Learning style analysis in adaptive GBL application to teach SQL

Mario Soflano, Thomas M. Connolly, Thomas Hainey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


The benefits derived from delivering learning content in ways that match the student's learning style have been identified in classroom learning and eLearning. Although there is limited empirical evidence in adaptive Games-Based Learning (GBL), adaptivity has been identified to have the potential to improve learning effectiveness. This paper presents the results of a study to investigate the use of learning styles in GBL particularly in identifying the learning style in GBL including the learning style's fluctuation during the learning process. For the purposes of this study, a game with two game modes was developed: 1) non-adaptivity mode and 2) a mode that had an in-game adaptive system that dynamically and continuously adapted its contents according to the student's interactions in the game. In both modes, the interactions between the participants and the game were recorded in a database. The study was performed with 60 students in Higher Education. The results show that the learning style identified by using a learning style questionnaire is not always consistent with the learning style identified in the game. The results also show the learning style fluctuates during the learning process in GBL although there is a tendency for participants to choose the same learning style as the learning style identified outside the game in the first mission of the game. The number of mistakes committed by participants has been identified to have a strong correlation to the fluctuation. The results contribute to the body of empirical evidence in adaptive GBL particularly in identifying the learning style fluctuation in GBL and the paper provides recommendations on the use of adaptivity in GBL to accommodate this fluctuation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-119
JournalComputers & Education
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2015


  • Serious games
  • Adaptive games-based learning
  • Learning style
  • Felder-Silverman
  • Roleplaying games


Dive into the research topics of 'Learning style analysis in adaptive GBL application to teach SQL'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this