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Research Roundup: The Latest Game-based Learning Insights

Educational games are not just a niche, but a dynamic and inclusive approach for learners of all ages and backgrounds! Today on the blog, we’re diving into a collection of groundbreaking studies featuring game-based learning, all published in 2023. 

These studies span a spectrum of subjects, from preschool education to vocational training, and shed light on the vast potential of incorporating digital games into diverse educational contexts. We’re excited to witness future discoveries in 2024 as researchers continue to explore the endless possibilities of learning games. While we eagerly await the studies that this year will produce, let’s go over some of the most notable game-based learning research from last year!

via Giphy

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A review of using digital game-based learning for preschoolers

This first study investigates the impact of digital game-based learning in early childhood education, addressing the need for a comprehensive understanding of its impact. Examining 37 articles, the authors of this review categorize their findings into four crucial areas: the objectives of current studies, the impact on children’s learning, underlying learning theories, and assessment methods in game-based learning applications. 

The results underscore the active influence of game-based learning in enhancing thinking skills and learning during childhood. Emphasizing its promise in facilitating education for young learners aged 2 to 6, this study positions game-based learning as a valuable tool for designing effective technology-driven training. The findings not only contribute to the ongoing evolution of game-based learning to fit a wide variety of learners’ needs, but also offer insights for other researchers, game designers, and developers navigating the field.

Gamification and Game Based Learning for Vocational Education and Training: A Systematic Literature Review

Setting out to explore the expanding role of gamification and game-based learning in Vocational Education and Training (VET), researchers conducted a systematic literature review on the subject. This review includes the analysis of seventeen studies that reveal a surging interest in gamification and game-based learning, particularly in Asia, with vocational schools in engineering and healthcare being focal points. 

The authors write that digital learning platforms and simulation technologies are promising tools. Their findings highlight the positive impact of gamification and game-based learning on academic performance, engagement, and motivation in vocational education learners. While acknowledging the digital skills gap among vocational instructors, the study underscores the transformative potential of gamified learning in preparing learners for the evolving demands of the future workforce and economy.

A game-based learning system based on octalysis gamification framework to promote employees’ Japanese learning

This study investigates the impact of a game-based learning system on language learning effectiveness for enterprise employees, specifically in Japanese as a second language. To accomplish this, researchers conducted a two-week experiment with 54 Taiwanese employees. 

Results affirmed that the game-based system significantly improved engagement in learning behaviors, performance, motivation, and immersion experience. Notably, the frequency of using intrinsic motivators positively correlated with better learning performance. The study contributes to the digital game-based language learning field, offering insights into effective game-based learning strategies for company employees and their impact on learning outcomes.

Game-Based Learning and Gamification in Physical Education: A Systematic Review

With a focus on the last ten years, these researchers conducted a systematic review to explore the impact of game-based learning and gamification in the context of physical education. Results highlighted the significance of game-based learning and gamification in enhancing student motivation, academic performance, and commitment to improving health and physical performance

The authors of this article also identify the benefits of these approaches in higher education, showcasing their effectiveness in improving motor control, academic performance, and health outcomes. Overall, this study aimed to contribute to the development of playful strategies in education, encouraging future exploration of diverse active learning methodologies to better cater to students’ needs.

The Effect of Digital Game-Based Learning Interventions on Cognitive, Metacognitive, and Affective-Motivational Learning Outcomes in School: A Meta-Analysis

This meta-analysis assesses the effectiveness of digital game-based learning interventions compared to traditional instruction methods, specifically in the school context. The study, covering the period from 2015 to 2020, aims to provide a theory-based examination of game-based learning interventions’ impact on various learning outcomes, including cognitive, metacognitive, and affective-motivational aspects. 

The results, analyzed using meta-analytic techniques and random-effects models, revealed a significant medium effect favoring game-based learning for overall learning and cognitive learning outcomes. A small effect was observed for affective-motivational outcomes, while no significant effect was found for metacognitive outcomes. Importantly, there was no evidence of publication bias, and further analyses did not identify moderating factors. These findings provide support for the positive impact of game-based learning interventions in the school setting, offering practical implications for educational practices.

Exploring the influence of competition and collaboration on learning performance in digital game-based learning

Recognizing competition’s potential for both enhancing learning performance and inducing psychological stress, these researchers aimed to explore the interplay between competition, collaboration, and learning outcomes. Utilizing a question bank practice game featuring intergroup competition and intragroup collaboration, researchers investigated these relationships. 

The findings reveal that perceived competition significantly outweighs perceived collaboration in influencing learning performance, with perceived competition directly impacting collaboration. Moreover, perceived competition not only directly affects behavioral intention but also exerts an indirect influence through perceived enjoyment, while perceived collaboration indirectly affects behavioral intention through perceived usefulness. Finally, the study highlights that behavioral intention directly impacts learning performance. 

All in all, this study demonstrates that the combination of competition and collaboration plays a pivotal role in influencing students’ learning performance in game-based learning, with competition being the dominant factor. The pleasure derived from competition encourages student engagement in game-based learning, subsequently impacting their learning performance. Additionally, competition fosters collaboration, further contributing to students’ individual learning benefits. Though this particular study doesn’t mention scholastic esports outright, we can’t help but think about what this research suggests about the effectiveness of educational game-driven esports events!

That concludes our exploration of the latest game-based learning insights! If you’re feeling inspired by this magnificent collection of recent game-based learning research, we invite you to join us in shaping the future of education through our bespoke educational game development services. The transformative power of game-based learning is evident in these studies (and so many others), and we are dedicated to bringing these insights to life in tailored, engaging, and effective educational games. If you’re looking to harness the potential of game-based learning for your specific needs, contact us today. Let’s collaborate to create innovative, impactful, and enjoyable learning experiences that inspire learners of all ages!

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