Skip to main content
Log in

Enhancing motivation in workplace training with casual games: a twelve month field study of retail employees

  • Research Article
  • Published:
Educational Technology Research and Development Aims and scope Submit manuscript

Abstract

This study focused on the use of casual games to motivate learners in a corporate retail settings to engage in a online learning platform. The study analyzed two populations of learners who were using the learning platform. One group of learners was in a game condition. In this condition, the learners were provided the option to play a casual game (lasting no more than five minutes) every time they logged into the software. The second group of learners was in a non-game condition. They did not have the option of playing games at any time on the platform. Over a 12 month period of time, the study compared the level of engagement of the two groups as measured by the number of times learners returned to the platform and the proportion of time the learner spent browsing non-required areas of the platform. The results provided evidence that playing a casual game produced significant levels of engagement with the learning platform. It was found that learners in the game condition logged in significantly more often than those in the non-game condition. The evidence supports the conclusion that adult learners are more motivated to come back and engage with the learning platform when they can play a casual game first. In terms of learning, it was found learners in the game condition answered significantly more questions correctly and had significantly longer correct answer streaks than learners in the nongame condition.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6
Fig. 7

Similar content being viewed by others

References

  • Addy, T. M., Dube, D., Croft, C., Nardolilli, J. O., Paynter, O. C., Hutchings, M. L., et al. (2018). Integrating a serious game into case-based learning. Simulation and Gaming, 49(4), 378–400. https://doi.org/10.1177/1046878118779416.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Abdual Jabbar, I. A., & Felicia, P. (2015). Gameplay engagement and learning in gam-based learning: A systematic review. Review of Educational Research, 85(4), 740–779. https://doi.org/10.3102/0034654315577210.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Admiraal, W., Huizenga, J., Akkerman, S., & ten Dam, G. (2011). The Concept of flow in game-based learning. Computers in Human Behavior, 27, 1185–1194.

    Google Scholar 

  • Adkins, A. (2016). Employee engagement in U.S. stagnant in 2015. Retrieved from https://www.gallup.com/poll/188144/employee-engagement-stagnant-2015.aspx

  • Al-Azawi, R., Al-Faliti, F., & Al-Blushi, M. (2016). Educational gamification vs. game based learning: Comparative study. International Journal of Innovation, Management, and Technology, 7(4), 132–136.

    Google Scholar 

  • All, A., Castellar, E., & Van Looy, J. (2016). Assessing the effectiveness of digital game-based learning: Best practices. Computers and Education, 92, 90–103.

    Google Scholar 

  • Association for Talent Development (ATD). (2014). Playing to Win: Gamification and serious games in organizations. Alexandria: Association for Talent Development (ATD).

    Google Scholar 

  • Boyle, E. A., Connolly, T. M., Hainey, T., & Boyle, J. M. (2012). Engagement in digital entertainment games: A systemic review. Computers in Human Behavior, 28, 771–780.

    Google Scholar 

  • Cahill, L., & McGaugh, J. L. (1998). Mechanisms of emotional arousal and lasting declarative memory. Trends in Neurosciences, 21(7), 294–299.

    Google Scholar 

  • Casual Game White Paper. (2008). IGDA. International Game Developers Association.

  • Cӑlinoiu, N. (2019). Learning enhancement through video games. ELearning & Software for Education, 1, 68. Retrieved from https://search.ebscohost.com.proxy-bloomu.klnpa.org/login.aspx?direct=true&db=edb&AN=135939613&site=eds-live&scope=site

  • Choi, B., & Baek, Y. (2011). Exploring factors of media characteristic influencing flow in learning through virtual worlds. Computers and Education, 57(4), 2382–2394.

    Google Scholar 

  • Clark, D., Tanner-Smith, E., & Killingsworth, S. (2014). Digital games, design and learning: A systematic review and meta-analysis (executive summary). Menlo Park: SRI International.

    Google Scholar 

  • Collins, J. (2014). Student engagement in today’s learning environments: Engaging the missing catalyst of lasting instructional reform. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

    Google Scholar 

  • Connolly, T., Boyle, E., MacArthur, E., Hainey, T., & Boyle, J. (2012). A systemic literature review of empirical evidence on computer games and serious games. Computers and Education, 59, 661–686.

    Google Scholar 

  • Chang, C., & Hwang, G. (2019). Trends in digital game-based learning in the mobile era: A systemic review of journal publications from 2007 to 2016. International Journal of Mobile Learning and Organisation, 13(1), 68–90.

    Google Scholar 

  • Chang, C., Warden, C. A., Liang, C., & Lin, G. (2018). Effects of digital game-based learning on achievement, flow and overall cognitive load. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 34(4), 155–167.

    Google Scholar 

  • Cheng, M., Su, T., Huang, W., & Chen, J. (2014). An educational game for learning human immunology: What do students learn and how do they perceive. British Journal of Educational Technology, 45(5), 820–833.

    Google Scholar 

  • Current and Future Prospects for Gamification in the Education Sector. (2015, July 17). Retrieved from https://www.emerging-strategy.com/article/current-and-future-prospects-for-gamified-learning-in-the-education-sector/

  • Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1975). Play and intrinsic rewards. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 15(3), 41–63.

    Google Scholar 

  • Delacre, M., Lakens, D., & Leys, C. (2017). Why psychologists should by default use Welch’s t-test instead of student’s t-test. International Review of Social Psychology., 30(1), 92–101.

    Google Scholar 

  • Deterding, S., Sicart, M., Nacke, L., O’Hara, K., Dixon, D. (2011, May). Gamification: Toward a definition. Proceedings of the CHI 2011 Gamification Workshop, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

  • Dicheva, D. C., Agre, G., & Angelova, G. (2015). Gamification in education: A systematic mapping study. Educational Technology & Society, 18(3), 75–88.

    Google Scholar 

  • Dickey, D. M. (2005). Engaging by design: How engagement strategies in popular computer and video games can inform instructional design. Educational Technology Research and Development, 53, 67–83. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF022504866.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Dominguez, A., Saenz-de-Navarrete, J., Fernandez-Sanz, L., Pages, C., & Martinez-Herraiz, J. (2012). Gamifying learning experiences: Practical implications and outcomes. Computers and Education, 63, 380–392.

    Google Scholar 

  • Eseryel, D., Law, V., Ifenthaler, D., Ge, X., & Miller, R. (2014). An investigation of the interrelationships between motivation, engagement, and complex problem solving in game-based learning. Educational Technology & Society, 17(1), 42–53.

    Google Scholar 

  • Field, A. P. (2009). Discovering statistics using SPSS (and sex and drugs and rock ‘n’ roll) (3rd ed.). London: Sage.

    Google Scholar 

  • Fisher, S. L., & Ford, J. K. (1998). Differential effects of learner effort and goal orientation on two learning outcomes. Personnel Psychology, 51(2), 397–420. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1744-6570.1998.tb00731.x.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Gao, Y., & Mandryk, R. L. (2011). GrabApple: The design of a casual exergame. In J. Anacleto, et al. (Eds.), ICEC 2011, LNCS 6972 (pp. 35–46). Amsterdam: IFIP International Federation for Information Processing.

    Google Scholar 

  • Garris, R., Ahlers, R., & Driskell, J. E. (2002). Games, motivation, and learning: A research and practice model. Simulation & Gaming, 33, 441–467. https://doi.org/10.1177/1046878102238607.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Gee, J. P. (2007). Learning and games. In K. Salen (Ed.), The ecology of games: Connecting youth, games, and learning (pp. 21–40). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Geithner, S., & Menzel, D. (2016). Effectiveness of learning through experience and reflection in a project management simulation. Simulation and Gaming, 47(2), 228–256.

    Google Scholar 

  • Gibson, J. T. (2009). Discussion approach to instruction. In C. M. Reigeluth & A. A. Carr-Chellman (Eds.), Instructional-design theories and models, Building a common knowledge base (Vol. 3, pp. 99–116). New York: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Greenfield, P. M. (2010). Video games revisited. In R. van Eck (Ed.), Gaming and cognition: Theories and practice from the learning sciences (pp. 1–21). Hershey, PA: IGI Global.

    Google Scholar 

  • Guillen-Nieto, V., & Aleson-Carbonell, M. (2012). Serious games and learning effectiveness: The case of It’s a Deal! Computers and Education, 58, 435–448.

    Google Scholar 

  • Habgood, M., & Ainsworth, S. (2011). Motivating children to learn effectively: Exploring the value of intrinsic integration in educational games. The Journal of the Learning Sciences, 20(2), 169–206. Retrieved April 9, 2020, from https://www.jstor.org/stable/41305911.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hamann, S. (2001). Cognitive and neural mechanisms of emotional memory. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 5(9), 394–400.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hamarai, J., Shernoff, D., Rowe, E., Coller, B., Asbell-Clarke, J., & Edwards, T. (2016). Challenging games help students learn: An empirical study on engagement, flow and immersion in game-based learning. Computers in Human Behavior, 54, 170–179.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hamari, J., Koivisto, J., & Sarsa, H. (2014). Does gamification work? A literature review of empirical studies on gamification. In proceedings of the 47th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, Hawaii, USA, January 6–9, 2014.

  • Hawlitschek, A., & Joeckel, S. (2017). Increasing the effectiveness of digital educational games: The effects of a learning instructional on students’ learning, motivation, and cognitive load. Computer in Human Behavior, 72, 79–86.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hoffman, B., & Nadelson, L. (2010). Motivational engagement and video gaming: A mixed methods study. Educational Technology Research and Development, 58(3), 245–270.

    Google Scholar 

  • Johnson, M. R. (2019). Casual games before casual games: Historicizing paper puzzle games in an era of digital play. Games and Culture, 14(2), 119–138.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kapp, K. M. (2012). The gamification of learning and instruction: Game-based methods and strategies for training and education. San Francisco, CA: Pfieffer.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ke, F. (2016). Designing and integrating purposeful learning in game play: a systemic review. Educational Technology and Research Development, 64, 219–244.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kiili, K. (2004). Digital game-based learning: Towards an experiential gaming model. Internet and Higher Education, 8, 13–24.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kiili, K., de Freitas, S., Arnab, S., & Lainema, T. (2012). The design principles for flow experience in educational games. Procedia Computer Science, 15, 78–91. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.procs.2012.10.060.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Loreto, I. D., & Gouaich, A. (2010) Social Casual Games Success is not so Casual. RR-10017, pp. 001–011.

  • Malone, T. W. (1981). Toward a theory of intrinsically motivating instruction. Cognitive Science., 5(4), 333–369.

    Google Scholar 

  • Malone, T. W., & Lepper, M. R. (1987). Making learning fun: A taxonomy of intrinsic motivations for learning, in aptitude, learning and instruction: III. In R. E. Snow & M. J. Farr (Eds.), Conative and affective process analyses (pp. 223–253). Hilsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

    Google Scholar 

  • Mayer, R., & Fiorella, L. (2014). Principles for reducing extraneous processing in multimedia learning: Coherence, signaling, redundancy, spatial contiguity, and temporal contiguity principles. In R. E. Mayer (Ed.), The Cambridge handbook of multimedia learning (2nd ed., pp. 279–315). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Noe, R. A. (1986). Trainee attributes and attitudes: Neglected influences on training effectiveness. Academy of Management Review, 11, 736–749.

    Google Scholar 

  • Papastergiou, M. (2009). Digital game-based learning in high school computer science education: Impact on educational effectiveness and student motivation. Computers and Education, 52, 1–12.

    Google Scholar 

  • Pavlas, D., Bedwell, W., Wooten II, S., Heyne, K., & Salas, E. (2009). Investigating the attributes in serious games that contribute to learning. In Proceedings of the 53rd Annual Meeting of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society. San Antonio, TX.

  • Perryer, C., Celestine, N. A., Scott-Ladd, B., & Leighton, C. (2016). Enhancing workplace motivation through gamification: Transferrable lessons from pedagogy. The international Journal of Management Education, 14, 327–335.

    Google Scholar 

  • Plass, J., Homer, B., & Kinzer, C. (2015). Foundations of game-based learning. Educational Psychologist, 50(4), 258–283.

    Google Scholar 

  • Possler, D., Kümpel, A. S., & Unkel, J. (2019). Entertainment motivations and gaming-specific gratifications as antecedents of digital game enjoyment and appreciation. Psychology of Popular Media Culture. https://doi.org/10.1037/ppm0000248.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Proske, A., Roscoe, R., & McNamara, D. (2014). Game-based practice versus traditional practice in computer-based writing strategy training: Effects on motivation and achievement. Educational Technology Research and Development, 62, 481–505.

    Google Scholar 

  • Proulx, J.-N., Romero, M., & Arnab, S. (2017). Learning mechanics and game mechanics under the perspective of self-determination theory to foster motivation in digital game based learning. Simulation & Gaming, 48(1), 81–97. https://doi.org/10.1177/1046878116674399.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Rebetez, C., & Betrancourt, M. (2007). Video game research in cognitive and educational sciences. CogniŃie, Creier, Comportament/Cognition, Brain Behaviour. Romanian Association for Cognitive Science, 11(1), 131–142.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ryan, R., & Deci, E. (2000). Intrinsic and extrinsic motivations: Classic definitions and new directions. Contemporary Educational Psychology., 25, 54–67.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ryan, R., Rigby, C., & Przybylski, A. (2006). The motivational pull of video games: A self determination theory approach. Motivation and Emotion., 30(4), 344–360.

    Google Scholar 

  • Serious game market size to grow at 16.38% CAGR to 2020 in terms of value say global serious games research reports focusing on state of play, challenges and industry prospects. (2015, September 18). Retrieved from https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/serious-game-market-size-to-grow-at-1638-cagr-to-2020-in-terms-of-value-say-global-serious-games-research-reports-focusing-on-state-of-play-challenges-and-industry-prospects-528208111.html

  • Sitzmann, T., Brown, K., Ely, K., Kraiger, K., & Wisher, R. (2009). A cyclical model of motivational constructs in web-based courses. Military Psychology, 21(4), 534.

    Google Scholar 

  • Skinner, E., & Belmont, M. (1993). Motivation in the classroom: Reciprocal effects of teacher behavior and student engagement across the school year. Journal of Educational Psychology, 85, 571–581. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-0663.85.4.571.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Stewart, J., Bleumers, L., Van Looy, J., Mari€en, I., All, A., Schurmans, D., et al. (2013). In the potential of digital games for empowerment and social inclusion of groups at risk of social and economic exclusion: Evidence and opportunity for policy. Institute for Prospective and Technological Studies, Joint Research Centre.

  • Stolovitch, H. D., & Thiagarajan, S. (1980). Frame games. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Educational Technology Publications.

    Google Scholar 

  • Sorebo, O., & Haehre, R. (2012). Investigating students’ perceived discipline relevance subsequent to playing educational computer games: A personal interest and self-determination theory approach. Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, 56(4), 345–362.

    Google Scholar 

  • Tüzün, H., Barab, S. A., & Thomas, M. K. (2019). Reconsidering the motivation of learners in educational computer game contexts. Turkish Journal of Education, 8(2), 129–159. https://doi.org/10.19128/turje.546283.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Westera, W. (2019). Why and how serious games can become far more effective: Accommodating productive learning experiences, learner motivation and the monitoring of learning gains. Educational Technology & Society, (1), 59. Retrieved from https://search.ebscohost.com.proxy-bloomu.klnpa.org/login.aspx?direct=true&db=edsgao&AN=edsgcl.584496379&site=eds-live&scope=site

  • Whitton, N. (2011). Encouraging engagement in game-based learning. International Journal of Game-Based Learning, 1, 75–84. https://doi.org/10.4018/ijgbl.2011010106.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Wouters, P., van Nimwegen, C., van Oostendorp, H., & van der Spek, E. D. (2013). A meta-analysis of the cognitive and motivational effects of serious games. Journal of Educational Psychology. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0031311.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Wouters, P., van der Spek, E., & van Oostendorp, H. (2011). Measuring learning in serious games: a case study with structural assessment. Educational Technology and Research Development., 59, 741–763.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Funding

This research was made possible by a grant from the Axonify Corporation. The authors would like to thank Axonify for providing access to the data contained in the platform.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Karl M. Kapp.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of interest

Karl Kapp has received research grants from Axonify to underwrite the cost of this research. Deltcho Valtchanov has, in the past, been a paid consultant for Axonify. He is not receiving any funding for this project.

Additional information

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Kapp, K.M., Valtchanov, D. & Pastore, R. Enhancing motivation in workplace training with casual games: a twelve month field study of retail employees. Education Tech Research Dev 68, 2263–2284 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11423-020-09769-2

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11423-020-09769-2

Keywords

Navigation