Timing Game-Based Practice in a Reading Comprehension Strategy Tutor
Game-based practice within Intelligent Tutoring Systems (ITSs) can be optimized by examining how properties of practice activities influence learning outcomes and motivation. In the current study, we manipulated when game-based practice was available to students. All students (n = 149) first completed lesson videos in iSTART-2, an ITS focusing on reading comprehension strategies. They then practiced with iSTART-2 for two 2-hour sessions. Students’ first session was either in a game or nongame practice environment. In the second session, they either switched to the alternate environment or remained in the same environment. Students’ comprehension was tested at pretest and posttest, and motivational measures were collected. Overall, students’ comprehension increased from pretest to posttest. Effect sizes of the pretest to posttest gain suggested that switching from the game to nongame environment was least effective, while switching from a nongame to game environment or remaining in the game environment was more effective. However, these differences between the practice conditions were not statistically significant, either on comprehension or motivation measures, suggesting that for iSTART-2, the timing of game-based practice availability does not substantially impact students’ experience in the system.