Persistence in a Game-Based Learning Environment: The Case of Elementary School Students Learning Computational Thinking

Rotem Israel-Fishelson, Arnon Hershkovitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Persistence has proven to be a great challenge in online learning environments. Gaming and interactivity have been suggested as essential features in reducing dropout and increasing persistence in online learning. Yet in interactive game-based learning environments, persistence in moving forward in the game may come at the expense of investing in each of the game’s levels. That is, the motivation to complete the game may have a deleterious effect on learning at specific levels and hence on learning from the game in general. Therefore, we have chosen to focus on microlevel persistence (i.e., persistence during each component of the learning process). We study microlevel persistence in the context of acquiring computational thinking—the thought process of solving problems through abstraction—which is a key component of the new literacies needed for tomorrow’s citizens. In this study, we analyze data collected from an online, game-based learning environment (CodeMonkey™). The data document the activity of first to sixth graders (N = 2,040). Overall, we find that persistence is positively associated with difficulty and that the most determined learners were highly persistent across topics in achieving the best solution.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)891-918
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of Educational Computing Research
Volume58
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2020

Keywords

  • computational thinking
  • computer-aided instruction
  • elementary school
  • game-based learning
  • learning analytics
  • log analysis
  • persistence

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