Volume 10 Issue 4 (2021)

A Qualitative Investigation of Team-Based Gamified Learning in an Online Environment

pp. 73-91  |  Published Online: December 2021  |  DOI: 10.22521/edupij.2021.104.5

Yunjo An


Background/purpose – This study examined how team-based gamified learning influenced students’ attitudes towards the gamification of learning, online collaboration, and competition. Furthermore, the study explored what factors contributed to the students’ positive or negative experiences with gamified learning.

Materials/methods – Game elements used for the team-based gamified learning experience included challenges, points, peer feedback and voting (social influence), and inter-team competition. Qualitative data were collected from pre- and post-surveys and participants’ reflections.

Results – Overall, the gamified learning experience had a positive influence on the participants’ attitudes toward the gamification of learning. The major factors that contributed to the positive change included (1) fun and enjoyment, (2) motivation and engagement, (3) relevance, and (4) choice and freedom. Most participants reportedly enjoyed the online collaboration in the study. The major factors that contributed to the positive online collaboration experience were effective teamwork, benefits of collaboration, and game elements. While the majority of the participants found the inter-team competition to be fun, friendly, and motivating, a few did not enjoy the inter-team competition. Teamwork was a major factor that led to either a positive or negative team-based competition experience.

Conclusion – The findings of the study provide practical insight into what should be considered when designing and implementing team-based gamified learning in online environments.

Keywords: Competition, gamification, gamified learning, online collaboration, team-based gamification.


Aldemir, T., Celik, B., & Kaplan, G. (2018). A qualitative investigation of student perceptions of game elements in a gamified course. Computers in Human Behavior, 78, 235-254. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2017.10.001

An, Y. (2020). Designing effective gamified learning experiences. International Journal of Technology in Education, 3(2), 62-69. https://doi.org/10.46328/ijte.v3i2.27

An, Y., Zhu, M., Bonk, C. J., & Lin, L. (2021). Exploring instructors’ perspectives, practices, and perceived support needs and barriers related to the gamification of MOOCs. Journal of Computing in Higher Education, 33, 64-84. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12528-020-09256-w

Asıksoy, G. (2018). The effects of the gamified flipped classroom environment (GFCE) on students’ motivation, learning achievements and perception in a physics course. Quality& Quantity, 52(1), 129-145. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11135-017-0597-1

Burke, B. (2014). Gamify: How gamification motivates people to do extraordinary things. Gartner.

Çakıroglu, Ü., Basıbüyük, B., Güler, M., Atabay, M., & Memis, B. Y. (2017). Gamifying an ICT course: Influences on engagement and academic performance. Computers in Human Behavior, 69, 98-107. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2016.12.018

Chang, J.-W., & Wei, H.-Y. (2016). Exploring engaging gamification mechanics in massive online open courses. Journal of Educational Technology & Society, 19(2), 177–203. http://www.jstor.org/stable/jeductechsoci.19.2.177

Chapman, J. R., & Rich, P. J. (2018). Does educational gamification improve students’ motivation? If so, which game elements work best? Journal of Education for Business, 93(7), 315-322. https://doi.org/10.1080/08832323.2018.1490687

Chou, Y. (2015). Actionable gamification: Beyond points, badges, and leaderboards. Octalysis Media.

Deci, E. L., Betley, G., Kahle, J., Abrams, L., & Porac, J. (1981). When trying to win: competition and intrinsic motivation. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 7(1), 79-83. https://doi.org/10.1177/014616728171012

Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (1985). The general causality orientations scale: Self-determination in personality. Journal of Research in Personality, 19(2), 109-134. https://doi.org/10.1016/0092-6566(85)90023-6

de-Marcos, L., Domínguez, A., Saenz-de-Navarrete, J., & Pagés, C. (2014). An empirical study comparing gamification and social networking on e-learning. Computers & Education, 75, 82-91. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2014.01.012

de-Marcos, L., García-Cabot, A., & García-López, E. (2017). Towards the social gamification of e-learning: A practical experiment. International Journal of Engineering Education, 33(1), 66-73. https://www.ijee.ie/contents/c330117A.html

de-Marcos, L., García-López, E., & García-Cabot, A. (2016). On the effectiveness of game-like and social approaches in learning: Comparing educational gaming, gamification & social networking. Computers & Education, 95, 99-113. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2015.12.008

Deterding, S. (2013). Gameful design for learning. T+D, 67(6), 60-63.

Deterding, S. (2015). The Lens of intrinsic skill atoms: A method for gameful design. Human–Computer Interaction, 30(3-4), 294-335. https://doi.org/10.1080/07370024.2014.993471

Deterding, S., Dixon, D., Khaled, R., & Nacke, L. (2011). From game design elements to gamefulness: Defining “gamification.” In Proceedings of the 15th International Academic MindTrek Conference (pp. 9-15). ACM.

Dindar, M., Ren, L., & Järvenoja, H. (2021). An experimental study on the effects of gamified cooperation and competition on English vocabulary learning. British Journal of Educational Technology, 52(1), 142-159. https://doi.org/10.1111/bjet.12977

Ding, L. (2019). Applying gamification to asynchronous online discussions: A mixed methods study. Computers in Human Behavior, 91, 1-11. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2018.09.022

Ding, L., Er, E., & Orey, M. (2018). An exploratory study of student engagement in gamified online discussions. Computers & Education, 120, 213-226. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2018.02.007

Ding, L., Kim, C., & Orey, M. (2017). Studies of student engagement in gamified online discussions. Computers & Education, 115, 126-142. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2017.06.016

Domínguez, A., Saenz-de-Navarrete, J., de-Marcos, L., Fernández-Sanz, L., Pagés, C., & Martinez-Herráiz, J. (2013). Gamifying learning experiences: Practical implications and outcomes. Computers & Education, 63, 380-392. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2012.12.020

Garcia, S. M., & Tor, A. (2009). The N-effect: More competitors, less competition. Psychological Science, 20(7), 871-877. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9280.2009.02385.x

Hamari, J., Koivisto, J., & Sarsa, H. (2014). Does gamification work? A literature review of empirical studies on gamification. In R. H. Sprague, Jr. (Ed.), Proceedings of the 47th Hawaii international conference on System Sciences (pp. 3025-3034). IEEE. https://doi.org/10.1109/HICSS.2014.377

Hanus, M. D., & Fox, J. (2015). Assessing the effects of gamification in the classroom: A longitudinal study on intrinsic motivation, social comparison, satisfaction, effort, and academic performance. Computers & Education, 80, 152-161. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2014.08.019

Hassan, M. A., Habiba, U., Majeed, F., & Shoaib, M. (2021). Adaptive gamification in e-learning based on students’ learning styles. Interactive Learning Environments, 29(4), 545-565. https://doi.org/10.1080/10494820.2019.1588745

Hew, K. F., Huang, B., Chu, K. W. S., & Chiu, D. K. W. (2016). Engaging Asian students through game mechanics: Findings from two experiment studies. Computers & Education, 92-93, 221-236. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2015.10.010

Huang, B., & Hew, K. F. (2018). Implementing a theory-driven gamification model in higher education flipped courses: Effects on out-of-class activity completion and quality of artifacts. Computers & Education, 125, 254-272. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2018.06.018

Kapp, K. M. (2012). The gamification of learning and instruction: game-based methods and strategies for training and education. Pfeiffer.

Kapp, K. M. (2016). Choose your level: Using games and gamification to create personalized instruction. In M. Murphy, S. Redding, & J. Twyman (Eds.), Handbook on personalized learning for states, districts, and schools (pp. 131-143). Temple University.

Keller, J. M. (1987). Development and use of the ARCS Model of instructional design. Journal of Instructional Development, 10(3), 2-10. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02905780

Keller, J. M. (2010). Motivational design for learning and performance. Springer.

Koivisto, J., & Hamari, J. (2019). The rise of motivational information systems: A review of gamification research. International Journal of Information Management, 45, 191-210. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijinfomgt.2018.10.013

Landers, R. N., & Armstrong, M. B. (2017). Enhancing instructional outcomes with gamification: An empirical test of the Technology-Enhanced Training Effectiveness Model. Computers in Human Behavior, 71, 499-507. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2015.07.031

Landers, R. N., & Landers, A. K. (2014). An empirical test of the theory of gamified learning: The effect of leaderboards on time-on-task and academic performance. Simulation & Gaming, 45(6), 769-785. https://doi.org/10.1177/1046878114563662

Lee, J., & Hammer, J. (2011). Gamification in education: What, how, why bother? Academic Exchange Quarterly, 15(2), 146-151. https://dialnet.unirioja.es/servlet/articulo?codigo=3714308

Lister, M. C. (2015). Gamification: The effect on student motivation and performance at the post-secondary level. Issues and Trends in Educational Technology, 3(2), 1-22. https://doi.org/10.2458/azu_itet_v3i2_lister

Mekler, E. D., Brühlmann, F., Tuch, A. N., & Opwis, K. (2017). Towards understanding the effects of individual gamification elements on intrinsic motivation and performance. Computers in Human Behavior, 71, 525-534. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2015.08.048

Miles, M. B., Huberman, A. M., & Saldana, J. (2014). Qualitative data analysis: A methods sourcebook (3rd ed.). Sage.

Mollick, E. R., & Rothbard, N. (2014, September 30). Mandatory fun: Consent, gamification and the impact of games at work. The Wharton School Research Paper Series. SSRN. https://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2277103

Morschheuser, B., Hamari, J., & Maedche, A. (2019). Cooperation or competition – When do people contribute more? A field experiment on gamification of crowdsourcing. International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, 127, 7-24. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijhcs.2018.10.001

Nair, S., & Mathew, J. (2021). Evaluation of gamified training A Solomon Four-Group Analysis of the Impact of Gamification on Learning Outcomes. TechTrends, 65, 750-759. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11528-021-00651-3

Park, S., & Kim, S. (2021). Is sustainable online learning possible with gamification?—The effect of gamified online learning on student learning. Sustainability, 13(8), Article 4267. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13084267

Roseth, C. J., Johnson, D. W., & Johnson, R. T. (2008). Promoting early adolescents’ achievement and peer relationships: The effects of cooperative, competitive, and individualistic goal structure. Psychological Bulletin, 134(2), 223-246. https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-2909.134.2.223

Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2000). Self-determination theory and the facilitation of intrinsic motivation, social development, and well-being. American Psychologist, 55(1), 68-78. https://psycnet.apa.org/buy/2000-13324-007

Simões, J., Redondo, R. D., & Vilas, A. F. (2013). A social gamification framework for a K-6 learning platform. Computers in Human Behavior, 29(2), 345-353. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2012.06.007

Tan, M., & Hew, K. F. (2016). Incorporating meaningful gamification in a blended learning research methods class: Examining student learning, engagement, and affective outcomes. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 32(5), 19-34. https://doi.org/10.14742/ajet.2232

Tsay, C. H., Kofinas, A., & Luo, J. (2018). Enhancing student learning experience with technology-mediated gamification: An empirical study. Computers & Education, 121, 1-17. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2018.01.009

Zahedi, L., Batten, J., Ross, M., Potvin, G., Damas, S., Clarke, P., & Davis, D. (2021). Gamification in education: a mixed-methods study of gender on computer science students’ academic performance and identity development. Journal of Computing in Higher Education, 33, 441-474. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12528-021-09271-5

Zainuddin, Z. (2018). Students’ learning performance and perceived motivation in gamified flipped-class instruction. Computers & Education, 126, 75-88. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2018.07.003

Zainuddin, Z., Shujahat, M., Haruna, H., & Chu, S. K. W. (2020). The role of gamified e-quizzes on student learning and engagement: An interactive gamification solution for a formative assessment system. Computers & Education, 145, Article 103729. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2019.103729

Zichermann, G., & Cunningham, C. (2011). Gamification by design: Implementing game mechanics in web and mobile apps. O’Reilly.



EDUPIJ Statistics from Scopus

CiteScore: 1.4, view Scopus page

► Educational Process: International Journal is member of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE)

► New issue coming soon! (Volume 11 Issue 3, 2022)