Learner Motivation, Choice, and Time Management Analysis of a Quest-Based GIS Course

Authors: Michael DeMers*, New Mexico State University
Topics: Geography Education, Geographic Information Science and Systems, Applied Geography
Keywords: GIS Education, Quest Based Learning, Geographic Education, Educational Paradigms
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: 8224, Park Tower Suites, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Quest-based learning (QBL) is a pioneering educational paradigm which has several characteristics that have been shown to engage learners. These include a non-punitive grading strategy, learning path choice allowing for Personal Learning Environment (PLE) creation, and badges and awards to encourage initiative and promote life-long learning. The vast majority of successful research on QBL focuses on elementary school learners and concludes that participants enjoyed the freedom of choice, thrived when not punished for taking chances and answering questions with best-guesses, responded to competition by working harder in the class, and often continued learning even when they had completed the course. This research indicated that the results of implementing QBL within a college level GIS course were considerably less encouraging. While students found the concept intriguing at first, the implementation demonstrated that students at this advanced level, at least in this course, did not respond as positively as did their younger counterparts. Among the most important measurable factors suggestive of causes were a demonstrated tendency by the students to make choices that were deleterious to the overall goals of the course, and an overall tendency to procrastinate. These suggest two things that beg further research. The first is likely the result of years of structured learning which predispose learners to operate poorly in a less-structured environment. The second is the impact of outside stressors such as family responsibilities, work, and the lack of structure that college life engenders on the students' inability to manage their time.

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