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Digital game-based learning in K-12 mathematics education: a systematic literature review


The application of mathematical skills is essential to our daily routine and is foundational for numerous disciplines. Among various computer-supported learning methods, Digital Game-Based Learning (DGBL) has been perceived as a promising method in teaching mathematics, promoting students’ interest, and motivation. Therefore, the aim of this systematic literature review is to provide a detailed synthesis of literature regarding the effectiveness of DGBL applications in K-12 mathematics education and extend the findings of previous reviews. This study reviewed a total of 43 articles published in the Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI) of Web of Science, and other top-ranked educational technology journals between 2008 and 2019. The findings were then evaluated according to the multi-dimensional framework and classified into three main categories: knowledge acquisition, perceptual and cognitive skills, and affective, motivational, and behavioral change. This revealed that most of the reviewed studies have reported positive gains in all categories, with the traditional method of teaching being the most popular comparison approach. Numerous scholars also demonstrated a particular interest in the subject of arithmetic operations. The study also found that a considerable number of DGBL applications were constructed based on a specific design feature or learning theory. Furthermore, this study highlighted a number of research gaps in this domain according to which more research is required to understand how different dynamics (e.g., collaborative/cooperative, competitive) influence students’ learning. Additionally, more studies are required to address the lack of research on twenty-first-century skills such as creativity and critical thinking. The findings of this review could benefit researchers and educators who are interested in using educational computer games to teach mathematics.

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  1. Conditions marked with (†) were adapted from (Clark et al., 2016).


References with an asterisk (*) indicate studies included in the review

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Hussein, M.H., Ow, S.H., Elaish, M.M. et al. Digital game-based learning in K-12 mathematics education: a systematic literature review. Educ Inf Technol 27, 2859–2891 (2022).

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  • Digital game-based learning
  • DGBL
  • Mathematics education
  • Systematic review