After a few years of working with faculty to develop interactive content, I desired to be better grounded in the theory behind what motivates students to engage in the activity and what impedes success. Some of what I had heard felt intuitive – for example, excessive clicking and poor navigation distracts from the lesson – but the academic in me wanted better research.
Here are a few books that helped me better understand user behavior:
- About Face: The Essentials of Interaction Design
- 100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People
- Don’t Make Me Think (Revisited)
- The Gamification of Learning and Instruction
- Play to Learn
- The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses
- The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less
- Badass: Making Users Awesome
- Practical Empathy
I should note that it was important to me to find titles that spoke to technical construction as well as those that described cognitive behavior and motivation. The first three are those I recommend most regularly to others looking for resources on instructional design, but the latter three were equally impactful.