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Game on: The impact of game features in computer-based training

, University of Central Florida, United States

University of Central Florida . Awarded


The term “serious games” became popularized in 2002 as a result of an initiative to promote the use of games for education, training, and other purposes. Today, many companies are using games for training and development, often with hefty price tags. For example, the development budget for the U.S. Army recruiting game, “America’s Army” was estimated at $7 million. Given their increasing use and high costs, it is important to understand whether game-based learning systems perform as billed.

Research suggests that games do not always increase learning outcomes over conventional instruction. However, certain game features (e.g., rules/goals, fantasy, challenge) might be more beneficial for increasing learner motivation and learning outcomes than other game features. This study manipulated two specific game features: multimedia-based fantasy (vs. text-based fantasy) and reward (vs. no reward) in a computer-based training program on employment law. Participants (N=169) were randomly assigned to one of the four experimental conditions or to a traditional computer-based training condition.

Contrary to hypotheses, the traditional PowerPoint-like version was found to lead to better declarative knowledge outcomes on the learning test than the most game-like version, although no differences were found between conditions on any of the other dependent variables. Participants in all conditions were equally motivated to learn, were equally satisfied with the learning experience, completed an equal number of practice exercises, performed equally well on the declarative knowledge and skill-based practice, and performed equally well on the skill-based learning test. This suggests that adding the “bells and whistles” of game features to a training program won’t necessarily improve learner motivation and training outcomes.


DeRouin-Jessen, R.E. Game on: The impact of game features in computer-based training. Ph.D. thesis, University of Central Florida. Retrieved February 22, 2019 from .

This record was imported from ProQuest on October 22, 2013. [Original Record]

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