An Examination of Game-Based Learning from Theories of Flow Experience and Cognitive Load

An Examination of Game-Based Learning from Theories of Flow Experience and Cognitive Load

Chih-Hung Lai, Chih-Ming Chu, Hsiang-Hsuan Liu, Shun-Bo Yang, Wei-Hsuan Chen
Copyright: © 2013 |Pages: 13
DOI: 10.4018/ijdet.2013100102
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This study aims to discuss whether game-based learning with the integration of games and digital learning could enhance not only the flow experience in learning but achieve the same flow experience in pure games. In addition, the authors discovered that whether the game-based learning could make learners to reveal higher cognitive load. The effects of computer-assisted learning, computer games, and computer-assisted learning on the fifth-grade students are compared. The results showed that game-based learning is able to promote and achieve the same flow experience in games as well as increase the learners’ cognitive load. However, repeatedly using such software would not present significant difference on cognitive load.
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In the booming and widely applied computer technology era, computer-assisted learning (CAL) has become popular to enhance students’ learning (Huang, 2011; Wilfried, Jantina, Sanne, & Geert ten, 2011). CAL has certain advantages, such as improving academic results (Dickey, 2011), and enhancing learning attitude (Miller, Chang, Wang, Beier, & Klisch, 2011), but it appears rather attractive in the very beginning, the concentration of students involved in CAL dropped from the start when the frequently use of program increases (Levy, 2007). Therefore, e-learning requires additional assistance for learners continuously proceeding learning (Mayer & Moreno, 2003).

In recent years, computer games has been ubiquitous from media, schools to societies (Căţălina & George, 2012), which present the advantages of inducing intrinsic motivation, enhancing interests, retaining memories, and offering practices, feedbacks, and complex-level thinking (Coller & Scott, 2009; Kebritchi & Hirumi, 2008; Pasin & Giroux, 2011). Moreover, games provide the users for more control ability so that they may pay much concentration and increase the cheerfulness of cognition (Hassan & Poopak, 2012). Consequently, lots of researches considered games are capable of enhancing the flow experience (Massimini & Carli, 1988; Pearce & Ainley, 2005; Jackson & Eklund, 2002). With flow experience, computer games are not simply a recreational entertainment, but could also assist in continuous learning (Fasli & Michalakopoulos, 2006; Kurt et al., 2004, 2008; Shaffer, 2004; Shaffer, et al.) and active learning (Taradi, Taradi, Radic, & Pokrajac, 2005). Moreover, there are a lot of positive appraisals of computer games towards learning. For instance, computer game-based learning combines practice, imaginary, and rules for passing the barriers with repeated operations (Forst, Wortham, & Reifel, 2001). That is, repeated games could deepen the learning effects (Ebner & Holzinger, 2007). Actively participating in learning so is considered as a method to reinforce the learning effects and help the learners to discover more interesting learning approaches beyond traditional textbooks (Embi & Hussain, 2005). In this case, Ang and Radha (2003) considered that learning through games could enhance enjoyment which was becoming a favorable method towards learning. Therefore, this study aimed to apply game-based learning with the combination of games and e-learning to enhance the flow experience in learning and solve the perplexities of concentration shortage and high drop-out rate in e-learning. Nevertheless, whether the combination of games and learning would result in cognitive overload is regarded as a critical problem (Kerres, Bormann, & Vervenne, 2009). Besides, it’s less discussed if flow experience and cognitive load resulted from game-based learning which could reduce the learning intention similar to the repeated using of general e-learning systems. For this reason, the self-designed computer game system is utilized as the experimental tool, and the subjects are divided into computer game group, game-based learning group, and computer-assisted learning group to discuss whether the comprehension of computer games in learning would enhance and achieve the same flow experience in computer games or appear extreme effects on cognitive load. The change of game-based learning in flow experience and cognitive load are further analyzed when repeatedly using the game-based learning system.

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