A study has found that participants that played video games showed a boost in university skills.
A study by a group of scientists from Glasgow University has found that when participants played video games, they improved in their communication skills, adaptability and resourcefulness, which affect educational success. These are all attributes that have previously been linked to employability.
The study went on for eight weeks and assessed undergraduates’ previously mentioned skills. It assigned students either to the control group or an intervention group.
The intervention group were asked to play specific video games, and then take tests on those skills, whereas the control group took those tests without playing video games at all. The intervention group showed significant improvements in comparison to those that did not play games for 14 hours.
The video games that were played included Minecraft, Borderlands 2, Portal 2, “The Guardian of Light,” “World of Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos” and Lara Croft.
Comments on the Study
According to Matthew Barr, a lecturer at the university, many video games generally “encouraged critical thinking and reflective learning.”
“The findings suggest that such game-based learning interventions have a role to play in higher education” Mr Barr said.
“Graduate attributes are those generic skills such as problem-solving, communication, resourcefulness or adaptability which are considered desirable in graduates, particularly where employability is concerned.
“Modern video games often require players to be adaptable and resourceful, and finding multiple ways of accomplishing a task. The way games are designed often encourages critical thinking and reflective learning, commonly cited as desirable attributes in graduates. ”
Batt also continued to explain: “My research is perhaps what every parent may or, in the case of some, may not like to hear,” Mr. Barr continued.
“This work demonstrates that playing commercial video games can have a positive effect on communication ability, adaptability and resourcefulness in adult learners, suggesting that video games may have a role to play in higher education.”
In a previous study in 2003 on the usefulness of video games, Daphne Bavelier, a cognitive sciences professor from Rochester University had said: “It is certainly good training for people in situations where they need to detect things in their visual environment at any time in any location, like ground troops going through uncharted territory,”
“Shawn, a fellow researcher realized that his own visual attentional skills were abnormally good,” said Bavelier. “As Shawn is an avid video game player, and definitely the only video game player of the two of us, we decided to test the hypothesis that this video game experience was the origin of the observed differences.”