The influence of gamification and flipped learning on learning achievement and engagement of adult business education programmes under the COVID-19 Pandemic

Lui Kwan NG

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Theses


The pedagogical evolution started with the quest for the continuity of educational programmes via pedagogical re-design to technology-led pedagogical transformation. This research project involved three studies with a total of 212 student participants (aged 24-46, with a mean of 34, 71% female) for 32 weeks from November 2021 to July 2022. The researcher witnessed the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the sustainability of educational programmes for branding and marking in one of the higher education institutes (HEIs) in tier one city of Eastern China. The pandemic accelerated the adoption of various innovative techno-pedagogies, in which gamification and flipped classrooms were two of the most found options in practice.

Study One first sought to understand the impacts of the pandemic on the continuity of educational programmes and immediate possible pedagogical solutions with special attention to learning engagement and performance (N = 68, November 2021 to January 2022) with three pedagogical approaches (gamified flipped classroom, GFC; gamified traditional classroom, GTC and non-gamified flipped classroom, NFC). Results showed that GFC promoted learning engagement, and the GTC enhanced learning performance. The heavy implementations of the COVID-19 confinement and lockdown policies that happened from February to April 2022 impacted the sustainability of educational programmes. HEIs immediately did the pedagogical re-design for fully online instruction to overcome the challenge. Hence, the second study (N = 68) investigated the efficacy of gamification and flipped classroom approaches in a fully online instruction environment. Although the non-gamified online flipped classroom showed the highest levels of learning engagement and performance, the overall levels of learning engagement and learning performance dropped. Similar mixed and contradictory results found between Studies One and Two were reported in other literature. As HEIs needed to have innovative pedagogical solutions to maintain quality education during the pandemic, the third study (N = 76, May to July 2022) did the research in practice with an action research approach. The results showed that online pedagogies included gamification in flipped classrooms, promoting learning engagement and sustained learning performance.

With the three studies, this research project deepened the understanding of using techno-pedagogies in higher education, namely gamification and flipped classroom approaches. Grounded on self-determination theory (SDT), Study One addressed the adoption of these techno-pedagogies during the early stage of the COVID-19 pandemic and focused on the continuity of educational programmes. Study Two explored the re-design and further application of these two techno-pedagogies in a fully online instruction environment based on SDT and adult learning principles. Study Three consolidated the 386 quotes from two action research cycles to propose a practical framework incorporated with SDT and adult learning principles to enable further technology-led pedagogical advancement for the current and postCOVID-19 practice of HEIs.

The main contribution of the research project is helping teachers to have a deep thought by re-visiting the classical motivation theory (i.e., SDT) and adult learning principles (i.e., adult learning principles), with the proposal of a practical framework. The practical framework included flexibility, all-in-inclusive, coopetitive learning, technical support, and sustainable learning (F.A.C.T.S.). The pedagogical evolution will continue as more advanced technologies emerge, and a practical framework can help HEIs face such everchanging online and face-to-face learning environments. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Education
Awarding Institution
  • The Education University of Hong Kong
  • LO, Chung Kwan 盧頌鈞, Supervisor
  • LAI, Yiu Chi 黎耀志, Supervisor
  • CHENG, Kwok Shing 鄭國城, Supervisor
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Theses and Dissertations
  • Thesis (Ed.D.)--The Education University of Hong Kong, 2023.


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