Evaluation of a gamification approach for older people in e-learning
Carolin Gellner
Ilona Buchem
erschienen in:
16th International Technology, Education and Development Conference, 2022

Gamification research has mainly focused on younger populations, although it also can improve older people's motivation to learn. However, gamification needs to be integrated in a meaningful and carefully selected way for this target group. In the ePA-Coach project, we address this issue and develop a senior-friendly gamification approach for an e-learning application to enhance seniors' motivation. As a first step, we conceptualized a gamification base model for senior learners in e-learning, using an extensive literature review, the Octalysis framework, and a survey with experts from the project partner organizations. The gamification base model comprises the four Octalysis core drives Epic Meaning & Calling, Development & Accomplishment, Social Influence & Relatedness, and Empowerment of Creativity & Feedback. The eight gamification techniques, i.e. narrative, progress view, levels, puzzles & quizzes, tasks, instant feedback, unlock milestones, and mentorship are distributed among these four core drives. In the next step, we examined the developed gamification approach with the target group, and in this paper, we describe the results of this investigation. The quantitative study was conducted with an online questionnaire in May 2021 distributed via a database of test persons, websites, and multipliers. The sample included 41 senior citizens aged 66 to 93 years. Following five research questions, the survey asked about the seniors' previous experience with digital games and learning applications. Second, the perceived motivation of all eight Octalysis core drives was examined with the help of items adapted from the Intrinsic Motivation Inventory (IMI). In its central part, the questionnaire asked the seniors to assess the perceived motivation of the eight gamification techniques of the base model with the help of items adapted from IMI. Finally, the survey examined players types following the User Hexad Scale as additional aspects of a senior-friendly gamification approach. The results show that seniors have only little previous experience with digital games and learning applications. The core drives Development & Accomplishment and Empowerment of Creativity & Feedback from the Octalysis framework received highest ratings from participating seniors. Instant Feedback, Tasks, and Unlock Milestones reached the highest values as gamification techniques. In addition, the player types Free Spirit and Socialiser received highest ratings. Moreover, significant correlations were identified between the ratings of core drives, gamification techniques, and player types. The study also found significant differences between gender, core drives and gamification techniques. The paper describes these results in more detail and ends with conclusions and next steps in research and development in the ePA-Coach project as well as recommendations for further research.