An Empirical Comparison of a Video Game and a Digital Video as a Pre Reading Activity for Comprehension and Problem Solving
This study examines the role of video games and digital video as pre-reading activities for improving motivation, recall, comprehension and problem solving. A video game provides multimodal representation, increasing accurate representation and experience, and diminishing the need for guesswork. Games structure incremental learning through practice, feedback, and rehearsal—activities traditionally offered by a teacher in one-on-one training for the development of learning strategies for reading instruction. Well-constructed, interactive game should be more effective than re-reading strategies, or watching a digital video. A sample of 132 students was randomly assigned to one of three media conditions, controlled for interaction and feedback. Each participant was pretested for prior knowledge, working memory, comprehension, reading ability, and media preference. Both the video game and video improved performance in recall, comprehension, and problem solving—but the game was much more effective as a pre-reading activity. Multiple comprehension assessments were used in the form of protocol analysis (construction of walkthrough), multiple-choice questions, and a word problem. The embodied game provided superior pre-reading preparation, superior mental representation, and superior identification of causal relationships between narrative events across the comprehension assessments.