Facilitating third graders' acquisition of scientific concepts through digital game-based learning: The effects of self-explanation principles

Chung Yuan Hsu, Chin Chung Tsai, Hung Yuan Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

27 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of incorporating self-explanation principles into an educational game facilitating students' conceptual learning about light and shadow. A total of 88 third graders participated in this true-experimental study in which each student was randomly assigned to either an experimental group that played a game with self-explanation prompts or a control group that played a game with no prompts. Students' conceptual understanding was evaluated through a pretest, an immediate posttest, and a retention test that took place two weeks afterwards. The findings revealed that simply exposing the students to a game with a self-explanation design did not necessarily enhance their learning performance. Rather, it was the level of engagement in responding to the self-explanation prompts that mattered. The students in the high-engagement group outperformed those in the low-engagement and control groups in terms of the posttest and the retention test. Possible improvements for integrating self-explanation principles into computer games are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-82
Number of pages12
JournalAsia-Pacific Education Researcher
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Mar 28
Externally publishedYes



  • Computers and learning
  • Conceptual learning
  • Digital game-based learning
  • Scientific concepts
  • Self-explanation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

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