Examining the effects of combining self-explanation principles with an educational game on learning science concepts: Interactive Learning Environments

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Educational researchers have indicated that although computer games have the potential to promote students’ motivation and engagement, the work on how to design effective games that fulfil educational purposes is still in its infancy. This study aimed to examine how integration of self-explanation into a computer game affected primary schoolers’ acquisition of light and shadow concepts. The participants were randomly assigned to either an experimental group or a control group and played a computer game with or without self-explanation prompts individually as a treatment. Students’ conceptual understanding was evaluated through a pretest and a posttest administered right after the treatment. The results revealed that by controlling the pretest scores, students who played the game with self-explanation features did not outperform those who played the game without any prompts in the posttest. Further analyses of the experimental group students’ responses to the self-explanation prompts also indicated that the students with more correct responses to the prompts did not perform better than those with lower accuracy rates. The deficits in the use of self-explanation prompts are identified, and possible improvements to enhance the function of self-explanation in educational games are proposed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)104-115
Number of pages12
JournalInteractive Learning Environments
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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