Pervasively Gamifying the Museum Experience - An empirical investigation of knowledge gain and engagement
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Museum experiences are naturally one-shot experiences with low revisit rates and cater to sprawling classrooms where teachers often have reduced oversight. At times the open-endedness of museums distracts museum-goers. This is an area that gamification provides great motivational benefits that might reduce these problems, in addition to digital systems often enabling a higher degree of oversight and one-to-one feedback. Pupils and other museum-goers alike benefit from increases to engagement and knowledge gain. Pervasive gamification presents itself as an opportunity in order to retain the open-endedness and exploratory nature of museums. Pervasive gamification also solves many of the oversight issues teachers are plagued with, as each user retains a profile seamlessly across the many different clients that enables assessment and increased sense of control. The main goal of this research was to investigate whether a pervasively gamified museum experience can provide knowledge gain and user engagement benefits. In the process of answering these questions, we developed an application --- peMuse --- that employs a client-server architecture with seamless RFID-based authentication for pervasiveness. The application was built with a foundation of gamification techniques and teaching methods inspired by behavioural psychology. After concluding the development, we conducted a field-study with 36 participants over two days. Our research concludes with two slightly contrasting results. Our application scores high in user-engagement, yet shows no statistically significant increase in knowledge gain. We identified possible causes for the lack significant knowledge gain. Qualitative results gathered also attest to an overwhelmingly positive feedback, with participants experiencing increased engagement.