Many strong claims are made about the value of games for promoting learning, including the use of games for adult training. However, in taking an evidence-based approach, we recommend a cautious and careful approach to game-based training because all educational games are not equally effective.
First, value-added research compares the learning outcomes of people who play the base version of a game with those who play an enhanced version of the game that has one additional feature. Value-added research suggests that in some cases the instructional effectiveness of educational games can be improved by adding coaching (explanations after moves and advice before moves), self-explanation (questions requiring the player to explain or select an explanation from a menu), pretraining (pregame activities that highlight key concepts), modality (presenting words in spoken form), and personalization (presenting words in conversational style).
Second, cognitive consequences research compares the improvement in cognitive skills of people who are assigned to play an off-the-shelf game for an extensive period of time to those who are assigned to engage in some other activity. Cognitive consequences research shows that playing action video games, such as games in which you must shoot at fast-moving targets, can result in improvements in perceptual attention skills.
Third, media comparison research compares learning of academic content with ...