Digital Games, Design, and Learning: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis (Executive Summary)


Clark, D., Tanner-Smith, E., Killingsworth, S . (2014). Digital Games, Design and Learning: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis (Executive Summary). Menlo Park, CA: SRI International.


This meta-analysis systematically reviews research on digital games and learning for K-16 students in light of the recent NRC report on education for life and work in the 21st century (NRC, 2009). We synthesize comparisons of game conditions versus non-game conditions (i.e., media comparisons) as well as comparisons of augmented game designs versus equivalent standard game designs (i.e., value-added comparisons). We employed random- effects meta-analysis with robust variance estimates to summarize the overall effects of digital game interventions. Meta-regression models were used to assess the possible moderating effects of participant characteristics, game condition characteristics, and research quality characteristics. Findings from the media comparisons indicate that digital games significantly enhanced student learning relative to the non-game control conditions. Findings from value-added comparisons clearly demonstrate the importance of design beyond medium when evaluating the impact of digital games for learning. Media-comparison and value-added analyses underscore the importance of enhanced assessment techniques and research reporting going forward. An At-a-Glance Brief highlighting high-level findings of this meta-analysis is presented in Appendix A2: Games.

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