Game-Based Training to Promote Arithmetic Fluency
journal contributionposted on 25.09.2020, 11:05 by Timothy Jay, Jake Habgood, Martyn Mees, Paul Howard-Jones
The research team designed and evaluated a mobile game to promote rapid retrieval of arithmetic facts among a group of children aged 7–8 years (n = 97). The design of the game was based on principles drawn from research literature in mathematical cognition, game-based learning, and game design. The game trains basic number knowledge within a motivating context. It tested an implication of theory of automatization of arithmetic facts that training of recognition of multiples of single-digit numbers should lead to greater fluency in solving multiplication and division problems. A quasi-experimental design was employed to test whether the game improves retrieval of arithmetic facts. Children played the game in their classrooms for 20 min a day for 2 weeks. Comparisons between pre- and post-tests showed that the game playing group outperformed controls with a medium to large effect size (>0.6). These results suggest an improvement in arithmetic fluency equivalent to around 7 months' progress and provide rare empirical evidence supporting transfer of game-based training to a pencil-and-paper test. The findings are consistent with a connectionist theory of arithmetic skill, by showing that improved recognition of multiples contributes to multiplication and division skill. The theoretical and practical implications of these findings are discussed.
Research Project Grant from the Leverhulme Trust
- Mathematics Education Centre