2011 Research Findings Report

Students stuying on laptops

The overall evaluation of this project was designed to investigate the extent and nature of the impact of games-based learning on teacher practice and student learning and the circumstances that influence this impact. A mixed method approach to this evaluation resulted in an extensive range of data collected from principals, teachers and students across all schools. More focused studies were also conducted in selected schools.

Key findings across the three streams of the 2011 IWT Games-based Learning trials include:

  • Game-based activity is effective when embedded within curriculum and supported by directed learning principles and goals.
  • Game-based learning empowers students to build essential skills such as problem solving, decision making, communication, collaboration, negotiation, team work, creativity, leadership, and critical thinking. Eighty-seven per cent of the teachers involved in the research found that as a result of games-based learning, students took a greater responsibility for their own work as it fostered an environment for inquiry based learning and problem solving strategies.
  • Collaborative learning increased substantially across the three game strands. In many cases the classrooms were changing towards a ‘community of inquiry and collaboration’.
  • Game-based learning transformed the classroom dynamic. The teachers became the facilitators of the learning and the students were empowered by becoming the game experts. In this environment both students and teachers learnt together.
  • Peer to peer teaching was significantly strengthened as was peer to peer learning among the students.
  • Games positively transformed teaching and learning processes and outcomes. Playing games can be about taking risks and many teachers noted that the mindset of students had changed. They were not looking for the answers but they were taking risks with their learning process in a more open-ended problem solving environment without explicit instruction.
  • 83% of teachers who participated in the project survey strongly agreed that there is a strong alignment between games-based learning activities and outcomes, and the six DEECD Principles of Teaching and Learning (POLT).
  • Games-based activities provided authentic learning opportunities that linked to real life experiences. This provided both students and teachers with unique teaching and learning opportunities. This led to a significant increase in motivation, confidence and commitment from students to their learning.
  • All teachers participating in the trials are committed to continuing games-based learning into 2012 and aim to extend this to different class groups and VELS domains. They believe that participation in the 2011 IWT Games-based Learning trials has provided them with a new insight into effective teaching and learning and has changed the way that they will teach in the future.

For a full copy of the report, see: Findings to Inform School Practice (PDF - 588Kb) (pdf - 587.69kb)