The development of mathematical skills for future engineers is essential. Game-based learning (GBL) and gamification have been widely used in elementary education, but less applied in higher education. The objective of this article was to evaluate the effect of didactic strategies mediated by games in the teaching of mathematics in first-year engineering students. A qualitative study was carried out. Five (5) teaching units were designed. Seven (7) focus groups were developed with 81 participants from the differential calculus course. The keyword in context-KWIC technique was used for the focus group analysis. The categories attention, relevance, confidence, and satisfaction (Keller’s motivational model) were evaluated. An important contribution of the pedagogical strategy to student motivation, teamwork, commitment, and argumentation was verified. In conclusion, game-based learning makes it possible to strengthen the motivation of students in the educational processes of mathematics in engineering.
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