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Experimental Validation of the Learning Effect for a Pedagogical Game on Computer Fundamentals

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3 Author(s)
Guttorm Sindre ; Comput. & Inf. Sci. Dept., Norwegian Univ. of Sci. & Technol., Trondheim ; Lasse Natvig ; Magnus Jahre

The question/answer-based computer game Age of Computers was introduced to replace traditional weekly paper exercises in a course in computer fundamentals in 2003. Questionnaire evaluations and observation of student behavior have indicated that the students found the game more motivating than paper exercises and that a majority of the students also perceived the game to have a higher learning effect than paper exercises or textbook reading. This paper reports on a controlled experiment to compare the learning effectiveness of game play with traditional paper exercises, as well as with textbook reading. The results indicated that with equal time being spent on the various learning activities, the effect of game play was only equal to that of the other activities, not better. Yet this result is promising enough, as the increased motivation means that students work harder in the course. Also, the results indicate that the game has potential for improvement, in particular with respect to its feedback on the more complicated questions.

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Education  (Volume:52 ,  Issue: 1 )