In today's main feature written for Gamasutra sister site Serious Games Source
, which deals with games created for training, health, government, and other uses, we present a summary of “Toward a Comprehensive Research Agenda for Game-based Learning," a Serious Games Summit D.C. session by Alicia Sanchez, a research scientist at Old Dominion University.
In this excerpt, Sanchez explains some of the difficulties surrounding the use of serious games in education, specifically with regards to showing evidence as to their effectiveness in the classroom and within other educational settings:
“The difficulty in gathering evidence to show the effectiveness of non-entertainment game is that they are so widely diverse in their aims. Still, Sanchez maintains that there’s much to gain in figuring out their commonalities and examining how or whether games, in general, are useful as an educational device.
“When we look at a single game, there are many characteristics that could influence its success or failure that might not necessarily be indicative of the potential of games as a learning tool,” Sanchez said. “A good game, for example, might increase motivation and time on task, while a sub-par game might not have this effect. But right now we don’t really even have a way to judge the quality of serious games. Debates still exist on whether or not serious games need to be fun to be able to teach.”
And though research is needed, there are obstacles to obtaining it, not least of which is the fact that many serious games are not openly available to the public. In addition, the developers working on the game, content creators, and financial supporters (grant-providers, government, independent investors, and so forth) aren’t likely to make research their first priority when under the pressures of producing a massive project, like an electronic game.”
You can now read the full Serious Games Source feature on the subject
, including more concerning creating a research agenda for studying educational games. (no registration required, please feel free to link to this feature from external websites).