Solving the Case: Engaging Learners through a Gamified, Investigative Learning Activity
Concurrent Session 5
With students becoming more familiar with traditional online learning tools, there is a need to create novel and innovative learning environments. The current speakers have created one such environment with an immersive, game-based activity. Weaving together concepts of problem-based learning and multimedia learning, the case-based activity allows students to self-pace through the learning experience, granting them autonomy in the learning process, and also provides compelling multimedia content that fully engages the student in the knowledge taught.
With students becoming more familiar with traditional online learning tools, there is a need to create novel and innovative learning environments. The current speakers have created one such environment with an immersive, game-based activity that focuses on teaching concepts of fraud (specifically, principles of tax fraud). Weaving together concepts of problem-based learning (Barrow & Tamblyn, 1980) and multimedia learning (Mayer & Moreno, 2002), the case-based activity allows students to self-pace through the learning experience, granting them autonomy in the learning process, and also provides compelling multimedia content that fully engages the student in the knowledge taught.
This session will feature two components: an interactive demonstration of the learning game and the presentation of a research study that investigated students’ engagement with the activity. Participants will receive a digital license to the digital platform. They will view a 15-minute film, examining real-life evidence and working as a team to solve a crime. This whodunnit mystery will leave the audience guessing the culprit and ultimately understanding the impacts of the crime. This experience will also provide the audience an overview of the game environemnt itself, getitng a first-hand glance at the multimeida elements of the learning activity that help engage the student learner.
In addition to a demonstration of the learning game itself, this session will explore the results of a study that examined students’ reported engagement with the activity to better understand how they interacted with this novel digital learning activity. The research study was implemented with 184 graduate-level students in accounting courses across five universities in the United States. The study investigated how completion of the gamified case-based activity impacted how immersed students were in the gamified learning environment of the activity and whether they felt like completing the case led to knowledge improvement (Fu, Su, & Yu, 2008; Weibe, Lamb, Hardy, & Sharek, 2014)
Student engagement was measured across three dimensions: immersion, curiosity, and engagement. One-sample t-tests found that across all three scales (immersion (M = 3.49, SE = .06), curiosity (M = 4.41, SE = .04), and knowledge improvement (M = 4.26, SE = .05)), students reported aggregate scores that were significantly higher than the scale median of 3 (all p < .001), indicating their high engagement with the activity. Similarly, the majority of students reported that they would prefer using this learning activity over the more traditional accounting lesson, another indicator of students’ interest in the more interactive digital learning environment.
These findings highlight the benefits of integrating traditional lessons into more novel, gamified digital spaces. Even in these environments, educators can integrate classic learning science theories of problem-solving and active learning with multimedia components. Audience members will come away from this session with a more heightened understanding of how multimedia elements (e.g., video, documents, profiles) can be skillfully created and deployed to engage the student learner and offer them agency in their learning experience. They will also have the opportunity to view a demo of the learning game, which will provide a concrete sense of how these components immerse the student into the game environment.