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Friday, October 4 • 4:30pm - 5:30pm
Game Based Learning: The Effect of Word Games and Elaboration on Learning Science Concepts

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Word games have been used for many years in a variety of science settings to learn technical vocabulary, and improve scientific thinking. However, there are few controlled, experiments with word games, and even fewer that evaluate the effectiveness in terms of performance. Therefore, we do not have evidence-based best practices for implementing word games, despite the fact that they are prominently used. In this paper we start to bridge this gap and describe an experiment to evaluate the effect of word games and word games + elaboration on learning. Using a within-subject design, 29 students participated in a controlled randomized experiment. Results indicate that a word game + elaboration study session was statistically more effective for learning than a word game alone (effect size .67) or a control condition (effect size 1.7). The word game condition was also more effective than the control condition (effect size of 1.0). These learning effects were measured more than one day after the study task. Ninety percent of students reported enjoying the word game more than their typical study method, and more than 50% thought it was more effective. Implications for these results are broad, suggesting that a 20-minute word game if implemented correctly can have a large effect on scientific learning.


Shane Mueller

Associate Professor, Michigan Technological University

Warat Khaewratana

Graduate Student, Michigan Technological University

Friday October 4, 2019 4:30pm - 5:30pm PDT
Pacific Ballroom D 311 Peltason Dr., Irvine, CA, 92697

Attendees (6)