The impact of gamification on the feeling of belonging among members of an online learning community

Grant, Matthew (2020) The impact of gamification on the feeling of belonging among members of an online learning community. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Informal online learning communities exist on some of the world’s most popular websites like Facebook and Reddit. Gamification, the use of game elements in a non-game setting (Deterdings, Dixon, Khaled, & Nacke, 2011), is also present on these two popular websites. This thesis explored how members of an online learning community felt about gamification and if it had any impact on their feelings of belonging. This thesis employed a qualitative case study methodology to explore the response of participants in two focus groups and in three interviews to gamification in informal online learning communities on Reddit. The data were coded using the method from Miles, Huberman, and Saldana (2013) and analysed using Saturate App. The coding process developed several minor themes and the major theme, “Cognizant of karma”, which illustrated that karma was only a minor motivator to participants. Participants felt receiving “downvotes” carried a sense of “judgment”, but also felt downvotes presented a learning opportunity that reinforced community boundaries. This data may suggest that participants have internalized extrinsic motivation (Gagné, Deci, Ryan, 2013) and that internalization and gamification may co-exist due to the importance both idea place on creating shared value. If this internalization could be generalized, it could show that gamification and online learning communities can coexist in a way that allows members to retain their sense of belonging.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Item ID: 15070
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (pages 103-109).
Keywords: Online Learning Community, Community of Practice, Gamification, Reddit, Belonging
Department(s): Education, Faculty of
Date: September 2020
Date Type: Submission
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Reddit (Firm); Gamification--Psychological aspects; Belonging (Social psychology)--Electronic discussion groups.

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