of game-based learning is expected to grow to more than $125,000,000 in
2006. However, Dr. Jan Cannon-Bowers (2006), eminent researcher in the field
of the science of learning, recently challenged the efficacy of game-based
learning: “We are charging head-long into game-based learning without
knowing if it works or not. We need studies.” The problem addressed by this
study was the lack of research into the effectiveness of game-based
learning. The problem affects academia, parents, organizations involved in
training, and of course, students. The purpose was to explore the
relationship between the use of video games and learning. Research questions
revolved around the effects of video game use on overall class scores,
gender-based scores, ethnic-based scores, and age-based scores.
A causal-comparative study was
conducted at ABC University to examine the difference in academic
achievement between students who did and did not use video games in
learning. A video game was added to half the classes teaching 3rd year
management students. Identical testing situations were used while data
collected included game use, test scores, gender, ethnicity, and age. ANOVA,
chi-squared, and t tests were used to test game use effectiveness.
Students in classes using the
game scored significantly higher means than classes that did not. There were
no significant differences between genders, yet both genders scored
significantly higher with game play. There were no significant differences
between ethnicities, yet all ethnic groups scored significantly higher with
game play. Students 40 years and under scored significantly higher with game
play, while students 41 and older did not.
Such significant increases in
student learning could lead to positive social change as games and
simulations become standard teaching tools. If further studies continue to
prove the efficacy of game-based learning, America’s educational system
faces a revolution in learning.
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