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Does game-based learning affect students’ achievement emotions?
By Winnie Tam, Centre for University and School Partnership, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Compared to traditional instruction, students learning through educational games might gain more in academic achievement. According to self-determination theory and control-value theory, game-based learning (GBL) promotes students’ positive achievement emotions (PAE, e.g., joy, confidence, hope) and reduces negative achievement emotions (NAE, e.g., anxiety, frustration, feeling empty) because educational games can be fun and students experience more freedom and autonomy with them. However, some scholars argue that too much leeway or failing to achieve goals in the game could lead to NAE (e.g., hesitancy, disappointment, upset).
A recent meta-analysis by Lei and colleagues examined 61 effect sizes from 43 studies from years 2000 to 2021 to determine the overall effect of GBL on students’ achievement emotions (both positive and negative), and moderation effects (e.g., game type, cultural values, grade level). Eligible studies followed an experimental group design or a quasi-experimental design conducted in primary schools up to university. The results of the meta-analysis are shown below.
Though the operational definition of educational games of many studies included in this meta-analysis was not clearly and consistently specified, the authors believed that this study could provide some information for educators in designing / selecting games for their students. It should also be noted that the results of categories with fewer than five studies (k) require cautious interpretation.
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