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Research Roundup: K-12 Game-Based Learning

Our team could talk all day about the many benefits of game-based learning in K-12 classrooms. From helping players develop key 21st century skills, to promoting social and emotional learning (SEL) outcomes, and even helping engage learners who struggle with more traditional instructional methods, it’s clear that educational video games hold incredible potential as teaching tools for educators of all subjects. Which is exactly what inspired us to work with real teachers to create our free How to Teach with Games eBook! 🎮🍎

But don’t simply take our word for it – check out the studies below for a closer look at the latest research highlighting the advantages of using learning games in K-12 classroom settings:

Teacher Perceptions of the Value of Game-Based Learning in Secondary Education

The culmination of more than 40 interviews with educators who actively use digital games in their classrooms, the results of this study indicate that most surveyed teachers believe student engagement and learning outcomes are positively affected as a result of learning game integration.

Digital Games, Design and Learning: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

This 2014 meta-analysis from research firm SRI International suggests that digital game use among students is shown to significantly enhance student learning outcomes when studied in comparison to similar non-game learning conditions.

iCivics’ Baylor University Study

Studying the learning outcomes of fifth through ninth grade students who played iCivics learning games while simultaneously engaging in civics-related activities at a free summer civics institute, the results of post-program surveys conducted by Baylor University indicate that students departed the program with an increased understanding of civics principles, improved attitudes towards civic engagement, and an increased belief in their ability to make a difference in their communities.

Level Up Learning: A National Survey on Teaching With Digital Games

Finding that nearly three quarters of educators actively use learning games as teaching tools with their students, this robust survey conducted by the Joan Ganz Cooney Center shines a spotlight on the many different methods – and benefits – of educational game implementation in K8 classrooms.

Filament Learning Studies

It’s well-known that we offer our own collection of curriculum-supported, classroom-ready learning games in our online Filament Learning storefront. But did you know that several of the games in our library are backed by efficacy studies of their own? It’s true – and they’re accessible exclusively on our site:

Planet Mechanic Classroom Study

The study supports the findings of prior evidence that the benefits of game-based learning are greatest when teachers complement educational game play with a mix of additional surrounding activities. Popular YouTube channel Extra Credits even made a video about our study – check it out here!

Backyard Engineers: A Case Study

This case study evaluated the learning gains of 63 seventh grade students who played our energy and engineering learning game Backyard Engineers. Not only did students report enjoying the game, the results also indicated an increase in test scores when comparing performance on a pre- and post test.

Reach for the Sun: A Case Study

After playing our plant structures and processes learning game Reach for the Sun, students with lower reading levels self-reported increased learning, while general student interest in learning about plant biology was improved across the board.

Molecubes: A Case Study

Conducted in order to determine the efficacy of using states of matter learning game Molecubes in conjunction with traditional classroom methods, this case study finds the majority of studied students (~75%) felt their understanding of molecular biology benefitted from gameplay.

Check out our past roundups for more game-based learning research studies:

Research Roundup: Corporate Training and Adult Learning
Research Roundup: Game-Based Language Learning
Game-Based Learning Research Roundup 2017


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