Effects of Using Avatars in a Game-Based Learning Environment

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeConference contributionScientificpeer-review


Peer reviewing is an approach often used in digital (higher) education as it represents a possibility to provide
feedback to large student groups. However, especially in digital learning contexts, students feel being disconnected from the
anonymous group of learners, leading to low-quality feedback. When feedback is open, and counterparts are known, this
knowledge can lead to biases when commenting on each other’s work. We developed a game-based learning environment
called ‘The Great Library’ that we used to analyse the effect of avatars as game element to limit the effects of both fully
anonymous and fully open feedback. Students and teachers using the new game-based learning environment were asked to
provide feedback on their experiences with the learning environment and the use of avatars. The responses were compared
to the same course provided without game elements. The qualitative data analysis reveals that the introduction of avatars
still lacks acceptance on the side of the students, yet that they feel a sense of community in the GBL. Open and direct
feedback is still used and appreciated by the students. The anonymity of the peer reviews resulting from the use of the
avatars represents a challenge for the student-teacher interaction. The environment and set-up of the course in a whole still
needs some adjustment in order to fully support the learning process of the students.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 13th International Conference on Game Based Learning, ECGBL 2019
Subtitle of host publicationECGBL 2019
EditorsLars Elbaek, Gunver Majgaard, Andrea Valente, Saifuddin Khalid
Place of PublicationUnited Kingdom
PublisherAcademic Conferences
Number of pages1
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-912764-37-2
ISBN (Print)978-1-912764-38-9
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Event13th European Conference on Games Based Learning, ECGBL 2019 - University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark
Duration: 3 Oct 20194 Oct 2019


Conference13th European Conference on Games Based Learning, ECGBL 2019


  • game-based learning
  • avatar
  • gamification
  • peer feedback
  • peer review
  • Game-based learning
  • Peer feedback
  • Peer review
  • Gamification
  • Avatar

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