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Gamification Increases Scores of Underperforming Students in Cell Biology

, Department of Biological Sciences, SUNY Plattsburgh, United States ; , Department of Psychology, SUNY Plattsburgh, United States ; , School of Biological Sciences, Washington State University, United States

EdMedia + Innovate Learning, in Montreal, Quebec, Canada ISBN 978-1-939797-16-2 Publisher: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE), Waynesville, NC


In this study students in an undergraduate cell biology class were offered the opportunity to reinforce information learned in lecture and from a textbook through the use of a computer game that tested their knowledge of signal transduction pathways. Their performance on a question based on the game was compared to a similar question based on concepts presented only in class and in the textbook. The class as a whole performed significantly better (27.2%) on the game question; when the scores were divided between higher performing students and lower performing students, the lower performing students showed greater gains (46.5%) than the higher performing students (10.7%). Correlation between the structure of the game and research into practice based learning suggest multiple possibilities for the gains reported. Subjective responses about the game were overwhelmingly positive, showing that the game was both effective and enjoyable.


Slish, D., Nash, M. & Premo, J. (2015). Gamification Increases Scores of Underperforming Students in Cell Biology. In S. Carliner, C. Fulford & N. Ostashewski (Eds.), Proceedings of EdMedia 2015--World Conference on Educational Media and Technology (pp. 870-876). Montreal, Quebec, Canada: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE). Retrieved March 24, 2019 from .


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