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Attila Pásztor: Challanges and Possibilities in Digital Game-Based Learning: Effectiveness of a Playful Inductive Reasoning Training Program

The aim of this study is to investigate the effectiveness of an online training game which develops inductive reasoning strategies through tasks embedded in mathematical content. Participants were 314 primary school children in Years 3 and 4. Participants (N=88) received a five-week-long computer-based training (20- to 40-min. sessions) in the school’s ICT room. The control group was matched based on pre-test scores, year and gender. Klauer’s model of inductive reasoning and his concept of Cognitive training for children (Klauer, 1989) were applied to develop the training program. The online game consisted of 120 learning tasks with varied embedded mathematical content (e.g. recognizing and discriminating relations or attributes through mathematical operations, number series or units of measurement). In order to enhance learning, immediate feedback and, in the case of failure, instructional support were provided for every learning task. An inductive reasoning test was used to assess the near transfer effect of the training (43 figural, non-verbal items, Cronbach’s α=.86). Children’s attitudes toward the game were measured with five-point-scale questionnaire items after the training. The Electronic Diagnostic Assessment System (eDia) was used in order to deliver both the assessment and the training material. The experimental group scored significantly higher on the post-test (t(174)=-2.288, p=.02). The effectiveness of the program proved to be unrelated to gender (t(86)=-.520, p=.60 or year t(86)=-.425, p=.67). The effect size of the training program was d=.33. Children reported that they enjoyed playing the game and had positive attitudes towards it. Further analyses of the data revealed that not every child improved during the training and that two of the inductive strategies did not develop significantly at the group level. Due to the inherent assessment techniques in the game, incorrectly functioning learning tasks can be identified empirically in order to further develop the tasks generally. Our findings demonstrate an example of how to integrate mathematical content and reasoning strategies into a digital game-based learning environment. It is recommended that further studies should investigate the long-term transfer effect of the training and the influence of additional game elements (e.g. game story) on learning achievement.

MAGYAR PEDAGÓGIA 114. Number 4. 281-302. (2014)

Levelezési cím / Address for correspondence: Pásztor Attila, Szegedi Tudományegyetem, Neveléstudományi Doktori Iskola, H–6722 Szeged, Petőfi S. sgt. 30–34.


Magyar Tudományos Akadémia