Teaching Development Grants
Completed TDG Projects

IT in the Curriculum and E-learning

The Design and Evaluation of an E-learning Course based on Active Learning and Meaningful Gamification Strategies


In this project, we explored the use of Active Learning and Meaningful Gamification strategies in two studies (pilot study and main study). In the pilot study, one module of an e-learning course built upon active learning techniques and meaningful gamification was launched on Moodle, involving two classes. In one class, the design mainly employed active learning strategies (ALS). In the other class, the design employed both active learning strategies (ALS) and gamification strategies (GS). The use of ALS + GS produced greater student contribution in the discussion forums, and had a positive effect on motivating students to engage with more difficult tasks than ALS alone. Moreover, the quality of artifacts produced by participants in the ALS + GS class was higher than those in the ALS class. In the main study, we compared three types of course designs, namely original course (control group), course with ALS, and course with ALS + GS. Students in the ALS + GS class contributed more postings in the discussion forums than ALS and control classes. In addition, ALS + GS participants made more attempts on self-check quizzes each week. More students in the ALS + GS class completed the pre-tasks on or before recommended completion time. Taken together, the findings of the pilot and main studies suggested that when active learning strategies and gamification strategies are both implemented, learners are more cognitively and behaviorally engaged. Meanwhile, their motivation level is also higher than in non-gamified environment.

Principal Investigator

Dr. T.K.F. Hew, Faculty of Education Contact

Project level

University-level project

Project Completion

January 2017


  1. An instructor handbook on recommended strategies related to active learning and meaningful gamification in integrating e-learning with Moodle.
    An instructor manual book (e-book) for integrating active learning and gamification strategies has been developed. In this book, it introduced the tools of integrating quizzes, videos and badges into Moodle course. Download
  2. A report of the impact of the e-learning course on student learning and perception.
    The main impacts of the e-learning course on student learning and perception can be found in the attached “Project Impact Report”. Download
  3. One or two half-day symposia and a number of workshops to share the findings of the project, as well as how we designed, developed, and implemented the e-learning course.
    1. One knowledge exchange seminar was organized at the Faculty of Education, HKU. Topic: Pedagogy for E-Learning: How teachers structure their lessons for better e-learning, Aug 26, 2015.
    2. One workshop was organized and conducted on April 28, 2017 at the Faculty of Education, HKU.
  4. Research publications in reputable journals in Education
    1. Hew, K. F., Huang, B. Y., Chu, K. W. S., & Chiu, D. K. (2016). Engaging Asian students through game mechanics: Findings from two experiment studies. Computers & Education, 92, 221-236. (5-year ISI impact factor:3.22) Ranked 9/231 (Education & Educational Research)
    2. Huang, B.Y., & Hew, K. F. (2015). Do points, badges and leaderboard increase learning and activity: A quasi-experiment on the effects of gamification. In Ogata, H. et al. (Eds.) Proceedings of the 23rd International Conference on Computers in Education (pp. 275-280). Hangzhou, China: Asia-Pacific Society for Computers in Education