Review of the research on educational usage of games PhD student Simon Egenfeldt-Nielsen IT-University Copenhagen Game-research.com 4. December 2003, ITU.
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Review of the research on educational usage of games PhD student Simon Egenfeldt-NielsenIT-University CopenhagenGame-research.com4. December 2003, ITU
“…develop games which contain advanced content, operate according to sound pedagogical principles, enable classroom customisation, and create real excitement within the core game market”
- Henry Jenkins
Masters Degree in Psychology
PhD Student at IT-University of Copenhagen,
Written two Danish books and several articles on computer games and learning.
Earlier consulting: Framfab, Incircle, EQ, Game-Research.
Educational potential of commercial games.
Exploration is a intrinsic part of computer games.
Empirical study of Europa Universalis II based on earlier research in games and learning.
Research on non-electronic games and learning.
Long research tradition since 1960s. Slowed done in 80’s.
Some of the research dated – still games will be games.
Simulation main researched genre:
43 simulation games, 26 other, 10 adventure, 4 puzzles, and 1 experimental(Dempsey et al., 1996)
Use it for digital games research!
Most researched (and used) area:
46 social studies
8 studies within math
6 in language arts
3 in biology
1 in physics.
Primary, secondary, tertiary education
Environment is usually a school setting although this may be the “worse” place.
Dempsey et al. (1996:12) finds that in reality studies are "very unclear in reporting these characteristics”.
Most frequently reported variables were gender, age, academic ability, and to some degree race.
Games may be able to reach less advantaged student groups but it depends on other factors as well - especially prior attitude of the student towards the game plays a role.
Group cohesion is quite important for the performance in a game environment, and remains relatively stable as the game progress
In reality little is known about if some people benefit more of games.
How can we measure the learning effect of games on users?
Needs to be qualified with: "For what purpose, under what conditions, and how can we be sure." (Bredemeier & Greenblat, 1981:307).
Several claims over the years have been hard to document:
Most problems have been clear from early on but continue to influence the research.
As a minimum the following variable should be assessed:
These are present in most current studies.
“In some instances games seem to be more appropriate for affective learning, while cognitive learning in general is found to be as good as other teaching methods (excluding retention over time)”
Games seems to increase retention over time.
Problem solving is the most researched learning outcome followed by attitudes. This imply that in general much of the research have been aimed at identifying learning outcome in more overall competences, and not necessarily the learning outcome of facts and concepts.
Games have been used in practical all settings and little is still known. Still we know where to look.
Problem that games are a dynamic object – we are never sure if we are testing a bad game, game experience or instructor.
Research on non-electronic games for learning has a lot to offer.