Dr. Constance Steinkuhler delivered a recent keynote at the Games For Change Festival in which she highlighted ten of the most important research studies to know regarding the value of video games for education.
- When compared to traditional learning, a 2013 study found that games provide a 23% gain over traditional methods. The study found that games can actually can increase learning outcomes by two grade levels.
- When kids play together, it’s a better experience. A study on motivation determined that when co-play occurs, outcomes are improved by 2 standard deviations.
- The content should be married to game mechanics. Rather than “bolting learning onto game mechanics,” a 2011 study by Ainsworth and Habgood found that when educational content is intrinsically aligned to the game elements, better learning occurs.
- Games are more powerful when they are combined with paratexts. A 2011 examination of simulation games shows when supplemental text is combined with the game, student outcomes are improved 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 especially great for language gains. The research study even found 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. There is a gap between game creators and what is revealed in the research literature.