Learning problem-solving through making games at the game design and learning summer program


Today’s complex and fast-evolving world necessitates young students to possess design and problem-solving skills more than ever. One alternative method of teaching children problem-solving or thinking skills has been using computer programming, and more recently, game-design tasks. In this pre-experimental study, a group of middle school students (n = 18) with an age average of 12.6 attended a game-design summer program for 10 days. Students were assessed in their problem-solving skills, specifically in system analysis and design, decision-making, and troubleshooting domains, at the beginning and end of the program. The results indicated that there were significant improvements in students’ problem-solving skills after attending the summer program, Wilks’ Λ = .258, F (3, 15) = 14.397, p < .001, η 2 = .742. For system analysis and design, and decision-making follow-up t-tests pointed to large and medium effect sizes, while for troubleshooting the gains were not significant. This study is a contributes to the growing body of literature investigating the benefits of designing games for young children by adding that game-design activities can be suitable venues for young children to learn and practice problem-solving skills.

Educational Technology Research and Development