With the growth in popularity of video games among K-12 students over the last few years, many teachers have worked to incorporate gaming into their classroom. By adding something fun and relatable to the learning process, students can become more engaged and retain more knowledge. However, there has been some confusion, with people often mixing up gamification and game-based learning.
Part IV of Dissertation Research Series
Hays (2005) conducted a meta-analysis examining the effectiveness of games for instructional purposes. Hays concluded that games can be effective, but the research did not support that they were more effective than other well-designed instructional methods, especially because the empirical research is fragmented, with many different types of games and tasks, and methodological issues (Hays, 2005). While games can be effective, the results should not be generalized to mean that games are effective for all instruction, with different types of games and learners. The analysis also revealed that the instructional support provided around games is important to improving the effectiveness of the gaming experience (Hays, 2005).
Part III of Dissertation Research Series
The way in which users learn through video games has been conceptualized through a model by Garris et al. (2002). They state that the tacit model of learning in most studies of individual games starts with the Input as a game that includes the instructional content is designed with features of games. These then trigger the process of a cycle of user judgements (such as enjoyment), user behavior (engaging in the game play), and system feedback (situated within the game). When the game design is successful, this cycle should promote recurring, self-motivated game play. This successful process will then lead to the outcome, achieving the learning objectives. This model can be seen in the figure above, reprinted from (Garris et al., 2002).