Interaction Frequency and Pedagogical Outcomes in Digital Game-Based Learning Curricula
Currently there is a vast selection of off-the-shelf commercial digital games with varying gameplay mechanics which have the potential to impact digital game-based learning (DGBL) curricula. We believe that careful consideration must be given to both the type of game and the method of in-class implementation in order to ensure the best pedagogical outcomes when using DGBL tools. Along these lines, it is imperative that DGBL curricula carefully gather data on both the hypothesized pedagogical impact that a digital game title elicits as well as on student participation methods in order to better inform any future in-class use of the same digital game title. This paper presents the results of a pilot study looking at how the grammar/syntax-based puzzle game Baba Is You (Hempuli, 2019) affected student performance on English language word-order tests in university-level EFL courses. The results of these word-order tests are compared to a control group who did not interact with the game Baba Is You. Although there was no statistically significant improvement in scores observed in the pre-/post-test data from both treatment and control groups, data gathered from the treatment group on the frequency of interaction with the gameplay mechanics revealed a stronger post-test correlation between interaction frequency and test scores relative to pre-test correlations. These data may suggest that the more the participants interacted with the gameplay mechanics, the higher the test scores they achieved on the post-tests. The implications of these results may suggest that the observed pedagogical outcomes may be influenced by in-class implementation methods which encourage a higher interaction frequency with the gameplay mechanics.