The Role of Emotions in Game-Based Learning

The Role of Emotions in Game-Based Learning

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3398-6.ch004


There is an important relationship between learning (academic achievement) and emotions. Students engagement in classroom activities are usually described as a function of factors such as human needs, affect, intention, motivation, interest, and identity. Research studies suggest that students have a better learning experience when they like the teacher and the curriculum. Several articles have suggested the importance of linking situational and dispositional negative or positive emotions to academic achievement, which suggests that researchers have learned much about emotions and achievement by considering the potential moderating role of effortful control (EC) and the mediating role that cognitive processes, motivational mechanisms, and classroom relationships seem to play in linking emotions with achievement.
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Minority Students

The research discussed above clearly suggests that there is no simple relationship, despite various testing instruments, when we examine the correlationship between emotions and learning (or academic achievement). When we interject race / minority students in this inquiry the matter is a little more complex. For example, there has been a great deal of discussion, over the past forty years, about the educational disparities between African Americans and the larger population. Studies indicate that African American students often feel isolated and alienated in predominately white institutions and often do not feel included in the college environment and college community. A previous study examined the relationship between the emotions that students experience in a first-year university course, their approaches to learning in that course, and their academic performance in that course. Both students’ approaches to learning and their emotions experienced in relation to their studies are known from previous research to be related to the quality of their learning outcomes. A wide range of variables are also known to be related to the approaches students take to their learning.

Several factors can assist in explaining part of this educational disparity. Most minority students in college come from socially and economically impoverished families and communities. Many of these students are often the first in their families to go to college. Many first-generation minority students have a difficult time in educational institutions because of their lack of personal and social support skills (Dennis, Phinney, & Chuateco, 2005).

A large number of these students are told how challenging college can be and that only the exceptional students get recognition. They are encouraged to apply for community colleges or to schools less prestigious ivy league institutions. This can lead some of these students to feel the “imposter syndrome”. They think and feel that they don’t really belong in these institutions; as if they are faking it when it comes higher education. They exhibit high anxiety and self-doubt on tests and some writing assignments. Some of these barriers are formed long before these students enter college. They began in economically deprived public schools, social and economically deprived families, and poor communities. Many of these schools lack the necessary supplies (e.g. new books, art supplies, musical equipment, computers, culturally diverse educational programs, video equipment, relevant cultural diverse curriculums). Equally important, the school’s curriculum lacks a real/accurate understanding of the minority cultural perspective. It may be helpful if there is an understanding that significant differences exist between minority culture and white culture.

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