Game-based learning environments affect frontal brain activity
journal contributionposted on 03.12.2020, 13:53 by Silvia Erika Kober, Guilherme Wood, Kristian Kiili, Korbinian Moeller, Manuel Ninaus
Inclusion of game elements in learning environments to increase motivation and learning outcome is becoming increasingly popular. However, underlying mechanisms of game-based learning have not been studied sufficiently yet. In the present study, we investigated effects of game-based learning environments on a neurofunctional level. In particular, 59 healthy adults completed a game-based version (including game elements such as a narrative and virtual incentives) as well as a non-game-based version of a number line estimation task, to improve fractional knowledge, while their brain activity was monitored using near-infrared spectroscopy. Behavioral performance was comparable across the two versions, although there was a tendency that less errors were made in the game-based version. However, subjective user experience differed significantly between versions. Participants rated the game-based version as more attractive, novel, and stimulating but less efficient than the non-game-based version. Additionally, positive affect was reported to be higher while engaging in the game-based as compared to the non-game-based task version. Corroborating these user reports, we identified increased brain activation in areas associated with emotion and reward processing while playing the game-based version, which might be driven by rewarding elements of the game-based version. Moreover, frontal areas associated with attention were also more activated in the game-based version of the task. Hence, we observed converging evidence on a user experience and neurofunctional level indicating that the game-based version was more rewarding as well as emotionally and attentionally engaging. These results underscore the potential of game-based learning environments to promote more efficient learning by means of attention and reward up-tuning.
Read the paper on the publisher website
Leibniz-Competition Fund (SAW-2016-IWM-3)
Leibniz-WissenschaftsCampus “Cognitive Interfaces” (MWK-WCT TP12)
University of Graz
- Mathematics Education Centre