The mediating effect of fantasy on engagement in an AR game for learning

Tengjia Zuo (Corresponding author), Max V. Birk, Erik D. van der Spek, Jun Hu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
126 Downloads (Pure)


It is challenging to create an immersive and engaging remote education setting properly, especially for children who are less motivated and quickly distracted by virtual learning activities that fall short of leveraging the immersive design potential. To maximize the educational potential of AR game-based learning, designers need to align fantastical environments, learning content, and AR requirements. This task requires a thorough understanding of the impact of design choices on users’ experiences. To gain insights into the motivational mechanics of fantasy elements in AR, we investigated the effect of two AR learning contexts—a fantasy setting and a daily setting—on children’s experience and motivation. Our goal is to scrutinize the relationship between fantasy states, intrinsic motivation, and players’ experience of autonomy and presence. Our results suggest that the relationship between imagination and enjoyment—stimulated by our two conditions—is fully mediated by experiences of autonomy and presence. Our research provides insights into the relationships between experience constructs and informs the design of fantasy learning experiences. We provide guidelines to support game designers and researchers to integrate the fantasy experience in AR learning games for children.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100480
Number of pages8
JournalEntertainment Computing
Publication statusPublished - May 2022


  • Augmented reality
  • Autonomy
  • Fantasy play
  • Intrinsic motivation
  • Presence
  • Serious games


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