Educational Technology Research and Development

, Volume 67, Issue 4, pp 1003–1024 | Cite as

The roles of engagement and competition on learner’s performance and motivation in game-based science learning

  • Ching-Huei Chen
  • Victor LawEmail author
  • Kun Huang
Development Article


In a game-based learning (GBL) environment for seventh-grade students, this study investigated the impact of competition, engagement in games, and the relationship between the two on students’ in-game performance and flow experience, which, in turn, impacted their science learning outcomes. Structural equation modeling was employed to test a hypothesized path model. The findings showed that students’ engagement in games not only predicted their in-game performance, but also had an impact on science learning outcomes via the mediation of in-game performance. While competition alone did not have a direct effect on either in-game performance or flow experience, it was indirectly related to in-game performance via the moderation of students’ engagement in games. The study concludes with implications for future GBL interventions and studies.


Game-based learning Engagement Flow Competition 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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© Association for Educational Communications and Technology 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Industrial Education and TechnologyNational Changhua University of EducationChanghuaTaiwan
  2. 2.Program of Organization, Information, and Learning SciencesThe University of New MexicoAlbuquerqueUSA
  3. 3.Department of Curriculum and InstructionUniversity of KentuckyLexingtonUSA

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