Game penalties decrease learning and interest

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

1 Scopus citations


Penalties are frequently used in games and rarely in tutors, creating a dilemma for designers seeking to combine games and tutors to maximize fun and learning. On the one hand, penalties can be frustrating and waste instructional time, on the other, they may increase excitement and prevent gaming. This study tested the effects of penalties on learning and interest. In a randomized, controlled experiment with a two-group, between subjects design, 100 University students played two versions of a game with an embedded tutor, with and without penalties that forced students to replay parts of the game. Results showed that penalties decreased learning and interest. These findings suggest a minimize penalties principle for designing cognitive games.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationArtificial Intelligence in Education - 16th International Conference, AIED 2013, Proceedings
PublisherSpringer Verlag
Number of pages4
ISBN (Print)9783642391118
StatePublished - 2013
Event16th International Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Education, AIED 2013 - Memphis, TN, United States
Duration: Jul 9 2013Jul 13 2013

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
Volume7926 LNAI
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


Other16th International Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Education, AIED 2013
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityMemphis, TN


  • Educational games
  • Intelligent tutoring
  • Penalties
  • Serious games

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Computer Science(all)


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