Abstract—Engineering education can be particularly challenging when dealing with abstract or highly technical concepts such as mathematics, signals, digital electronics, electronic systems, and programming. Tutorial sessions are often ineffective as a result of poor attendance and engagement, with these effects exacerbated by large class sizes, non-homogenous student groups, and the pressures of hybrid and remote learning. Gamification of some aspects of formative assessments and tutorials using mobile and app-based quizzes has proved to be successful in improving lecture theatre dynamics, reducing distractions and enhancing student attendance and engagement. Such gamified sessions can be perceived as engaging, competitive, visually appealing, and entertaining, while providing instant feedback and empowering students to navigate their own learning. Careful gamification of problem classes for engineering topics can enable more effective self-regulation of learning through a combination of effort regulation and metacognition. This paper presents both lowand high-threshold gamification strategies adopted in a U.K. higher education setting to enhance student learning in a set of challenging undergraduate engineering courses ranging from less than 30 students to more than 180 students, and qualitatively assesses impact and student reactions. While there is much literature canvassing student opinions on gamification, extensive individual student voice tends to be missing. Therefore, one of our authors, who is a recent graduate, presents a detailed reflection on her experiences of gamification. Finally, we present some conclusions for further exploration and adoption by practitioners, considering the most effective ways to deploy the various types of gamification. These conclusions include recommendations to use app-based quiz games with anonymous participation both within and outside the classroom, gamifying either single sessions or the course as a whole, and the need to continue supplementing quiz-game learning with more traditional problems and worked solutions.
Index Terms—Gamification, engineering education, engagement, interactive, metacognition
David McIntosh, Waleed Al-Nuaimy, Ali Al Ataby, Ian Sandall, and Valerio Selis are with the Department of Electrical Engineering and Electronics at the University of Liverpool, UK. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org (W.A.N.), email@example.com (A.A.A.), firstname.lastname@example.org (I.S.), email@example.com (V.S.)
Shawnee Allen was with the Department of Electrical Engineering and Electronics, University of Liverpool, UK.
*Correspondence: firstname.lastname@example.org (D.M.)
Cite: David McIntosh*, Waleed Al-Nuaimy, Ali Al Ataby, Ian Sandall, Valerio Selis, and Shawnee Allen, "Gamification Approaches for Improving Engagement and Learning in Small and Large Engineering Classes," International Journal of Information and Education Technology vol. 13, no. 9, pp. 1328-1337, 2023.Copyright © 2023 by the authors. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).