A1 Journal article (refereed)
Exploring Gameful Motivation of Autonomous Learners (2022)

Vahlo, J., Tuuri, K., & Välisalo, T. (2022). Exploring Gameful Motivation of Autonomous Learners. Frontiers in Psychology, 13, Article 825840. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2022.825840

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Vahlo, Jukka; Tuuri, Kai; Välisalo, Tanja

Journal or series: Frontiers in Psychology

eISSN: 1664-1078

Publication year: 2022

Volume: 13

Article number: 825840

Publisher: Frontiers Media SA

Publication country: Switzerland

Publication language: English

DOI: https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2022.825840

Persistent website address: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2022.825840/full

Publication open access: Openly available

Publication channel open access: Open Access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX): https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/80013


In this explorative study, we investigated motives of autonomous learners to participate in an online course, and how these motives are related to gameplay motivations, engagement in the course experience, and learning outcomes. The guiding premise for the study has been the idea that learning and game playing carry phenomenal similarities that could be revealed by scrutinizing motives for participating in a massive open online course that does not involve any intentionally game-like features. The research was conducted by analyzing survey data (N = 705) collected from individuals who had voluntarily participated in an open online course about artificial intelligence and its societal impact. The survey included an explorative Motives for Autonomous Learning (MAL) inventory. Exploratory factor analysis suggested that the MAL inventory consisted of six dimensions out of which four were consistent with factors that earlier research has associated with motives to engage with video games. Of the identified factors, the dimension that most clearly described autonomous and playful predispositions was found to be a main precedent for both experienced gamefulness of the learning experience and positive learning outcomes. In all, the results of this study demonstrated that playfulness and autonomy were both prominent and significant factors across the whole learning process.

Keywords: online courses; MOOCs; students; participation; gamification; motivation (mental objects); study motivation; independent initiative; learning; online learning; learning results; artificial intelligence; games; playing (games and sports); effects (results)

Free keywords: playfulness; games; autonomous learner; online learning; motives; motivation; engagement; self-determination

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Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2022

JUFO rating: 1

Last updated on 2023-30-08 at 08:52