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, Volume 18, Issue 3, pp 583–597 | Cite as

Engagement in the course of programming in higher education through the use of gamification

  • Arturo Rojas-LópezEmail author
  • Elvira G. Rincón-Flores
  • Juanjo Mena
  • Francisco José García-Peñalvo
  • María Soledad Ramírez-Montoya
Long Paper


Programming learning in college education is hard for students. Consequently, strategies are required to boost significant learning as well as sustained motivation during the delivery of the course. For this reason, the following investigation determines if the didactic strategy of gamification encourages engagement in a university level programming course. The article presents two interventions that took place during the period of January to April 2017 and January to April 2018 in a University of Mexico using the challenge-based gamification pedagogical strategy. This strategy supports the Werbach and Hunter methodology. The dynamics were emotional, social, and progressive and were conducted through challenge and opportunities mechanics. The components were points, badges, avatars, and a leaderboard. In both interventions, surveys were used to know the acceptance of the strategy on behalf of the students, and a meta-evaluation instrument was applied after the first intervention with the purpose of strengthening and improving the didactic strategy. The main conclusion of this work indicates that gamification in the classroom contributed to improve the engagement with the students to succeed in solving the challenges successfully; therefore, the pedagogical strategy under scrutiny can be applied to other subjects.


Gamification Challenge Motivation Engagement 



This work was carried out in the context of the PhD Program of the Knowledge Society of the University of Salamanca, Spain, and Technological University of Puebla, Mexico.


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Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.División de Tecnologías de la InformaciónUniversidad Tecnológica de PueblaPueblaMexico
  2. 2.Escuela de Ingeniería y CienciasTecnologico de MonterreyMonterreyMexico
  3. 3.Facultad de Educación/Grupo GRIALUniversidad de SalamancaSalamancaSpain
  4. 4.Institute of Psychology and EducationKazan Federal UniversityKazanRussia
  5. 5.Departamento de Informática y Automática/Instituto Universitario de Ciencias de la Educación/Grupo GRIALUniversidad de SalamancaSalamancaSpain
  6. 6.Escuela de Humanidades y EducaciónTecnologico de MonterreyMonterreyMexico

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