The Future of Education

Edition 14

Accepted Abstracts

Fostering Critical Thinking by a Gamification Approach

Christian Dictus, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (Germany)

Rüdiger Tiemann, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (Germany)


The advancing digitization of all areas of society requires students to master a new set of skills – the 21st century skills - which enables them to understand actual problems and participate on scientific and social discourses. Two of these skills are critical thinking and problem solving [1]. Although the requirement to foster these skills is already known, it still lacks adequate tools to do so. To fill a part of this gap, we develop a modern, game-oriented, digital learning environment (“MINT-Town”). Unfortunately, actual problems tend to be very complex and dynamic, which makes it hard to hold students’ motivation on a sufficient level. Therefor we integrated gamification elements (e.g., quests, dialogs, avatars) to motivate and engage students to work on complex problems for a longer period. The potential of gamification elements to increase student’s motivation [2] and learning outcomes [3][4] have already been shown in several studies. Our game consists of two parts: 1) the tutorial, and 2) the chemical part. In part one, the player is confronted with a general STEM oriented problem situation; he has time to learn the basic controls of the game and several critical thinking subskills [5] while the questline leads him through the problem-solving process. While the second part is still under development, the first part is already done and will soon be validated by an expert rating using an online questionnaire. We expect these experts (doctoral students of STEM education) to clearly identify the implemented problem-solving steps and the promoted critical thinking subskills; furthermore, we hope to get a better understanding of the motivational effects several gamification elements provide, to improve the first part and develop the second part of the game. After completing both parts, we will use the whole game in a quantitative study on 10th grade students.

Keywords: critical thinking, educational game, gamification, motivation, problem solving, student engagement.


  1. Dolezal, Dominik; Posekany, Alexandra; Roschger, Christoph; Koppensteiner, Gottfried; Pucher, Robert (2018) Person-Centered Learning using Peer Review Method – An Evaluation and a Concept for Student-Centered Classrooms, in: International Journal of Engineering Pedagogy 8 (1) 2018/1, pp. 127-147
  2. Binder, Perry (2015) Flipping a Law Class Session: Creating Effective Online Content and Real World In-Class Team Modules, in: Atlantic Law Journal 17, pp. 34-69
  3. Vrasidas, Charalambos; McIsaac, Marina S (2010) Principles of Pedagogy and Evaluation for Web-Based Learning, in Educational Media International 37 (2), pp. 105-111
  4. Rao, Kavita; Edelen-Smith, Patricia; Wailehua, Cat-Uyen (2015) Universal Design for Online Courses: Applying Principles to Pedagogy, in: Open Learning: The Journal of Open, Distance and e-Learning 30 (1), pp. 35-52, DOI: 10.1080/02680513.2014.991300
  5. Jordan, Titus J (2011) Pedagogy on Trial: When Academic Freedom and Education Consumerism Collide, in: Journal of College and University of Law 38(1), 107-165

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