Motivation, engagement, and effectiveness of serious games for teaching cyber security and database defense
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This study uses an exploratory case study methodology, employing a mixed methods approach to explore the merits of a serious game, called Database Defender, to improve motivation, engagement, and learning of cybersecurity topics specifically database threats, database backup, and recovery. Results from Likert scale, open-ended questions, and interview responses show that game-based learning can be an effective way to increase or maintain a high level of motivation, be highly engaging, be very enjoyable, and reinforce knowledge taught in class on the topic of database defense to higher education students. Pre-test and post-test score differences showed no statistical significance between the control and game groups. However, student responses on the post-test indicated that students in the game group (as compared to the control group) demonstrated a better understanding and remembered the aspects of database defense, which the game sought to teach. This study fills a gap in the literature applying digital game-based learning to the specific topic of cybersecurity and database defense and to a specific audience of higher education students.