Brain points: A growth mindset incentive structure boosts persistence in an educational game

Eleanor O'Rourke, Kyla Haimovitz, Christy Ballweber, Carol S. Dweck, Zoran Popovíc

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

59 Scopus citations

Abstract

There is great interest in leveraging video games to improve student engagement and motivation. However, educational games are not uniformly effective, and little is known about how in-game rewards affect children's learning-related behavior. In this work, we argue that educational games can be improved by fundamentally changing their incentive structures to promote the growth mindset, or the belief that intelligence is malleable. We present "brain points," a system that encourages the development of growth mindset behaviors by directly incentivizing effort, use of strategy, and incremental progress. Through a study of 15,000 children, we show that the "brain points" system encourages more lowperforming students to persist in the educational game Refraction when compared to a control, and increases overall time played, strategy use, and perseverance after challenge. We believe that this growth mindset incentive structure has great potential in many educational environments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCHI 2014
Subtitle of host publicationOne of a CHInd - Conference Proceedings, 32nd Annual ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Pages3339-3348
Number of pages10
ISBN (Print)9781450324731
DOIs
StatePublished - 2014
Event32nd Annual ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2014 - Toronto, ON, Canada
Duration: Apr 26 2014May 1 2014

Publication series

NameConference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings

Other

Other32nd Annual ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2014
CountryCanada
CityToronto, ON
Period4/26/145/1/14

Keywords

  • Educational games
  • Growth mindset
  • Incentive structures

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design

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