Brain points: A deeper look at a growth mindset incentive structure for an educational game

Eleanor O'Rourke, Erin Peach, Carol S. Dweck, Zoran Popović

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

Student retention is a central challenge in systems for learning at scale. It has been argued that educational video games could improve student retention by providing engaging experiences and informing the design of other online learning environments. However, educational games are not uniformly effective. Our recent research shows that player retention can be increased by using a brain points incentive structure that rewards behaviors associated with growth mindset, or the belief that intelligence can grow. In this paper, we expand on our prior work by providing new insights into how growth mindset behaviors can be effectively promoted in the educational game Refraction. We present results from an online study of 25,000 children who were exposed to five different versions of the brain points intervention. We find that growth mindset animations cause a large number of players to quit, while brain points encourage persistence. Most importantly, we find that awarding brain points randomly is ineffective; the incentive structure is successful specifically because it rewards desirable growth mindset behaviors. These findings have important implications that can support the future generalization of the brain points intervention to new educational contexts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationL@S 2016 - Proceedings of the 3rd 2016 ACM Conference on Learning at Scale
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery, Inc
Pages41-50
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781450337267
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 25 2016
Event3rd Annual ACM Conference on Learning at Scale, L@S 2016 - Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Duration: Apr 25 2016Apr 26 2016

Publication series

NameL@S 2016 - Proceedings of the 3rd 2016 ACM Conference on Learning at Scale

Other

Other3rd Annual ACM Conference on Learning at Scale, L@S 2016
CountryUnited Kingdom
CityEdinburgh
Period4/25/164/26/16

Keywords

  • Educational games
  • Growth mindset
  • Incentive structures

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Software
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Networks and Communications

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