Writing in Learning Solutions Magazine, Karl Kapp has made a passionate argument for the use of games in learning.
Past articles by this Examiner, including Do learners always like competition?, The downside of teamwork and Applying the video game model to learning and The case for video games in learning have argued for and against games as learning tools.
In his article, entitled Once Again, Games Can and Do Teach! Kapp states, “The evidence is clear that games can and do teach. We also know that online learning and lectures often do not teach. In the end, it is not the vehicle delivering the instruction that makes the difference, it’s the design.”
Kapp claims that there is solid research and overwhelmingly compelling evidence that games can and do teach a variety of subjects effectively. He offers the following examples.
Does Game-based Learning Work? Results From Three Recent Studies, authored by Richard Blunt of the Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) group, reported that the mean scores of students in classes using the game were significantly higher than those of students in classes that did not, regardless of gender and ethnicity. Students 40 years and under did, however, score significantly higher with game play than students 41 and older. Blunt concluded, “These studies add definitive research in the area of game-based learning. The DoD now has studies proving the efficacy of digital game-based learning and
Connolly, et al. (2011), as reported by Kapp, conducted a meta-analysis reviewing 129 papers reporting evidence related to games in learning and engagement. They concluded that the most “frequently occurring outcomes and impacts were knowledge acquisition/content understanding and affective and motivational outcomes.”
Kapp concludes that the preponderance of evidence is that games can and do teach.