The effects of game strategy and preference-matching on flow experience and programming performance in game-based learning

Li Chun Wang, Ming Puu Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

116 Citations (Scopus)


Learning to program is difficult for novices, even for those undergraduates who have majored in computer science. The study described in this paper has investigated the effects of game strategy and preference-matching on novice learners' flow experience and performance in learning to program using an experiential gaming activity. One hundred and fifteen novices participated in the experimental activity. Two types of game strategy were employed: the matching-challenging strategy and the challenging strategy. Participants were categorized into one or other of the two groups based on individual preferences. The results of the study showed that: (1) the challenging group had higher flow experiences than the matching-challenging group; (2) participants' performance was enhanced with the use of the matching strategy; and (3) a compensation effect existed among the preference-mismatched learners who performed better in the challenging game-play.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-52
Number of pages14
JournalInnovations in Education and Teaching International
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Feb 1



  • Experiential learning
  • Game-based learning
  • Programming

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

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