Do Video Games Improve Learning?

Richard Mayer, UCSB; Suzanne Bouffard, FABBS


There’s no question that video games are popular – they rack up more than $100 billion in sales every year – but can they improve student learning?

"Imagine a scenario in which school-age children spend their time playing computer games that help them learn academic content and skills. Imagine schools where instruction is supplemented or even supplanted by having students play computer games that help them learn what they need for success in life and work.”  As Richard Mayer continues in his report for Policy Insights from the Behavioral and Brain Sciences, “this is the kind of future envisioned by game visionaries.”  Indeed, electronic games are everywhere in children’s lives, not only in the home but also in schools. What should be the role of computer games in education?  In his review of the research on potential educational benefits of gaming, Mayer concludes that while some games may be beneficial, the research does not warrant extensive replacement of current educational practices with those based on computer games. To find out more, read the policy report by Richard Mayer and a summary of this report by Suzanne Bouffard from the Federation of Associations in Behavioral and Brain Science (FABBS).