Investigating the Intrinsic Integration Hypothesis for the Design of Game-Based Learning Activities

AbstractThe intrinsic integration hypothesis proposes that using core game mechanisms to teach learning material makes educational games more fun to play and better for learning. Our study tests the intrinsic integration hypothesis with two educational versions of Battleship that were designed for this experiment, in the domain of complex numbers. We examine the learning gains and motivation of 58 participants who interacted with either the intrinsically-integrated or extrinsically-integrated version of the game. Our results contradict previous findings supporting the intrinsic integration hypothesis: participants reported similar levels of motivation from both versions of the game and participants who interacted with the extrinsically-integrated version learned significantly more as measured by pretest to posttest gains. This work contributes empirical data to the debate concerning intrinsic integration, and it highlights the need for additional studies exploring the integration of learning material into educational games.

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