Game-Based Learning in Design History

Game-Based Learning in Design History

Barbara Martinson, Sauman Chu
Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 11
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-808-6.ch027
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Games are increasingly being used to teach content in a variety of courses from elementary to graduate education. This study investigates the effectiveness of using a game, to learning design history content, and it examines students’ preferred learning activities based on learning styles. Forty-two students played a computer game and then responded to a 10-item quiz. Learning style or times played did not impact achievement on the quiz. Students did prefer games as a learning tool, but equally preferred lecture and projects. This study does indicate that games can be used as tools to teach various types of information within a college course. Games added variety to the design history course and made learning facts more fun. The concrete nature of the game was appropriate for this particular group of students, most of whom had concrete learning styles. Finally, the recycling of a previously designed learning object made the project affordable in terms of time and money.
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Objectives And Research Questions

The objective of this research is to determine if games can be used in the college classroom and to examine the relationship of learning style to achievement when a game-based learning object has been used as part of a design history course. Our research questions are:

  • 1.

    Will students remember content presented in the game?

  • 2.

    Do students with a certain learning style tend to do better on a quiz that includes content from the game?

  • 3.

    Do students indicate a preference for the game (as measured by a survey) based on learning style?

This project is purposefully limited to a basic learning activity"acquiring knowledge of facts. Future studies could study the interaction of learning style with higher-thinking skills. Our hunch is that students with concrete learning styles will have a greater affinity for this learning game as it emphasizes concrete knowledge.


Games are increasingly being used in educational technology. Salen and Zimmerman (2002) define game as:

Key Terms in this Chapter

Learning Styles: Individually preferred ways of learning.

Edutainment: Describes the combination of education and entertainment in order to enhance learning.

Visual Attention: The ability to respond and interact with multiple stimulations.

Design History: In this design history course, students learn about the development of visual communication. Beginning with ancient forms of writing, early picture-making, and hand-drawn letterforms such as Celtic and Carolingian scripts, students learn the origin of current alphabet forms.

Iconic Skills: The ability to recognize and quickly process visual information.

Learning Modules: Small units of teaching content that can be combined to enhance learning experience.

Learning Objects: Basic educational tools that can be adapted to a variety of learning environments.

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