Meluso, A., Zheng, M., Spires, H., & Lester, J. (2012). Enhancing 5th graders’ science content knowledge and self-efficacy through game-based learning. Computers and Education, 59(2),497-504.
In this article, the authors discuss their research study that investigated the effects of collaborative and single player game conditions on science learning content as well as science self-efficacy for a group of fifth-grade students. The article begins with an introduction of the problem and states that while educational gaming was a growing field of use and interest in STEM education, research that existed at the time still demonstrated conflicting findings concerning its effectiveness with increasing learning gains. It also introduces the importance of self-efficacy as a predictor for science success and future science careers for students. Meluso and her colleagues then describe existing literature concerning gaming and science learning increases as well as studies that demonstrated no difference in learning outcomes. They also outline studies that have found promising research concerning educational gaming and increases in self-efficacy, but state that more research is needed in both areas. Then, the authors share details on the game used for the study, Crystal Island, as well as their measurement tools (pre and post-assessments and questions adapted from self-efficacy scales) and data collection methods. Finally, they discuss their results that gaming conditions (single player versus collaborative) did not impact science content knowledge or self-efficacy. They share possible limitations to their study such as the idea that their directions for the collaborative condition may have not been specific enough as should have designated roles to players, for example. They end by stressing areas for future research.
Meluso and her colleagues offer a well-developed literature review that connects directly to the research problem they are seeking to investigate. Their first area of inquiry is on gaming conditions and science content knowledge, which connects to the first section of their literature review. This section points out positive findings in existing literature as well findings of no difference in content knowledge improvement, which also demonstrates a need for their study. Their other area of inquiry concerns gaming conditions and science self-efficacy. They also connect this directly to their literature review by sharing the studies that had begun to look at gaming and self-efficacy. Finally, although it appears that no previous research may have existed on the specific impacts of collaborative gaming on science content-knowledge and self-efficacy, the authors manage to establish relationship between the three concepts by sharing studies that found positive effects of collaborative gaming and stating that the specific effects remained to be investigated.
This article connects to my current research interests because it discusses impacts of learning conditions (collaborative versus single-player gaming) on learning outcomes and self-efficacy. As I have lately had some interest on how motivation can be impacted through the use of assistive technology for K-12 students, I connected with the authors’ study of self-efficacy effects in particular and I liked seeing how they measured this. I will keep this in mind as I further develop my personal research ideas.