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Avatar Personalization: Towards the Enhancement of Competence Beliefs

Cecile M. Foshee and Brian C. Nelson
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Cecile M. Foshee: Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH, USA
Brian C. Nelson: Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, USA

International Journal of Gaming and Computer-Mediated Simulations (IJGCMS), 2014, vol. 6, issue 2, 1-14

Abstract: The authors explored the influence of avatar personalization on students' competence beliefs in a virtual world-based assessment environment. The avatar personalization options allowed seventh and eighth grade students (n = 110) to customize the appearance of their avatar and provided them with the option to personalize their in-world conversations by choosing a name for their avatar. Based on self-determination theory the authors hypothesized that the personalization in a virtual-world environment would influence students' motivation to engage by stimulating their situational interest and enable positive competence beliefs and deeper engagement. The results indicated that personalization stimulated situational interest and situational interest significantly predicted competence beliefs. This research contributes to the body of literature on the personalization principle by extending this work to a virtual environment. The findings highlight the importance of addressing students' affective needs and illustrate the value of interest; which can potentially influence students' attitudes towards testing and towards science.

Date: 2014
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