Examining flow antecedents in game-based learning to promote self-regulated learning and acceptance

Kelvin Wan, Vivian King, Kevin Chan

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


Game-Based Learning (GBL) has been recognized as an essential tool for motivating students to engage in active and constructive learning. While there is a link between GBL and learning outcomes, current research evidence tends to undermine the interrelationships of concepts and oversimplify flow experience in the context of GBL. This study adopted a conceptual framework of flow in computer-mediated environments to examine the roles of specific flow antecedents, such as concentration, feedback, immersion, and challenge affecting students’ self-regulated learning (SRL) and acceptance of use in a higher education GBL context. Six simple board-game style educational games covering topics at the introductory level of psychology were built for learners to play asynchronously. When students entered the games, they were given an instruction page that explained the game rules as well as the topic area if appropriate. A simple pop-up window would emerge, informing the students whether they had answered the questions correctly or incorrectly. The participants were 275 students from an undergraduate level social science class in a research participation pool. Students’ opinions on the GBL were measured by validated scales that emphasized their flow experience, acceptance of use and SRL. After fitting the data to the hypothesis model, a path model was generated. The model demonstrated an excellent fit of the data with interrelations among constructs about flow antecedents, acceptance of use, SRL (consist of motivation and metacognition). The findings revealed that learners place a higher value on GBL with flow antecedents like concentration and challenge, which is linked to their learning motivation and metacognitive outcomes. Aid by GBL on knowledge gain and immersive experience are considered as the underpinnings of performance expectancy before students consider adopting GBL for their learning. In contrast to what is typical of GBL, learners primarily use GBL to improve their academic performance rather than for its immersive experience. Future studies could use the current model to develop and examine a different learning artefact, depending on its nature and study goals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)531-547
Number of pages17
JournalElectronic Journal of e-Learning
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2021


  • Flow
  • Game-based learning
  • Self-regulated learning
  • Serious game
  • Technology acceptance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Computer Science Applications

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