Educational Technology Research and Development

, Volume 62, Issue 5, pp 481–505 | Cite as

Game-based practice versus traditional practice in computer-based writing strategy training: effects on motivation and achievement

  • Antje ProskeEmail author
  • Rod D. Roscoe
  • Danielle S. McNamara
Research Article


Achieving sustained student engagement with practice in computer-based writing strategy training can be a challenge. One potential solution is to foster engagement by embedding practice in educational games; yet there is currently little research comparing the effectiveness of game-based practice versus more traditional forms of practice. In this study, the ARCS model (Keller, Perform Instr 26(8):1–7, 1987b) was used to investigate the motivational characteristics of different practice conditions. To this end, 175 students were randomly assigned to one of four experimental conditions: game-based, question-based, model-based, and writing-based practice. All students first learned strategies to write an essay introduction. Subsequently, students practiced using the strategies in the four different conditions. Game-based practice was expected to positively affect ARCS-related motivation toward practice. Results showed that students perceived game-based practice as significantly more interesting and engaging than question-based practice. However, although game-based practice was perceived more positively, only model-based and question-based practice demonstrated a beneficial impact on students’ ability to implement the writing strategies. These results underline the necessity of interconnecting motivational and instructional design when developing practice methods for computer-based writing strategy training.


Serious games Game-based learning Writing strategy instruction ARCS model 



We are grateful to Jianmin Dai, Rüdiger Krauße, and Russell Brandon for their assistance in programming and preparing the study materials. We also thank Antje Neuhoff, as well as the teachers and students of the participating English courses. Special thanks go to Christin Höppner, Esther Herrmann, Anna-Lena Thoms, and Monique Zimmermann for their assistance during data collection. This research was supported in part by the Institute for Education Sciences (IES R305A080589; R305A120707). Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the IES.


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Copyright information

© Association for Educational Communications and Technology 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Antje Proske
    • 1
    Email author
  • Rod D. Roscoe
    • 2
  • Danielle S. McNamara
    • 3
  1. 1.Psychology of Learning and InstructionTU DresdenDresdenGermany
  2. 2.Human Systems EngineeringArizona State UniversityMesaUSA
  3. 3.Psychology Department, Learning Sciences InstituteArizona State UniversityTempeUSA

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