An Eye-Tracking Study of GBL Motivators and Learner Behavior




Motivators, Eye-tracking, Total fixations duration, Multiplication, Elementary, school, Student assessment


Despite the significant positive characteristics game-based learning offers to pupil learning and assessment, preserving pupils’ interest and keeping them engaged in an educational game is still a challenge. To this end, the study and implementation of motivation mechanisms in educational games are considered crucial. Typical examples of motivators in electronic games include points (coins), avatar icons, visualization of achievement levels, NPCs (non-player characters) giving helpful information to users, children-friendly graphics and sound effects, comparison with classmates, and leaderboards. In this paper, we conduct a preliminary study of the effectiveness of these GBL motivators in MG, an educational game for practicing and assessing multiplication skills. The study combined eye-tracking with a short, semi-structured interview session with the four elementary school students that took part in the experiment. Eye-tracking provides detailed monitoring and visualization of gaze behavior in the form of fixation (point and duration of visual focus) and saccade sequences. Given that the way users allocate their visual focus is spontaneous, the data collected and analyzed by eye-tracking are unbiased and give a new spectrum of insight into how users perceive a visual stimulus. In this study, we investigate how users visually respond to the implemented motivators and their visual behavior when deciding between two or more available answers and when given feedback after a wrong answer. The paper discusses useful eye-tracking metrics, provides adequate visualizations of the main findings, and concludes with the ways eye-tracking can help education scientists and practitioners gain a better understanding of the behavior of users of GBL applications and the motivation mechanisms they support.