Exploring students' behaviors in a competition-driven educational game

Zhi Hong Chen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Educational mini-games, one of the applications of game-based learning, have been widely used to benefit student learning. However, few studies have examined the influence of competition-driven educational games on students' behaviors, which might offer insights into how to develop well-designed educational games. Thus, this study discusses a Pet-Master system, as an example of a competition-driven educational game, in an investigation of students' behaviors through both event-based and time-based analysis. Two empirical studies were conducted using the two types of analysis. The results of the event-based analysis indicated that the behaviors can be categorized into two parts: competition-driven and learning cycles. Evidence from the time-based analysis showed that the two behavior cycles appeared in an alternating way with a lower transition frequency. Based on the results we develop a design framework for competition-driven educational games, which illustrates the relationship among the social, learning, and gameplay dimensions. The framework and its application might serve to optimize learning outcomes and influence the way games are designed in order to maximize educational benefits in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)68-74
Number of pages7
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Jun
Externally publishedYes


  • Competition
  • Digital games
  • Learning behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • General Psychology


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