Publication Date


Date of Final Oral Examination (Defense)


Type of Culminating Activity


Degree Title

Doctor of Education in Educational Technology


Educational Technology

Major Advisor

Youngkyun Baek, Ph.D., Ed.D.


Kerry Rice, Ed.D.


Jesús Trespalacios, Ph.D.


Digital game-based learning (DGBL) has unique factors that can engage students in the learning process. It has been shown that incorporating DGBL into mathematics can help bridge the learning gap, differentiate instruction, and engage students (Yang et al., 2018; Hulse et al., 2019; Chen et al., 2012; Naik, 2017). This study examined how students’ prior engagements are related to their academic achievement as well as investigated students’ motivation while utilizing DGBL in mathematics. An explanatory sequential mixed methods design was utilized to collect the quantitative data followed by the qualitative data. There were eighteen middle school participants in grades six through eight who all attended the same school within the Northeastern United States. The self-determination theory (SDT) served as the theoretical framework for examining the results.

Data was collected through a pretest, posttest, an open-ended survey, and a closed-ended survey. The results of this study indicated that DGBL can improve academic achievement in mathematics. However, it was determined that students’ prior engagement was not related to their academic achievement. Additional research should be conducted on the motivational aspect of relatedness and DGBL since it was shown that there was a strong correlation between relatedness and the engagement themes of learning with peers and experiences with faculty.