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Videogame-based learning: a comparison of direct and indirect effects across outcomes




Sanchez, Diana R., author
Kraiger, Kurt, advisor
Gibbons, Alyssa, advisor
Maynard, Travis, committee member
Troup, Lucy, committee member
Prince, Mark, committee member

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Recent years have shown a rise in the application of serious games used by organizations to help trainees learn and practice job related skills (Muntean, 2011). Some sources have projected a continued growth in the development and application of video games for novel purposes (Sanders, 2015). Despite the increasing use of video games for workplace training, there is limited research evidence to justify the use of video games for learning. Additionally, this research has generated mixed results on the utility of serious games (Guillen-Nieto & Aleson-Carbonell, 2012). One contribution of this study is a review of the research literature to understand why videogame-based learning research is producing inconsistent results. From this review, I present several current challenges in the research literature that may be contributing to these inconsistencies; distinguishing videogames from similar training media, identifying game characteristics, exploring the possible mechanisms in the training experience, differentiating training outcomes, and making accurate implications for research. The purpose of this study is to design and test a new approach to game-based learning research that would explore the context in which games are effective learning tools. This study tested and expanded the model from Garris et al.'s (2002) game-based learning I-P-O model to determine the extent to which one game characteristic (i.e., human interaction) influences two training outcomes (i.e., declarative knowledge and affective states), as well as the possible mechanisms through which this occurs. The present study found that active learning is a mechanism through which human interaction influences both declarative knowledge and affective states. Although the effect size was large for affective states, it was small for declarative knowledge. The mediating effect of active learning was greater for the relationship between human interaction and affective states than for the relationship between human interaction and declarative knowledge. I also found that perceived value mediates the relationship between human interaction and affective states.


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human interaction
serious games
video games
learning outcomes
game-based learning


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