Motivating students to attend and participate in the classroom is a complex issue, especially in subjects with arduous theoretical reasoning that students tend to find difficult to understand. This question takes a vital importance when the subject has a significant practical part whose content relies on previously taught theory. Normally, these practical classes are taught in small groups to allow the use of computer labs and teachers feel the need to encourage students to constantly review the theoretical contents to make the most of the classes. Otherwise, practical sessions are not fully satisfactory: lessons where students are expected to be autonomous become lectures where the teachers have to lead the resolution of the exercises and repeat theoretical contents with the consequent shortage of time.

In order to improve the students’ motivation and, therefore, students’ performance, we design a pilot teaching project in the subject of Econometrics where students are encouraged to take part into a team-based academic competition. The competition, based on the Trivia game, is divided into weekly short-term rounds where the students answer multiple-choice questions related to the Econometrics’ syllabus. The teams are awarded with points for each right answer, and their punctuation is registered into a general ranking that is updated and published in the virtual campus after each round. The calendar of the competition is set at the beginning of the course to inform about the coming rounds.

The design of Trivianometrics (Trivia + Econometrics) combines two important elements: 1) a regular assessment during the semester term; and 2) an incentive to study harder during the year. As a competition, Trivianometrics brings an academic reward only for the best teams, including the recognition for the champions. Both are considered key factors to improve the performance of students in the lab sessions and the final marks.

At the end of the course, we asked the students to fill out a survey to gather their opinions about the utility and effects of the Trivianometrics on their motivation, learning process and expected effects on the final’s grade. We also compare the attendance and exams results in the subject with the previous year in relative terms.

The results are positive, showing a higher percentage of students attending and participating in the classroom. Besides, it is notable that a high number of teams kept chances to win the competition until the end. All in all, we received a positive feedback from the students and they strongly recommended us to repeat the contest in future courses.