Finding the connection between Game-Design and Problem-Solving: Game-Design and Learning Programs


In today‟s complex and fast-evolving world problem solving is an important skill to possess. For young children to be successful at their future careers they need to have the skill and the will to solve complex problems that are beyond the well-defined problems that they learn to solve at schools. One promising approach to teach complex problem solving skills is using visual programming and game design software. Theoretically and anecdotally, extant research enlightened us about the cognitive and motivational potential of these software. Due to lack of empirical evidence, however, we are far from knowing if these claims are warranted. In this quasi-experimental study, the cognitive (i.e., problem solving) and motivational (i.e., interest and value) impacts of participating at the Game Design and Learning Courses (GDL) on middle school children (n = 49), who designed games following a curriculum based on problem solving skills, were investigated. Compared to students in a control group (n =24), the results showed that students who attended the GDL courses showed significant gains in general and specific (i.e., system analysis and design, decision-making, troubleshooting) problem solving skills, (Wilks‟s Λ = .64), F (4, 68) = 9.564, p<.001. In this presentation, I report empirical outcomes, as well as detailed accounts of the design process for the GDL curriculum. Finally, I discuss implications of the GDL intervention for practice and theory

Fourth Annual Scholarship of STEM Teaching and Learning Conference