Examining the use of Kahoot to support digital game-based formative assessments in UAE higher education

Minton, Maxine and Bligh, Brett (2021) Examining the use of Kahoot to support digital game-based formative assessments in UAE higher education. Studies in Technology Enhanced Learning, 1 (2). pp. 445-462.

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Attempts to sustain economic growth and diversification within the Middle East have seen governments invested in various educational initiatives. In alignment with this ethos, the United Arab Emirates offers citizens, free education in government-funded higher educational institutes, and bursaries linked to grade point average scores.It is believed that incentivised learning environments provide a powerful motivation to stimulate academic excellence in summative assessments — linked to grade point average scores. An unfortunate outcome of these environments may, however, be that non-grade point reliant tasks are not prioritised by learners. Thus, identifying pedagogical tools which engage student agency towards such tasks, is of obvious interest to educators working within these settings. One such tool which may engage student agency towards formative assessments, is the digital game-based learning platform Kahoot. Kahoot is known to have permeated many educational domains due to its claimed ability to transform classrooms into fun, competitive environments, where students are engaged and motivated to learn. There is, however, a sparsity of literature evidencing the effects that contextual or demographic influences may have upon this and other digital game-based learning tools effectiveness. As such, an explanatory case-based study situated in the United Arab Emirates incentivised learning environment, was undertaken to evaluate female students’ perceptions of Kahoot, as a formative assessment tool. To achieve this Mwanza’s eight-step model for translating data into activity theory components was utilised to develop semi-structured interview questions (Mwanza, 2002). These questions permitted analyses of the social, the individual, and socio-economic structures influencing user engagement with this technology. Upon introduction of Kahoot as a formative assessment tool, into the incentivised learning context of the UAE, students described contradictions between classroom and institutional rules, community expectations and the divisions of labour. The transformed classroom environments resultant from resolution of these contradictions produced, greater learner collaboration, superior knowledge retention, reduced test anxiety, and increased levels of student satisfaction. In contrast with other contexts, this study evidenced that digital game-based learning did not predominantly influence student’s motivation to study outside of the classroom for formative assessments. Instead, conventional paper-based assessments provided the greater impetus to engage in out of class learning. This finding may have resulted from the socio-economic and socio-cultural perceptions of the students within this specific learning context. This study, therefore, urges researchers and educators to undertake shifts in their consciousness to acknowledge socio-cultural and intersubjective factors, which may impact upon the effectiveness of digital game-based learning as a formative assessment tool. This is in recognition of this study’s findings that such technologies, may be heavily dependent upon both contextual and demographic influences of those utilising them.

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Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Studies in Technology Enhanced Learning
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Deposited On:
27 Apr 2021 08:35
Last Modified:
20 Jun 2024 00:52