Knowledge Discovery of Gamification Features Relevant to Immersive Virtual Reality Environments

Open Access
Gopinath Bharathi, Ajay
Graduate Program:
Industrial Engineering
Master of Science
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
Committee Members:
  • Conrad S Tucker, Thesis Advisor
  • Virtual Reality
  • Virtual Learning Environments
  • Immersive Virtual Reality Systems
  • Gamification
  • Game Design Elements
Virtual Reality (VR) is a three dimensional interactive world that gives users the impression of being somewhere other than where they actually are. Over the last decade, a wide range of VR applications have been developed, based on VR environments. Immersive VR environment is a type of VR environment that produces an interactive computer generated world of high ecological validity, in which the users can “immerse” themselves using a variety of 3D stimuli. On the other hand, non-immersive VR environment is the least immersive implementation of VR techniques in which the virtual environment is viewed through a portal or window by utilizing a standard high resolution monitor and interactions occur using 2D interaction devices such as keyboards and mice. A major limitation of non-immersive VR environments is the lack of immersive experience that not only provides content to users, but also enables them to interact in a completely 360 degree immersive environment. Furthermore, a knowledge gap exists in terms of what motivates individuals to utilize such systems. This thesis aims to fill these research gaps by first i) exploring whether there exists statistically significant differences in performance between users in immersive VR and non-immersive VR environments and then ii) proposing the use of video game design elements in non-game contexts (i.e., immersive VR environments) to motivate and increase user engagement, otherwise known as “gamification”. A case study involving 54 individuals carrying out a product functional analysis task is used to test the hypothesis that immersive VR environments, such as those achievable through head-mounted displays, enhance performance outcomes when compared to non-immersive VR environments. A case study involving 60 games from the Android market is used to understand the fundamental aspects of video games that make them engaging and motivating. Seven game design elements (challenges, levels, win states, social graph, rewards, content unlocking and leaderboards) are found to motivate users and maintain user engagement for extended periods of time and could be potentially integrated into immersive VR environments to make them more engaging and motivating for users.