Sewer Rats in Teaching Action: An explorative field study on students' perception of a game-based learning app in graduate engineering education

by   Heinrich Söbke, et al.

Game-based technologies and mobile learning aids open up many opportunities for learners; however, evidence-based decisions on their appropriate use are necessary. This explorative study (N = 100) examines the role of game elements in university education using a game-based learning app for mobile devices. The educational goal of the app is to support students in the field of engineering to memorize factual knowledge. The study investigates how the game-based app affects learners' motivation. It analyses the perceived impact and appeal as well as the game elements as an incentive in learners' perception. To realize this aim, the study combines structured methods like questionnaires with semi-structured methods like thinking aloud, game diaries, and interviews. The results indicate that flexible tem-poral and spatial use of the app was an important factor of learners' motivation. The app allowed more spontaneous involvement with the subject matter and the learners took advantage of an improved attitude toward the subject matter. However, only a low impact on intrinsic motivation could be observed. We discuss reasons and present practical implications.



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