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, Volume 18, Issue 3, pp 533–549 | Cite as

Understanding student behavior and perceptions toward earning badges in a gamified MOOC

  • Alejandro Ortega-ArranzEmail author
  • Erkan Er
  • Alejandra Martínez-Monés
  • Miguel L. Bote-Lorenzo
  • Juan I. Asensio-Pérez
  • Juan A. Muñoz-Cristóbal
Long Paper


Despite the advantages of MOOCs, such as the open and free access to education, these courses are criticized for students’ lack of motivation and their high dropout rates. Gamification is a technique used to increase student motivation and engagement in small-scale educational contexts. However, the effects of gamification on student engagement have been scarcely explored in MOOC environments, and the findings so far are inconsistent. To address this gap, this research work examines the students’ behavior toward earning badges and how it relates to their engagement in a gamified MOOC. According to the results, the behaviors toward badges of the active students were generally positive and significantly correlated with other variables measuring their engagement (e.g., pageviews, submitted tasks, forum posts), although this positive behavior seems to decrease throughout the course. Additionally, students that reported high motivation by badges at the end of the course showed a higher engagement level than those that were not appealed by badges.


Gamification MOOC Engagement Perceptions Badges Rewards 



This research has been partially funded by the Spanish State Research Agency (AEI) together with the European Regional Development Fund, under Project Grants TIN2014-53199-C3-2-R and TIN2017-85179-C3-2-R, the Regional Government of Castilla y León together with the European Regional Development Fund, under Project Grants VA082U16 and VA257P18, and the European Commission, under Project Grant 588438-EPP-1-2017-1-EL-EPPKA2-KA. The authors would like to thank the rest of the GSIC-EMIC research team for their valuable ideas and the Canvas Network team for the support received conducting this research.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Telecommunications EngineeringUniversidad de ValladolidValladolidSpain
  2. 2.School of Computer EngineeringUniversidad de ValladolidValladolidSpain

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