As past studies showed mixed results, this meta-analysis determined game-based learning’s overall effect on students’ critical thinking and tested for moderators, using 21 effect sizes from 20 empirical studies of 1,947 participants. The results showed that game-based learning had a significant positive overall effect on students’ critical thinking (g = 0.863, k = 21) and showed significant heterogeneity among effect sizes. Among game types, role-playing games yielded the largest mean effect size (g = 1.828, k = 5). The effect size of game-based learning was larger for critical thinking disposition (g = 1.774, k = 4) than critical thinking skill (g = 0.661, k = 17). Game-based learning also had a larger effect on students in collectivistic countries (g = 1.282, k = 10) than those in individualistic countries (g = 0.432, k = 10). Furthermore, this effect size was larger in later publication years. Lastly, the effect size of game-based learning on critical thinking was larger for studies published in journal articles (g = 1.154, k = 13) than theses (g = 0.378, k = 8). Copyright © 2021 The Author(s).
CitationMao, W., Cui, Y., Chiu, M. M., & Lei, H. (2021). Effects of game-based learning on students’ critical thinking: A meta-analysis. Journal of Educational Computing Research. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1177/07356331211007098
- Game-based learning
- Critical thinking
- Moderating analysis