Incorporating educational content into digital games and using those games as part of the elementary school curriculum to deliver traditional subjects has become a recent trend. Yu and Tsuei have launched a quasi-experimental study in digital game-based learning, examining its effect on the learning progress of elementary school students in Chinese language-arts. The authors recruited 126 4th graders (aged 9–10 years) from six classes in an elementary school in Taipei, Taiwan, with four classes as experimental group, and two classes as control group.
Throughout a six-week experimental period, while the control-group classes read e-books on personal computers for 20 minutes each week, two experimental-group classes were assigned to play the game Legendary Beast Rescue I (EG I), and the other two classes, the game Legendary Beast Rescue II (EG II) for the same time span as the students’ learning of Chinese language-arts. The two games differ in their rewards mechanisms, which serve as motivators and feedback to the player to continue with the game. EG I had a performance-contingent reward design, in which rewards are given based on the player’s performance of a task in the form of exceeding a certain threshold. EG II, on the other hand, used a completion-contingent reward design – once the task was complete, the player would receive in-game credits.
Test scores on language achievement and playing behaviours coding revealed that game-playing students outperformed their e-book reading counterparts. Further analysis investigated the effects of game mechanisms on students’ attention level and self-efficacy in Chinese language arts. With the performance-contingent reward game (EG I), students’ attention was significantly enhanced, probably due to the excitement from the higher chances of battling with monsters due to the setup of the reward system and the provision of visual feedback. As for the completion-contingent reward game (EG II), it significantly enhanced students’ emotions and confidence in Chinese language arts. The study has proven the effectiveness of using digital games as a medium in language learning in the context of elementary education.
Yu, Y.-T., & Tsuei, M. (2022). The effects of digital game-based learning on children’s Chinese language learning, attention and self-efficacy. Interactive Learning Environments. https://doi.org/10.1080/10494820.2022.2028855