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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Intrinsic motivational effects and cognitive learning outcomes of an instructional microcomputer game Shaban, Abdullah


The current study addresses the questions of what determines intrinsic motivation, how do the factors that determine it work, and what kinds of cognitive learning may be achieved in an intrinsically motivating environment? A microcomputer game environment, involving one instructional and one noninstructional game, was selected for the study. Two game-specific parallel tests of motivation involving the factors of Challenge, Curiosity, Control, and Fantasy were constructed. An achievement test of algebra relating to the content of the instructional game and involving the learning of Concepts, Rules, and Procedures was also constructed. In an experiment involving 134 10th-grade students, a test of divergent feeling, measuring how creative the students feel about themselves, was administered. The subjects were then randomly assigned by gender and class to either an experimental or a control group. Following a practice session, the experimental group played each game twice and answered a test of motivation each time, while the control group played the noninstructional game twice and used worksheets twice to practice the mathematical content of the instructional game. The test of algebra was administered to all subjects after the last playing session and in the fifth week following that. The results revealed that each of the four factors of Challenge, Curiosity, Control, and Fantasy played a role in determining the intrinsic motivational effects of the games. The games did not differentiate in motivation between boys and girls or among students with different levels of perceived creativity. There were no significant differences in achievement or retention between the experimental and control groups: the worksheets were just as effective as the game in enabling the learning of Concepts, Rules, and Procedure on both the post-test and retention test. Gender differences in mathematics achievement, favouring boys over girls, were accounted for, in part, by the level of perceived creativity. Challenge, Control, and Fantasy correlated positively with cognitive learning. For the instructional game, there was no significant change for the factors of Challenge, Curiosity, and Fantasy; but student motivation attributed to Control increased significantly.

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