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This research examines the use of gamification to develop an assessment tool, to assess students’ learning of a first year computer science module. The students’ undertaking of the first semester Programming and Algorithms module in 2015 were assessed on their knowledge of the programming language Python. The incorporation of gamification when assessing students can have various potential benefits. The research aims to identify these benefits and issues. Assessments and games have almost opposite effects on opinions on people, as games are usually expected to have an entertainment value but this is not the case for assessments. The research examines if the game elements in the assessment tool causes the students to see this tool differently. A variety of experiments were carried out and the organisation of these experiments were vital to the success of the project. The first assessment was to test students through a written test. The findings of this experiment were used in order to develop a game to assess the students. Interviews with computer programming lecturers were conducted before the game was developed (to derive requirements). A game was developed and used to assess the students learning. The game is accessible via a website, thus platform agnostic, enabling feasibility in partaking of this experiment. The opinions of the students in relation to the game were also gathered immediately after the students had completed the game. The second experiment stage then took place to assess the students with a written test that had the same questions as the written test before the students played the game. Interviews with computer programming lecturers were conducted after all other experiments were completed (to evaluate the outcomes). The game was able to assess students’ learning and obtain vast amount of information. All students indicated they liked the game and enjoyed it which also means that the students enjoyed the assessment process. Several beneficial elements for incorporating gamification were identified. Such as improvement of students’ knowledge which was determined through the comparison of the written test performance.
Gebremichael, D. (2016) An Evaluation of Gamification to Assess Students’ Learning on Their Understanding of First Year Computer Science Programming Module. A dissertation submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of Dublin Institute of Technology for the degree of M.Sc. in Computing, Advanced Software Development, 2016