Examining shifts in conceptual knowledge, procedural knowledge and procedural flexibility in the context of two game-based technologies

Yun-Chen CHAN, Avery H. CLOSSER, Vy NGO, Hannah SMITH, Allison S. LIU, Erin OTTMAR

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Prior work has shown that middle school students struggle with algebra and that game-based educational technologies, such as DragonBox and From Here to There!, are effective at improving students' algebraic performance. However, it remains unclear which aspects of algebraic knowledge shift as a result of playing these games and what game design features support algebraic learning. 

Objective: Using the data from a randomized controlled trial conducted in the 2020–2021 academic year, we (a) examined students' relative performance on assessment items measuring conceptual knowledge, procedural knowledge and procedural flexibility in algebraic equation solving, and (b) identified changes in these aspects of algebraic knowledge after playing DragonBox or From Here to There!. 

Methods: Eight hundred eighty-seven seventh-graders were randomly assigned to playing DragonBox or From Here to There! for nine 30-min sessions throughout the school year. Students also completed a pretest, midtest and posttest measuring their algebraic knowledge. 

Results and Conclusion: First, prior to the intervention, students scored the highest on procedural knowledge and lowest on conceptual knowledge. Second, students significantly improved and maintained learning gains on conceptual knowledge throughout the intervention. Their performance on procedural knowledge and procedural flexibility items increased at midtest but decreased at posttest. Third, the pattern of results was consistent for students in the DragonBox and From Here to There! conditions, suggesting that both games may support students' conceptual understanding of algebra. The findings have implications for research and practice on supporting algebraic learning through game-based technologies during and beyond educational disruptions. Copyright © 2023 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1274-1289
JournalJournal of Computer Assisted Learning
Volume39
Issue number4
Early online dateMar 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2023

Citation

Chan, J. Y.-C., Closser, A. H., Ngo, V., Smith, H., Liu, A. S., & Ottmar, E. (2023). Examining shifts in conceptual knowledge, procedural knowledge and procedural flexibility in the context of two game-based technologies. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 39(4), 1274-1289. https://doi.org/10.1111/jcal.12798

Keywords

  • Algebraic learning
  • Conceptual knowledge
  • Game-based technologies
  • Procedural flexibility
  • Procedural knowledge

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