Date of Award

Spring 2022

Access Type

Dissertation - Open Access

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Human Factors


Human Factors and Behavioral Neurobiology

Committee Chair

Elizabeth Blickensderfer

Committee Advisor

Elizabeth Blickensderfer

First Committee Member

Thomas Guinn

Second Committee Member

Joseph Keebler

Third Committee Member

Shawn Doherty


Due to the high popularity of gaming, researchers have begun to implement aspects of these games into real life (known as gamification). Motivation and engagement may be influenced by certain game mechanics and user types, which then could also impact learning. A gap still exists as to whether leaderboards and narratives impact motivation or engagement when implemented in a non-game context (i.e., an online training program). Studies indicate that aviation weather training for general aviation pilots is underdeveloped, particularly for NEXRAD. In considering the competitive/ goal-oriented nature of pilots, gamification elements such as Achievements and Stories could best motivate pilots-in-training through elevated engagement and motivation. Therefore, the purpose of the current study was to determine effectiveness of two types of gamification mechanics—narrative and leaderboard—on motivation, engagement, and learning in a Next Generation Radar (NEXRAD) online training program. In order to test this intervention, the study used a 2x2 between-subjects experimental design. It was hypothesized that there would be a significant effect of narrative presence and leaderboard presence on the multivariate dependent variable (engagement, motivation, and knowledge acquisition). Participants (n = 41) took part in an online NEXRAD training program—administered through Qualtrics—and received either the narrative intervention, leaderboard intervention, both, or neither. Participants were measured on their NEXRAD knowledge acquisition before and after the training. Following the training program, participants reported their motivation, engagement, and reactions to the training. Results from this study did not support the hypotheses. Gaps in this realm of training still exist and closing them is imperative in improving pilots’ understanding of the material and overall safety of flight.