Motivation: What Is It and How Do We Know If It’s Happening?

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The concepts of gamification and motivation are often intertwined in the discussion of serious games applications. There is a common expectation that learning will be more fun, more engaging, and more motivational purely by virtue of its being “gamified.” But what are we really looking for when we seek to motivate players – Is it a behavior? An experience? A feeling? And how can we tell if it’s happening? This session addresses the science and art of motivation, looking at models from the cognitive and social sciences, instructional systems design, and commercial video game development. I’ll discuss a cluster of interconnected constructs including “motivation,” “engagement,” “satisfaction,” “flow,” “immersion,” and “presence.” And I’ll look at the available methods and instruments for measuring these constructs, from post-game assessment to in-game biometrics capture.