Playing educational video games can boost kids` motivation to learn

ANI| Last Updated: Nov 07, 2013, 19:00 PM IST

Washington: A new study has suggested that educational video games can enhance students' motivation to learn, but it may depend on how students play.

In a study of middle-schoolers, researchers at New York University and the City University of New York have found that while playing a math video game either competitively or collaboratively with another player- as compared to playing alone- students adopted a mastery mindset that is highly conducive to learning.

Moreover, students' interest and enjoyment in playing the math video game increased when they played with another student.

"We found support for claims that well-designed games can motivate students to learn less popular subjects, such as math, and that game-based learning can actually get students interested in the subject matter-and can broaden their focus beyond just collecting stars or points," Jan Plass, a professor in NYU's Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development and one of the study's lead authors, said.

The researchers focused on how students' motivation to learn, as well as their interest and performance in math, was affected by playing a math video game either individually, competitively, or collaboratively.

Researchers looked at two main types of motivational orientations: mastery goal orientation, in which students focus on learning, improvement, and the development of abilities, and performance goal orientation, in which students focus on validating their abilities.

The findings revealed that students who played the math game either competitively or collaboratively reported the strongest mastery goal orientation s, which indicates that students adopted an optimal mindset for learning while playing the video game with others.

Their results also showed that students playing under competitive situations performed best in the game. In addition, those playing in both competitive and collaborative conditions experienced the greatest interest and enjoyment.

The study is published in the Journal of Educational Psychology.