An investigation of game behavior in the context of digital game-based learning: An individual difference perspective

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Abstract

Digital game-based learning (DGBL) includes various features. On the other hand, diversities exist among learners. Accordingly, each learner may appreciate different game features. Thus, there is a need to examine how individual differences affect learners' reactions to DGBL. Among various individual differences, the levels of gaming experience, which are associated with playing skills, have important effects. Thus, this study developed a Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG)-based English learning environment and investigated how the levels of gaming experience affected learners' reactions to the developed MMORPG. A total of 45 sixth graders from an elementary school in northern Taiwan participated in this study and they were divided into high gaming-experience learners (HGEL) and low gaming-experience learners (LGEL) based on the participants' responses to a prior gaming experience questionnaire. A mixed method was employed to analyze both learners' quantitative log data and qualitative interview responses. The results from quantitative log data showed that the HGEL had better game achievement and higher game socialization than the LGEL, especially in terms of buying items, chatting, and teaming up with friends. Conversely, the LGEL needed more in-game assistance than the HGEL, especially for checking the task list and route map. The results from qualitative interview responses showed that the HGEL skipped most of the learning content while the LGEL paid full attention to the learning content. These findings demonstrate the understandings of the effects of individual differences, especially the levels of gaming experience, on learners’ reactions to DGBL. Based on such findings, we contribute to developing a framework and several design solutions, which can be used to implement personalized DGBL to accommodate the needs of learners with different levels of gaming experience.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106432
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
Volume112
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2020

Keywords

  • Digital games
  • Game behavior
  • Game experience
  • Individual differences

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