From top to bottom: How positions on different types of leaderboard may affect fully online student learning performance, intrinsic motivation, and course engagement

Shurui Tiffany BAI, Khe Foon HEW, Michael SAILER, Chengyuan JIA

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Leaderboards, a key topic in the gamification literature, are often used to enhance student engagement and motivation through social comparison. Previous research has examined the overall effects of leaderboard versus a no leaderboard condition but paid less attention to how positions on different types of leaderboard may affect students' learning performance, intrinsic motivation, and course engagement. In the two studies, we exposed 50 postgraduate students from two fully online courses to two types of leaderboard (absolute and relative) and measured their learning performance, course engagement, intrinsic motivation, and perceptions. Results suggest that the absolute leaderboard helps intensify students’ sense of comparison and competitiveness more than the relative leaderboard. In the absolute leaderboard class, students at different positions showed similar levels of learning performance and course engagement, but a higher position was associated with higher intrinsic motivation. Conversely, in the relative leaderboard class, students ranked in the top third tended to display better learning performance than their peers in the lower two thirds did. Students who ranked in different positions showed similar levels of course engagement and intrinsic motivation for learning. Qualitative analyses based on a survey suggested that the students ranked in the bottom third preferred anonymous (vs public) comparison on an absolute leaderboard but favoured public (vs anonymous) comparison on a relative leaderboard. Most students reported positive attitude toward the use of leaderboards for sustaining comparison and competitiveness. Copyright © 2021 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104297
JournalComputers & Education
Volume173
Early online dateAug 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021

Citation

Bai, S., Hew, K. F., Sailer, M., & Jia, C. (2021). From top to bottom: How positions on different types of leaderboard may affect fully online student learning performance, intrinsic motivation, and course engagement. Computers & Education, 173. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2021.104297

Keywords

  • Leaderboards
  • Positions
  • Gamification
  • Online learning

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