Games motivate students with a concentration problem

Tuesday, November 13th, 2007

Small scale research conducted by Cherifa Hendriks (Hogeschool Arnhem Nijmegen) shows that the effects of games are positive on students with concentration problems. Should education follow the rules of game?

GameFlow is a case study about the effects of games on children with concentration problems in higher education. The research focuses on a group of 13 students – middle-level vocational education – in the age of 13-14 year, some having concentratiom problems. Hendriks tested 4 different educational situations: playing games, working on an assignment about games, a gamemaker training and designing and building a game.

Higher concentration
Hendriks found out that the overall concentration of the group was much higher than expected from the group. They were hard to distract and only stopped their game when game over: “the pupils seemed to have reached a certain level of flow” as Hendriks nicely describes. Very unexpected, the assignment GameMaker training showed the highest average time-on-task score: 89%.

The group without any concentration problems scored as expected high on every task. And, surprisingly every single individual with concentration deficits scored higher than average on every task, “something that seems extremely difficult, if not impossible, for children with concentration deficits”, says Hendriks who is also a teacher.

Meet individual needs
Hendriks states that she learned that meaningful learning arrangements that meets individual needs and preferences are even more essential to get children activated and motivated that she thought. Although a small scale research, I think this is a very important conclusion that we have to keep in mind coming up with new educational services.


Kennisnet ICT op school

You can find an English article on this project here.

Also take a look at some theory on “flow theory” in relation to games and other media.