Toward Understanding the Impacts of Role Model Avatars on Engagement in Computer Science Learning
Author(s)Kao, Dominic; Harrell Jr, Douglas Alan
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Studies show that using role models can boost academic performance of learners (Lockwood, 2006; Marx & Roman, 2002). In this paper, we describe an experiment (N=1067) exploring the impacts of varying types of avatar on engagement in an educational game. The different conditions include role models and (c) the non-role model case of simple geometric shapes (for baseline comparison). Using the Game Experience Questionnaire (GEQ) (IJsselsteijn, Kort, Poels, Jurgelionis, & Bellotti, 2007), we find that female participants using role model case (scientist avatars) had significantly higher engagement than female participants using non-scientist or shape avatars. This result suggests that STEM role model avatars have the potential to enhance engagement in educational games, which could in turn influence learning outcomes (Blumenfeld, Kempler, & Krajcik, 2005).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Comparative Media Studies; Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
2016 American Educational Research Association Conference
American Educational Research Association
Kao, Dominic and D. Fox Harrell. "Toward Understanding the Impacts of Role Model Avatars on Engagement in Computer Science Learning." 2016 2016 American Educational Research Association Conference, 8-12 April, 2016, Washington, DC, American Educational Resource Association, 2016.
Author's final manuscript