Publications & Resources

The Effect of In-Game Errors on Learning Outcomes

Oct 2013

Deirdre Kerr and Gregory K. W. K. Chung

Student mathematical errors are rarely random and often occur because students are applying procedures that they believe to be accurate. Traditional approaches often view such errors as indicators of students’ failure to understand the construct in question, but some theorists view errors as opportunities for students to expand their mental model and create a deeper understanding of the construct. This study examines errors in an educational video game that are indicative of two specific misunderstandings students have about fractions (unitizing and partitioning) in order to determine whether the occurrence of those errors makes students more likely to learn from the game or more likely to be confused by the game. Analysis indicates that students who made unitizing errors were more likely to be confused by the game while students who made partitioning errors were more likely to learn from the game.

Kerr, D. & Chung, G. K. W. K. (2013). The effect of in-game errors on learning outcomes (CRESST Report 835). Los Angeles: University of California, Los Angeles, National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST).