Dr. Rick Blunt, founder of serious games developer BX-Games, has analyzed and collected the results from three studies testing the relationship between the use of video games and learning. Blunt claims that the tests "were the first hard data studies into game-based learning."
The studies, conducted over a period of two years at an east coast university, each tested two groups of students enrolled in the same course. One small group of students from each class played a serious game application during the course, while the rest of the class did not participate in game-based learning. All students were then quizzed with a series of questions taken from the course text.
The results of the first study, collected from an "Introduction to Business and Technology" course, found that the non-gaming group's average test score was 80 percent. Students who played a related serious game scored above 90 percent on average.
In terms of letter grades, more than 70 percent of game-playing students earned an "A" on the test. Less than 40 percent of non-playing students scored an "A" on the exam.
The second study focused on a "Principles of Economics" class, and examined the effects of game-based learning on gender. Among the non-gaming control group, males earned slightly higher test scores than females on average. In the gaming group, females surpassed the average male grade. Both gaming groups saw average score increases of more than 10 percentage points each, compared to the control group.
A third study, conducted in a "Principles of Management" course, compared exam score means, gender means, ethnicity means, and age means. Game-playing students of all ethnicities earned significantly higher grades than non-gamers, and nearly all age groups (with the 41-50 bracket as the lone exception) scored higher with game-based learning.
The full text of Blunt's report can be found at eLearn Magazine