Understanding Duolingo Discussion Boards as Social-Emotional Support During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Tom Neuschafer, Jersey Shore Area School District


A massive open online course (MOOC) is a powerful tool for expanding educational opportunities, but one of the major challenges facing MOOCs is the high dropout rate. Low completion rates indicate issues with student engagement and motivation. Gamification, the incorporation of game elements in non-game contexts, has shown promise in increasing engagement and completion rates in education. This systematic review aims to explore the current state of research on gamification in MOOCs, including the most commonly used gamification aspects, their impact on motivation and engagement, and the influence on dropout rates. We searched several databases, such as Google Scholar, Scopus, and ERIC, from 2014 to 2021 and included studies that focused on the application of gamification in MOOCs and its effects on motivation, engagement, and dropout rates. A total of 16 studies were analyzed, and the results were synthesized to address the research questions posed. The results of this systematic literature review indicate that while research on gamification in MOOCs is still in its early stages, several studies have shown that gamification elements such as badges, levels, leaderboards, challenges, and rewards significantly affect student motivation and engagement, and reduce dropout rates in MOOCs. However, the effectiveness of these elements varies depending on their specific design, implementation, and alignment with students’ intrinsic motivations and goals.

Keywords: massive open online course (MOOC), gamification, motivation, engagement, dropout

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