Digital Games, Gender and Learning in Engineering: Do Females Benefit as Much as Males?

Abstract

The aim of this paper was to explore whether there is a gender difference in the beneficial effects of Racing Academy, which is a video game used to support undergraduate students learning of Mechanical Engineering. One hundred and thirty-eight undergraduate students (15 females and 123 males) participated in the study. The students completed a pre-test a week before they started using Racing Academy. The pre-test consisted of a test of students’ knowledge of engineering, and a measure of students’ motivation towards studying engineering. A week after using Racing Academy the students completed a post-test which was identical to the pre-test, except it also included a measure of how frequently they used Racing Academy and how motivating the students found playing Racing Academy. We found that after playing Racing Academy the students learnt more about engineering and there was no gender difference in the beneficial effect of Racing Academy, however there is some evidence that, female students found Racing Academy more motivating than male students. The implications for the use and design of video games for supporting learning for both males and females are discussed.

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Correspondence to Richard Joiner.

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Joiner, R., Iacovides, J., Owen, M. et al. Digital Games, Gender and Learning in Engineering: Do Females Benefit as Much as Males?. J Sci Educ Technol 20, 178–185 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10956-010-9244-5

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Keywords

  • Digital games
  • Gender
  • Learning
  • Engineering