Can Video Gameplay Improve Undergraduates' Problem-Solving Skills?

Int J Game Based Learn. 2020;10(2):21-38. doi: 10.4018/ijgbl.2020040102.


In this study, the authors investigated if two distinct types of video gameplay improved undergraduates' problem-solving skills. Two groups of student participants were recruited to play either a roleplaying video game (World of Warcraft; experimental group) or a brain-training video game (CogniFit; control group). Participants were measured on their problem-solving skills before and after 20 hours of video gameplay. Two measures were used to assess problem-solving skills for this study, the Tower of Hanoi and The PISA Problem Solving Test. The Tower of Hanoi measured the rule application component of problem-solving skills and the PISA Problem Solving test measured transfer of problem-solving skills from video gameplay to novel scenarios on the test. No significant differences were found between the two groups on either problem-solving measure. Implications for future studies on game- based learning are discussed.

Keywords: Assessment; Brain Training; Cognition; Gameplay; Problem-Solving Skills; Roleplaying; Rule Application; Transfer; Video Games.