Achievement Unlocked?: Understanding Perceptions, Challenges, and Implications of GBL in Classrooms

Achievement Unlocked?: Understanding Perceptions, Challenges, and Implications of GBL in Classrooms

Phu Vu (University of Nebraska at Kearney, USA) and Marissa A. Fye (University of Nebraska at Kearney, USA)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 11
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2015-4.ch013


Even though game-based learning is trending both in research and in practice, there is still a limited understanding about the relationships between teachers' and students' perceptions of academic achievement, levels of learning engagement, and challenges implementing this pedagogical approach in a PK-12 setting. Data used for this research project were extracted from responses to an annual online survey administered to teachers and students at middle schools and high schools in a Midwest state in America. The authors' results indicate that teachers and students agree that students were more engaged in class learning activities if they were managed like games, and GBL helped improve student academic performances. Finally, “Insufficient time” was the most common barrier to the teachers' effort of implementing GBL in their classrooms.
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Game-based learning (GBL) has been one of the hottest educational technology trends in PK-12 education in America (Moreno-Ger et al., 2008; Shaffer, Squire, Halverson, & Gee, 2005; Van, 2006; Vu, Fredrickson, Hoehner, & Ziebarth-Bovill, 2015). Many scholars have reported a significant relationship between GLB and students’ social interactions, affective development, increased motivation, increased engagement and attention, use of self-regulated learning, language development, increased attention, increased fun and fulfillment, and so forth (Annetta et al, 2009; Dalgarno & Lee, 2010; Ding, Hew & Cheung, 2010; Guan, & Yu, 2017; Gunter et al, 2008; Ke, 2008; Muratet et al, 2011). Such successes and relationships have been conceptualized under many theories including, but not limited to, cognitive theory, behavioral learning theories, connective learning theory, and some psychology theories (Ding et al. 2017). Ding et al. (2017) indicated that GBL connected the most with behavioral learning theory as the concepts of reinforcement, progressive tasks, challenges, and immediate feedback are present. Those researchers further expanded that several components for academic achievement were met by game-based learning. These variables were: (a) learner motivation; (b) knowledge; (c) the process of learning; (d) teaching focus; (e) engagement; (f) scaffolding/ guided learning; (g) teacher and student attitudes; and (h) feedback. Lin et al. (2017) also reported a statistically significant relationship between game-based learning methods and student’s knowledge (i.e. academic achievement). They predicted there would be a difference in competitive GBL and cooperative GBL strategies and accepted their null hypothesis (i.e. there was no difference). Their finding supports other’s notions that game-based learning is statistically effective for increasing academic achievement. Additionally, as a result of their study, educators might not have to worry about setting up a competitive or cooperative game in their curriculum as both increased knowledge (Lin et al., 2017). Hess and Gunter (2013) reported that students who enrolled in a GBL course took longer to complete the assignments and concluded the term with an average grade of 97.8% compared to nongame-based learners, who completed tasks faster and had an average grade of 88.2%. Additionally, Kim, Park, & Youngkyun (2009) reported that GBL had a positive impact on academic achievement when scaffolded with meta-cognitive strategies (i.e. self-recording, modeling, and thinking aloud).

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