Commercial video games as preparation for future learning
- In the field of digital game-based learning there has been much focus on the development of educational games—games designed specifically to teach. Attention has also been paid to commercial, off-the-shelf (COTS) games, but that work has focused mostly on the motivation, engagement, and community participation engendered by such games. Relatively little work has been done to examine the potential of incorporating COTS games into formal curricula, and to the best of my knowledge no one has studied what school-relevant learning benefits might accrue from simply playing COTS games in one's leisure time. This dearth of research is unsurprising: there is no reason to expect that games designed entirely to entertain would produce learning benefits on school content that are measurable by traditional assessments. A novel assessment framework called Preparation for Future Learning (PFL), however, is designed specifically to measure immature forms of knowledge that traditional assessments miss, by incorporating learning resources into the assessment process to determine what test takers' immature knowledge has prepared them to learn. In this study, I used the PFL framework to investigate whether being randomly assigned to receive and play one of two COTS games (Call of Duty 2, n = 34, or Civilization IV, n = 35) at home over the course of five weeks would prepare community-college students to learn from a lecture about World War II compared to a control condition that received no game (n = 33). Learning was measured by performance on pre- and post-lecture multiple-choice tests comprising items from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), the California Standards Test (CST), and a purpose-built test from a World-War-II study guide produced by the company SparkNotes. Results indicated no condition differences in performance on the pre-lecture test but a significant positive effect of gameplay on the post-lecture test, suggesting that gameplay experiences had prepared participants in those conditions to learn more from the lecture. Additionally, responses to open-ended questions about two scenarios that had not been covered in the lecture suggested that the two games had influenced participants' attention to the lecture differently: CoD2 players were more attentive to local tactical elements, and Civ4 players to global strategic elements. Demonstrating school-relevant benefits of COTS gameplay strengthens the broader argument for digital game-based learning, suggests that educators could leverage recreational gameplay with appropriately designed formal instruction, and shows COTS game designers that incorporating even modestly school-relevant experiences in their games could help their players without compromising the appeal of their games.
|Type of resource
|electronic; electronic resource; remote
|1 online resource.
|Arena, Dylan Andrew
|Stanford University, School of Education.
|Schwartz, Daniel L
|Schwartz, Daniel L
|Statement of responsibility
|Submitted to the School of Education.
|Thesis (Ph.D.)--Stanford University, 2012.
- © 2012 by Dylan Andrew Arena
- This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 Unported license (CC BY-NC-SA).
Also listed in
Loading usage metrics...