Brunel University Study Shows Video Games Can Help Children Learn

©Sonic Team/Sega

A study conducted by Brunel University shows that video games can help children to learn more effectively.

The study was a partnership between SEGA and Checkpoint, a video-game inspired education platform. It looked at how Key Stage 2 pupils (aged between 7-11) engaged with a science lesson on classification using characters from Sonic the Hedgehog. The lesson focused on how animals are classified into species and groups based on characteristics, and pupils had to organise Sonic and other SEGA characters into the right groupings.

102 students completed a questionnaire after the Checkpoint lesson. Over 90% said that the lesson helped them to learn better, while over 82% felt more confident after the lesson. The questionnaire results also showed that children gained key skills, including listening, problem solving and creativity.

Five teachers from four schools participated in the study, and they reported that the children were more engaged in the lesson thanks to the inclusion of the popular characters. All of them stated they would recommend their Senior Leadership Team purchased the materials, however, two teachers did highlight that the resources could be adapted to better suit the abilities of children with additional needs.

The research was led by Brunel’s Professor Kate Hoskins.

“The students’ responses suggest that incorporating gaming culture elements in the classroom can lead to a more enriching learning experience for students across the socioeconomic and cultural spectrum, transforming the way they engage with and understand scientific concepts,” she said.

“Teachers can potentially foster a deeper connection between students and the subject matter when bringing the excitement and challenges of video games into the learning process, ultimately promoting a lasting interest in science education.”

Checkpoint’s founder and editor-in-chief Tamer Asfahani said: “Thanks to this study, we have data confirming that teachers and researchers should work together to create innovative instructional strategies that harness the power of gaming culture and facilitate deeper learning for students, in key stage 2 science lessons and beyond.

“This collaborative effort will not only contribute to the ongoing development of effective teaching practices, but also inspire a new generation of students to become passionate, lifelong learners in the field of science and other subjects; with the potential to be especially positive for less confident learners.”

Words by Ellen Leslie

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