Date of Paper/Work


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Leadership (Ed.D.)

Type of Paper/Work



Chientzu Chou, Glori Hinck, Jayne Sommers


Gamification is the use of game elements (storytelling, leaderboard, badges, points, and progress bars), mechanics (rules, objectives and challenges), and game designs in non-game contexts (Deterding, 2012; Kapp, 2012; Wiggins, 2016). The use of gamification in learning environments has been on a steady increase since 2010 (Deterding, 2017). This may be due to the limitations of game-based learning, and the need for specialized instructors (Simoes, Redondo, & Vilas, 2013). However, researchers such as Boer (2014) believe the effects of gamification on students’ engagement and motivation appear lower than expected. This is because studies such as Dichev and Dicheva (2017) indicated that its effect on motivation was lower than anticipated and argued that the design of a successful gamified learning experience that could motivate learning and change behaviors remained a guessing practice.

This study used the collective case study method for data analysis and the syntheses of studies from gamification researchers to investigate and understand faculty members’ perceptions of the opportunities and challenges inherent in the use of gamification in adult students’ learning. The study then developed a robust framework for scientifically designing successful gamification learning experiences using Keller’s (1979, 1987) attention, relevance, confidence and satisfaction (ARCS) model of motivation, and Freire’s (2013) critical thinking concept as guiding lenses.

Among other findings, the study found that a well-designed gamified learning experience engenders the following opportunities: (a) reduces the barriers to learning through the use of meaningful storytelling, which enables the opportunity to inject humor and experiential learning; (b) stimulates intrinsic motivation through the use of the game element of teamwork or group work, which induces good student-to-student and students-to-faculty relationships; and (c) creates the feelings of autonomy in students with the use of the game design principle of repetition.


gamification, adult learners, games, educational technology, motivation, instructional design

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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