The most common question we hear related to game-based learning is… does it really work? And that’s a question that has been difficult to answer using actual research… until now. Last week, the University of Central Florida released a new study that shows math scores increasing when presented using game-based learning.

Up to now, most of us assumed as much. It seems pretty obvious that it’s more enjoyable to play a game than to sit through a class. And we can probably safely assume that since it is more interactive, it might be more readily applied.

Last week, the University of Central Florida released a new study that seems to provides some qualitative evidence that game-based learning is more effective than more traditional teaching methods.

The study was conducted with 193 high school math students over the course of 18 weeks. The students were split into two groups: those who played the interactive math videogame as part of their coursework, and those who did not. The game itself contained traditional videogame elements such as 3-D graphics, sound, animation, and an immersive storyline.

The results indicated a significant difference:

• Students in the test group, which played the videogame as part of their learning, showed an 8.07 point increase in their math scores.

• Students in the control group, which did not play the videogame, showed a 3.74 point increase in their math scores.

Just as significantly, both the students and teachers felt that the videogame component truly made a difference not just in how the students learned the material, but also in how much they wanted to learn it. Students remarked that the videogame elements made the learning fun, while teachers noted that having math concepts in a videogame enabled many students to conquer a phobia of math.

This is only one study, and it is far from definitive, but it is some good science to support what most of us have known.

If anyone knows of other studies supporting or dispelling the use of game-based learning, let me know.

If you’d like to learn about game based learning from Digitec Interactive, visit our eLearning page.

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