Game-Based Accounting Learning: The Impact of Games in Learning Introductory Accounting

Game-Based Accounting Learning: The Impact of Games in Learning Introductory Accounting

Kavita A. Shah (Dubai Women's Campus, Higher Colleges of Technology, Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
DOI: 10.4018/IJISSS.2017100102


Accounting students should enrich themselves with the technical knowledge, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills to be successful in today's competitive environment. To reach these objectives, they should be highly engaged and motivated in the learning process. It has been argued that games can play a useful role in making the study of accounting more interesting, hence increasing motivation. The research presented in this paper explores the impact of learning in an introductory accounting course attributable to the use of games supplementary to the traditional teaching methods. The perceptions of 18 students and six faculties at a tertiary institution in the United Arab Emirates relating to the integration of games in an introductory accounting course were uncovered through semi structured interviews. Prior to the students being interviewed, they had been given the opportunity to play three different types of games in a controlled classroom. The exploratory research found that faculty and students believe that games can motivate students and maintain their enthusiasm and interest in learning in an introductory accounting course. However, faculty are generally not in a favour of introducing accounting concepts in introductory accounting course to students through games. They do agree that games should be used for practicing homework and as fillers in an introductory accounting course. The study accentuates that games are one of the motivational factors to maintain student's interest in the course consistently. This exploratory research will give an idea of innovative learning in the accounting class. It will assist accounting faculty to understand the fact that the use of games can make complex and quantitative subjects like accounting easy to understand and fun without sacrificing the quality of students' foundation learning in the subject.
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Literature Review

To flourish in today’s ever-changing professional milieu accounting graduates must emerge with technical knowledge, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills (Geiger & Ogilby, 2000). In order to increase the probability of students accomplishing these outcomes it is desirable that students are both engaged and motivated in the study of accounting. However, research suggests that accounting students find the study of accounting to be boring (Geiger & Ogilby, 2000; Marriott & Marriott, 2003). Boredom has often been linked with low levels of motivation amongst students (e.g., Strong, Silver, Perini, & Tuculescu, 2003).

The use of games in education is thought to promote higher levels of engagement and motivation amongst students, and subsequently on student achievement (Haystead, 2009). For example, Lee et al (2004) observed that US 2nd graders who used games programmed onto a game boy cartridge solved three times more math problems than students who were taught math using traditional methods. Seonju (2002) argues that games are very useful for students to develop their problem-solving skills, as they are exploring their practical application in the game environment. Research indicates that student motivation to play games is high, and that this contributes to a positive learning environment (Batson & Feinberg, 2006).

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