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Thursday, September 28, 2006

Gadgets, Games and Gizmos: Games Aren't "Cutesy"

One reader recently posted a comment about having games they developed called "Cutesy" in a corporate environment. Here are some statistics from my upcoming book Gadgets, Games and Gizmos for Learning which clearly show the results from using games is anything but "Cutesy."

List of Successes using Games to Teach

--A leadership simulation called Virtual Leader increased the participant’s team performance rankings by an average of 22%. Aldrich, C. (2005) Learning by Doing. (pg. 267) San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer a division of John Wiley & Sons.

--The racing game Midtown Madness is being used by doctors at the Virtual Reality Medical Center in San Diego to treat patients who have a fear of driving after traumatic car accidents. Greenleaf, W., Fitter, J. & Rosser, J (2005, February, 21) Playing games for health. Knight Ridder Tribune Business News. Retrieved October 5, 2005, from ProQuest database.

--The combination dance/video game Dance Dance Revolution is helping kids to loose weight and get active. Some kids have lost as much as 80 pounds. Video game fans dance off extra pounds. (2004, May, 5). [Electronic Version] USA Today. Retrieved March 18, 2006 from

--A corporate trainer found that 88% of a group that played a live classroom game based on “Hollywood Squares” passed the final review test on the first try compared to only 54% of a group that reviewed the material using traditional methods. Totty, M. (2005, April, 25). BTechnology (a special report); Business solutions. Wall Street Journal. (pg. R6). Retrieved October 5, 2005, from ProQuest database.

--Research reported in the scientific journal, Nature, indicates that playing action videogames can bring marked improvements in the ability to pay attention to objects and changes in the visual environment. Begley, S. (2003, May, 29). The kid flunked, but he sure pays attention. Wall Street Journal. (pg. B1). Retrieved October 10, 2005, from ProQuest database.

--Surgeons who play three hours a week of video game decrease mistakes by 37% in laparoscopic surgery and performed the task 27 percent faster than their counterparts who did not play video games. Laparoscopic surgery uses a tiny camera controlled by a joystick to view the inside of the body. Dobnik, V. (2004, April, 7). Surgeons may error less by playing video games. Associated Press Retrieved March 18, 2006 from

--The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is funding a series of computer games to help prepare first responders and health care workers facing bioterrorist attacks, pandemics and possible nuclear accidents. Christopher, A. (2005, January,13) Games tackle disaster training. [Electronic Version] Wired. Retrieved on January 1, 2006 from,1282,69580,00.html?tw=wn_tophead_2

One thing that can be done is to disguise the "game" with a corporate look. See my article on Learning Circuits that shows a couple corporate looking games at the end of the article. It is called Teaching Facts with Fun, Online Games. The corporate "look and feel" of the games at the end of the article can help to aid adoption. The real proof, however, for using games are the results and the increased focus the learners have on the materials.

Content Guide

Please add your comments and thoughts about game use in corporate or even academic settings.


Anonymous said...

Another simulation you might want to check out is SimProject, an online project management simulation.

I'm trying to structure a dissertation around this, that could turn into some stats similar to the ones above. I have a lot of anecdotal evidence, but nothing concrete. Even though they call this a simulation, it's a game in my mind. Team-based, competitive, scoring, etc...

Looking forward to the alums get a free copy?
-Bart P.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this post in response to my earlier comment. I think that having the type of statisics that you have provided definately helps if you have to defend a design decision to use a game as a learning activity. Where did you find the statistics? Are they from your own research or someone else's?

Karl Kapp said...

Thanks for the link to the online SimProject, looks interesting, I will check it out.

I have revised this post to include the sources of the statistics, I hope the sources help. I am constantly looking for examples of research that show training with games works. I designing a study now to look at games vs traditional instruction but currently all the research listed on this blog is from other sources.