Game-Based Learning and Information Literacy: A Randomized Controlled Trial to Determine the Efficacy of Two Information Literacy Learning Experiences

Game-Based Learning and Information Literacy: A Randomized Controlled Trial to Determine the Efficacy of Two Information Literacy Learning Experiences

Scott Neal Wilson (The University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma, USA), Caroline E. Engler (The University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma, USA), Jessica E. Black (The University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma, USA), Derik K. Yager-Elorriaga (The University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma, USA), William Michael Thompson (The University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma, USA), Andrae McConnell (The University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma, USA), Javier Elizondo Cecena (The University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma, USA), Ryan Ralston (The University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma, USA) and Robert A. Terry (The University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma, USA)
Copyright: © 2017 |Pages: 21
DOI: 10.4018/IJGBL.2017100101
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Abstract

In the 21st century, students have access to a plethora of information. As such, the skills required to access and effectively sort through this information (information literacy skills) become ever more important for success in both academic and non-academic settings. This study sought to assess the efficacy of two educational games designed to increase high school students' information literacy skills. Using a randomized controlled trial in a high school setting, the games were integrated into a standard curriculum and tested for efficacy. Post-test results indicated that both games effectively transmit targeted skills. Additionally, improved performance (relative to controls) on end-of-instruction testing (EOI; end-of-year state testing) suggest that these skills transfer across important academic domains. The study provides strong evidence to support the use of these two educational games to supplement and enhance information literacy instruction.
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Information Literacy

The term information literacy (IL) is used to describe the skills needed to utilize a wide range of information tools to create solutions to problems (Zurkowski, 1974). Though first applied to librarianship (Zurkowski, 1974), IL skills are now recognized as necessary tools required to navigate today’s information age (Fabbi, 2015; Obama, 2009; U.S. National Commission on Library and Information Science, 2003). In 1989, the Presidential Committee on Information Literacy defined IL as the expertise required for an individual to recognize, locate, evaluate, and use information (American Library Association). The American Association of School Librarians (AASL) reiterated the complexity and underlined the importance of IL skills in its Standards for the 21st-Century Learner (Johns, 2008). Recognition of the importance of IL skills continues to increase. As such, renewed efforts to incorporate IL into secondary education abound, and considerable resources have been allocated to concretely define the construct (Rader, 2002).

The evolving definition of IL has been influenced by its relationship to other competencies including computer literacy, library literacy, media literacy, network literacy, and visual literacy (Breivik, 2005). These literacies share a unique requirement: to be considered literate in a particular field one must be able to access, manage, integrate, evaluate, and create information (International ICT Literary Panel, 2007). For the purposes of this research, we define IL as the ability to: (1) identify problems that stem from a lack of information; (2) efficiently access, gather, and manage necessary information from a variety of credible sources; (3) consider multiple interpretations and uses and synthesize information to construct new knowledge; (4) utilize newly constructed knowledge to identify solutions; and (5) communicate the information in a manner appropriate to the audience being addressed (Addison & Meyers, 2013; Bruce, Hughes, & Somerville, 2012; Crane et al., 2003; Vanderpol, Brown, & Iannuzzi, 2008). This definition, as well as National and State Standards, were closely observed during development of both the Verona and Bavaria games (University of Oklahoma, 2015b, 2015a). Both games were designed to increase students’ ability to identify and utilize appropriate pieces of information through a specific subset of skills.

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