Research

Report: Game-Based Learning Helps Students Develop Writing Skills

According to initial results from a recent pilot, digital game-based learning improved student engagement and self-efficacy in writing courses at 14 colleges and universities.

Over the fall 2015 semester, a group of faculty piloted Toolwire's Writing Games with more than 1,000 students, primarily in developmental and introductory composition courses. The resulting research report documents "faculty and student reactions based on over 530,000 minutes of student usage" of the technology. Participating institutions include several campuses in the Maricopa, Lone Star, and Colorado Community College systems, as well as the California State University and City University of New York systems. The study was authored by Douglas Beckwith, Toolwire's senior fellow and a professor of practice at Arizona State University.

According to Toolwire, the Writing Games "introduce an engaging digital courseware intervention to help students succeed in basic writing courses," geared toward bridging the gap between students' writing abilities and the demands of college-level work. The games focus on foundational skills such as grammar basics, the writing process, paragraph construction, revising and editing, and research and citation, using "live-action video to immerse learners in real-world workplace scenarios with short, 20-25 minute learning activities." Other features of the platform include interactive practice, real-time remediation, performance analytics, and gaming mechanics such as scoring and leveling.

Some key findings from the report:

  • Eighty-six percent of faculty and 70 percent of students agreed that the Writing Games added educational value to the introductory writing courses;
  • The majority of faculty (79 percent) and students (68 percent) reported that the Writing Games led to increases in students' writing ability; and
  • Sixty-four percent of faculty said that the Writing Games enabled them to use their instructional time more effectively.

"My students appreciated how these role-based experiences provided an interactive and engaging way to apply writing mechanics and processes in a real-world workplace setting," said Tonya Hegamin, a professor at CUNY's Medgar Evers College, in a statement. "Helping students make this connection between the classroom and their future career success is a powerful way to keep them motivated and determined to learn."

The full research report is available on the Toolwire site (registration required).

About the Author

About the author: Rhea Kelly is executive editor for Campus Technology. She can be reached at rkelly@1105media.com.

comments powered by Disqus

Campus Technology News

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.