School of Education


Doctor of Education (EdD)


David E. Holder


Autonomy, Competence, Game-Based Learning, Motivation, Sself-Determination Theory


Education | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Educational Methods | Educational Psychology | Online and Distance Education | Other Education


The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of autonomy and structure support on intrinsic motivation (IM), the facilitators of IM, and game scores during digital game-based learning (DGBL) tasks. The sample included 222 students in sixth, seventh, and eighth grade classrooms. Three instruments from the Intrinsic Motivation Inventory (IMI) were utilized during the study: (a) Perceived Choice; (b) Perceived Competence; and (c) Interest/Enjoyment. A quasi-experimental static-group comparison model research design was used to test the differences in perceived autonomy, perceived competence, interest/enjoyment, and game scores between four groups of middle school students completing online learning games in their social studies classes. One-way analyses of variance (ANOVA) were used to measure the difference in means of the three subscales on the IMI between the groups, and the difference in means in average overall game scores. The IMI was delivered via Google Forms and game scores were collected from the gaming website. The results of the study revealed that facilitators of IM are affected by teacher support prior to completing DGBL tasks, which in turn influences students overall interest and enjoyment. Teacher support or non-support, however, had no effect on game-scores. Upon analysis of the data, the researcher rejected the null hypotheses that there is no statistical difference in perceived choice, perceived competence, and interest/enjoyment between groups receiving varying supports or non-supports from their teachers prior to gameplay. However, the researcher failed to reject the null hypothesis that there is no statistical difference in game-scores amongst these same groups. Further research is needed to determine the ways in which motivation and achievement is fulfilled within the DGBL environment.