the educational game will increase the intrinsic motivation of the programming students. This paper will describe the problem statement, research methodologies, preliminary results, and future directions of the research.

Creating industry level educational games to teach programming will be beneficial to the society.

Learning first computer programming language is considered challenging. This research investigates a novel approach to teach programming. we focused on examining whether allowing the players to manipulate the underlying code of the educational game will increase the intrinsic motivation of the programming students. We used casual games for investigation. This research may be extended for other genres. Comparing this approach with other approaches such as Algorithm Animation techniques will be another potential research topic.

Today, digital technology plays a key role in our daily lives. Even the kids’ toys are becoming more and more digital and some of which are programmable. The future generations of students should be able to use digital technologies proficiently. In addition, they should also be able to understand and modify the underlying computer programs. Nevertheless, learning computer programming is considered challenging, and beginning students are easily frustrated and become bored. This research investigate a novel approach to alleviate this disenchantment.

In future, different types of casual games will be developed to learn different topics in computer programming, and a full scale evaluation (including objective evaluation using game scores) will be conducted. This research will follow the principles outlined in the US Department of Education’s Common Guidelines for Education and Research The reliability of the questionnaire will be measured using Cronbach’s alpha. One-way MANOVA will analyze the efficacy of the proposed intervention on the students’ performance, and their intrinsic motivation and flow experience. The sample sizes may be different. A priori analysis will be conducted to verify existence of multivariate outliers, normality condition, and homogeneity of covariance. Power and Effect size analysis will be reported

Educational Games, Game Based Learning, Learning Programming
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