How can Gamification Improve MOOC Student Engagement?

Mohammad Khalil, Martin Ebner, Wilfried Admiraal

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

15 Citations (Scopus)
357 Downloads (Pure)


Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) require students’ motivation either intrinsically or extrinsically to complete any of its courses. Even though MOOCs enjoy great popularity and bring many benefits to the educational community, some concerns arise with MOOC advancement. In fact, MOOCs are affected by low completion rate and face issues with respect to interactivity and student engagement along MOOC duration, which may convert student excitement to boredom and then drop out at any stage. A key result of research in the past couple of years has proved that students’ engagement in MOOCs is strongly related to their activities online. These activities are related to the interaction between student and logging in the MOOC, reading and writing in the MOOC discussion forum, watching videos and doing quizzes. In this research paper, we present our research in deploying a gamification mechanic in MOOCs to increase student engagement. The gamification approach relies on weekly feedback to drive student intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Following learning analytics on students’ data from a MOOC offered in 2014, 2015, and 2016, the outcome of this approach showed an obvious increase in students’ activity and engagement in discussion forums, login frequency and quiz trials. The active students’ cohort allotment has increased in comparison with previous versions of the same MOOC as well as the completion rate has incremented up to 26% of the total number of participants.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication11th European Conference on Game Based Learning (ECGBL 2017)
EditorsM. Pivec, J. Grundler
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherCurran Associates, Inc.
Number of pages10
ISBN (Print)978-1-5108-5044-6
Publication statusPublished - 4 Oct 2017
Event11th European Conference on Games Based Learning, ECGBL 2017 - Graz, Austria
Duration: 5 Oct 20176 Oct 2017


Conference11th European Conference on Games Based Learning, ECGBL 2017


  • gamification
  • massive open online courses (MOOCs)
  • learning analytics
  • motivation
  • retention
  • dropout


Dive into the research topics of 'How can Gamification Improve MOOC Student Engagement?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this