Matthew Barr, a lecturer in Information Studies at Glasgow University showed that students who played a variety of commercially available video games for a short period of time, improved their ‘graduate skills’, namely communication, resourcefulness and adaptability. All of which are identified as valuable in graduates, especially in terms of employability.
Commenting on his research Mr Barr said: “The findings suggest that such game-based learning interventions have a role to play in higher education.”
Over an eight-week period, undergraduate students in the Arts and Humanities were randomly assigned to either an intervention or a control group. The intervention group played specified video games under controlled conditions over an eight-week period and they showed improvements in communication, adaptability, and resourcefulness scales compared to the control group.
The games used in the study were all commercial titles, designed for entertainment purposes rather than with the intention of developing particular skills in players. They included Borderlands 2; Minecraft; Portal 2; Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light; Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos; Team Fortress 2; Gone Home and Papers, Please.
“Modern video games often require players to be adaptable and resourceful, finding multiple ways of accomplishing a task.” says Barr. “The way games are designed often encourages critical thinking and reflective learning.”
“This work demonstrates that playing commercial video games can have a positive effect… The study also suggests that graduate skills may be improved in a relatively short amount of time, with the gains reported here achieved over a period of eight weeks and representing just 14 hours of game play.”
He continued, “Certainly, the results of the randomised controlled trial described here suggest that the popular discourse around games’ alleged ill effects should be tempered by considerations of the potential positive outcomes of playing video games.”
A copy of the original research is available on the Science Direct academic journal.
The DIGIT editorial team would also encourage you, now you know it’s beneficial, to try one, some or all of the games mentioned above…