I see and hear lots of reference to game-based learning these days – the concept isn't new, but is certainly seeing a resurgance of interest with ongoing development of computer-based games and the application of the principles of this sort of game-playing being applied to the design of learning experiences for students.
The National Foundation for Education Rsearch (nfer) and Futurelab have just published a report titled Game-based learning: latest evidence and future directions (PDF) which provides some useful perspectives on the types of educational values that can be attached to gaming.
The report first considers how the notion of game-based learning is defined, with a review of the literature and then offering some thoughts for moving forward. It then addresses the impct and potential impact of game-based learning on education, before considering specifically the implications for future reserach and implications for teachers and schools.
An excellent publication for anyone interested in game-based learning, particularly those looking at doing research in this area.
The main findings are as follows:
- The literature was split on the extent to which video games can impact upon overall academic performance.
- The studies consistently found that video games can impact positively on problem solving skills, motivation and engagement. However, it was unclear whether this impact could be sustained over time.
- Despite some promising results, the current literature does not evidence adequately the presumed link between motivation, attitude to learning and learning outcomes. Overall, the strength of the evidence was often affected by the research design or lack of information about the research design.