Summary of a Literature Review on The Effectiveness of Instructional Games by Robert Hays

Karl Kapp, Kapp Notes, Jan 15, 2013
Commentary by Stephen Downes

In summary (quoted from the article):

  • The empirical research on the effectiveness of instructional games is fragmented.
  • (It) does not tell us whether to use a game for our specific instructional task.
  • There is no evidence to indicate that games are the preferred instructional method in all situations.
  • Include debriefing and feedback so the learners understand what happened in the game.
  • Instructional support... increases the instructional effectiveness of the gaming experience.

Karl Kapp also summarizes some recommendations from the paper, for example, including recommending "a detailed analysis of the learning requirements" and that "instructors should view instructional games as adjuncts and aids." Given the fragmentated nature of the literature, I would hesitate to endorse the recommendations.

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