This post is based on the keynote presented by Constance Steinkuhler at the Games For Change Festival.
See the whole Games For Change series of posts.
- Games provide a 23% gain over traditional learning. 2013 research shows that games can increase learning outcomes by two grade levels.
- Co-play is better. A study on motivation shows that when kids play together, outcomes are improved by 2 standard deviations.
- Content should be married to game mechanics. A great 2011 study shows that dames are powerful motivators, but they function better when the learning is the playful part and not just a side note. See more in my discussions about what makes a good game and intrinsic vs. extrinsic motivation for more information.
- Games are more powerful combined with paratexts. A 2011 examination of simulation games shows that the text surrounding games aids, when combined with the game, in improving student outcomes more than the game alone.
- Action games enhance attentional control. A 2012 study demonstrates that games are even effective at training us how to learn and shapes our attention.
- Games are great for language gains. The research even showed that the language acquisition didn’t even require that the game was a language game.
- Reading gains are inherent to gaming, but choice is a key factor. If students were allowed choice in their in-game reading, the impact was more powerful than the game alone according to Steinkuhler’s own research.
- Games are useful for overcoming bias and cognitive dissonance. The 2015 study demonstrates the power of games to overcome cognitive dissonance and reduce stereotypes.
- Despite popular opinions, games promote learning and discourage negative behaviors. In fact the study illustrates that regular game-play improved mental health as well as cognitive and social skills.
- Games in research don’t reflect games in the market. Sadly a forthcoming study shows that game makers and game researchers often have a disconnect in studying what is being created and creating what studies show is best. We can do better.