Optimizing Student Performance in Educational Games through Adaptive Challenges

Principal Investigator: 
Project Overview
Background & Purpose: 

This study will conduct design-based research of optimal design strategies for maximizing engagement and educational outcomes in educational games. Our focus is maximizing student time in an “Area of Maximal Engagement” (related to ZPD) to achieve greater mindfulness on task.


The study will involve evaluations of student playing online games in after-school programs through the country. There will be multiple rounds of evaluation.

Research Design: 

The research design for this project is comparative, and is designed to generate evidence which is descriptive [design research], and associative/correlational [quasi-experimental]. This project collects original data using assessments of learning/achievement tests, and observation [personal observation and web logs], survey research including self-completion questionnaires (paper and pencil, and online), and face-to-face, semi-structured/informal interviews. We are developing a custom instrument that comprises approximately 30 items drawn from existing, released test items from standardized tests to determine subjects’ acquisition of core biology concepts presented in the games.

We will sort the subject pool by age and then calculate means and standard deviations for each sub-sample. We will compare group means across treatment conditions using ANOVA and testing for significance to evaluate experimental hypotheses.


To date this project has not generated any findings.

Publications & Presentations: 

To date this project has not generated any publications.