Authoring Game-Based Programming Challenges to Improve Students’ Motivation

  • José Carlos PaivaEmail author
  • José Paulo Leal
  • Ricardo Queirós
Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing book series (AISC, volume 916)


One of the great challenges in programming education is to keep students motivated while working on their programming assignments. Of the techniques proposed in the literature to engage students, gamification is arguably the most widely spread and effective method. Nevertheless, gamification is not a panacea and can be harmful to students. Challenges comprising intrinsic motivators of games, such as graphical feedback and game-thinking, are more prone to have longterm positive effects on students, but those are typically complex to create or adapt to slightly distinct contexts. This paper presents Asura, a game-based programming assessment environment providing means to minimize the hurdle of building game challenges. These challenges invite the student to code a Software Agent to solve a certain problem, in a way that can defeat every opponent. Moreover, the experiment conducted to assess the difficulty of authoring Asura challenges is described.


Games Gamification Authoring Learning Programming Competitive Graphical feedback 



This work is partially funded by the ERDF – European Regional Development Fund – through the COMPETE 2020 Programme within project POCI-01-0145-FEDER-006961, and by National Funds through the FCT – Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology) – as part of project UID/EEA/50014/2013.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • José Carlos Paiva
    • 1
    Email author
  • José Paulo Leal
    • 2
  • Ricardo Queirós
    • 2
  1. 1.CRACS & INESC-Porto LA, Faculty of SciencesUniversity of PortoPortoPortugal
  2. 2.CRACS & INESC-Porto LA & ESMAD/IPPPortoPortugal

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