Last week, I posted a rebuttal to Ruth Clark’s claim that “Games Don’t Teach.” In that post, I shared several links to research about the effectiveness of games for learning. If you are interested in a more in-depth review of research, Karl Kapp’s new book The Gamification of Learning and Instruction has an entire chapter titled “Research Says…Games are Effective for Learning.” This chapter focuses on two areas of the research: meta-analysis studies and research on specific elements of games.
The meta-analysis section has a useful table providing a quick summary of the major findings of each meta-analysis reviewed. Here’s a few points from that research:
- “Game-based approach produced significant knowledge-level increases over the conventional case-based teaching methods.” (Wolfe, 1997)
- “An instructional game will only be effective if it is designed to meet specific instructional objectives and used as it was intended.” (Hays, 2005)
In the elements of games section, Karl summarizes several individual studies and their findings in the following areas:
- Reward structures
- Player motivation (both intrinsic and extrinsic)
- Player perspective
Gamification in learning is often viewed very superficially as just adding extrinsic motivators like badges and leaderboards. In this book, Karl recommends going beyond that shallow understanding to look at the ways that games can be effective and to use those elements to enhance learning.
If you’re interested in more information about the book, check out the other posts in the blog book tour.
References (as cited in The Gamification of Learning and Instruction):
Hays, R.T. (2005). The effectiveness of instructional games: A literature review and discussion. Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division (No 2005–004).
Wolfe, J. (1997) The effectiveness of business games in strategic management
course work. Simulation & Gaming, 28(4), 360–376.