The Effects of Human Factors on the Use of Avatars in Game-Based Learning: Customization vs. Non-Customization

Zhi Hong Chen*, Han De Lu, Ching Hu Lu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


The customization of avatars can help students immerse themselves in game-based learning. However, different individuals have distinct characteristics, especially game experience (GE) and cognitive styles, which may lead to different preferences for the customization of avatars. Thus, this study aims to investigate how GE and cognitive styles affect students’ reactions toward customizable avatars. Two studies, quantitative and qualitative, were conducted for system evaluation. A total of 82 students participated in Study One, where they interacted with both a customizable avatar and an ordinary avatar. The findings from Study One indicated that the students using the customizable version experienced a stronger sense of presence and flow experience than those who used the ordinary version. Regarding GE, the low GE students showed an enhanced sense of presence whereas the high GE students expressed deeper engagement. Regarding cognitive styles, Pask’s Holism/Serialism was adopted. Holists experienced an enhanced feeling of presence whereas Serialists showed deeper engagement. On the other hand, Study Two was conducted with a qualitative approach, where 11 students were further interviewed. The results showed that GE considerably affected their reactions, in terms of favored preferences and engagement, whereas cognitive styles did not have great effects. Based on the findings, a design framework was proposed for the development of personalized game-based learning systems in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)384-394
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Human-Computer Interaction
Issue number4-5
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Mar 16

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Science Applications


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