One of the main ways in which children learn skills, such as reading and writing, and develop creativity and sociability, is through play. Researchers are thus exploring gamification, namely the use of typical game elements in different and non-gaming contexts, including the educational one. Gamification is a methodology that originates from computer and serious games, and aims at redesigning activities to be more engaging, thus also developing intrinsic motivation. Furthermore, gamification has proven effective both with typically developing children and with children with Special Educational Needs (SEN). Given that the current situation firmly indicates the need to engage and captivate learners, the present research aims to investigate whether gamification can improve motivation and reading and writing skills, in 8-to-10-years-old children. The design consists in comparing the effects of gamified Applications to that of equivalent, traditional pen-and-paper activities, in mixed and non-specific school groups. Furthermore, the effects are compared to those of an individualised clinical treatment for children with Specific Learning Disorders (SLD) — Developmental Dyslexia and Dysorthography in particular — using the same gamified Applications. In fact, although the neurocognitive causes of Developmental Dyslexia and Dysorthography are still hotly debated, researchers agree that the main challenge consists in the intervention, that is how to improve children’s reading and writing fluency and accuracy while keeping motivation high. Consequently, the research consisted of two studies. In the first study (Study A), a 12-hour gamified training at school was compared with an equivalent pen-and-paper training, both aimed at exploring the efficacy of gamified Applications and traditional activities purposefully designed to enhance linguistic skills (i.e., reading accuracy, reading speed, and writing accuracy). The results of this study showed significant improvements in linguistic fluency and correctness for both groups, with non-significantly greater effect of the experimental gamified training. Students belonging to the experimental groups also reported greater appreciation of the activities, although motivation did not act as a mediator for performance improvements in any of the groups considered. The second study (Study B) aimed to explore whether improvements, after the use of gamified Applications, differ among children with neurotypical development, children with SLD, children with unspecified Neurodevelopmental Disorders, and bilingual children. Assessments upon training completion indicated greater improvements, even if not in a significant way, in reading and writing correctness in children with SLD, suggesting that an individualised and personalised training, designed on specific difficulties, can lead to major results. Also, participants in Study B reported to have highest degree fun during the activities, but motivation did not act as a mediator for improvements in performance either. Gameful experience of the participants in both studies was also investigated through a questionnaire, the responses of which were related to improvements in learning performance. Results were not significant, but interestingly the aspects that were positively associated with learning outcomes were those related to competition and social experience dimensions, although they were the least present within the Applications used. Overall findings highlighted promising effects of the training programs on children’s linguistic skills and grade of engagement, emphasising the importance of integrated training and opening to future studies investigating the effects of gamified Applications on other skills and motivational aspects.

The use of gamification for the improvement of reading and writing abilities and motivation in children with typical development and children with Specific Learning Disorders / Cattoni, Angela. - (2022 Jul 01), pp. -1. [10.15168/11572_348499]

The use of gamification for the improvement of reading and writing abilities and motivation in children with typical development and children with Specific Learning Disorders

Cattoni, Angela
2022-07-01

Abstract

One of the main ways in which children learn skills, such as reading and writing, and develop creativity and sociability, is through play. Researchers are thus exploring gamification, namely the use of typical game elements in different and non-gaming contexts, including the educational one. Gamification is a methodology that originates from computer and serious games, and aims at redesigning activities to be more engaging, thus also developing intrinsic motivation. Furthermore, gamification has proven effective both with typically developing children and with children with Special Educational Needs (SEN). Given that the current situation firmly indicates the need to engage and captivate learners, the present research aims to investigate whether gamification can improve motivation and reading and writing skills, in 8-to-10-years-old children. The design consists in comparing the effects of gamified Applications to that of equivalent, traditional pen-and-paper activities, in mixed and non-specific school groups. Furthermore, the effects are compared to those of an individualised clinical treatment for children with Specific Learning Disorders (SLD) — Developmental Dyslexia and Dysorthography in particular — using the same gamified Applications. In fact, although the neurocognitive causes of Developmental Dyslexia and Dysorthography are still hotly debated, researchers agree that the main challenge consists in the intervention, that is how to improve children’s reading and writing fluency and accuracy while keeping motivation high. Consequently, the research consisted of two studies. In the first study (Study A), a 12-hour gamified training at school was compared with an equivalent pen-and-paper training, both aimed at exploring the efficacy of gamified Applications and traditional activities purposefully designed to enhance linguistic skills (i.e., reading accuracy, reading speed, and writing accuracy). The results of this study showed significant improvements in linguistic fluency and correctness for both groups, with non-significantly greater effect of the experimental gamified training. Students belonging to the experimental groups also reported greater appreciation of the activities, although motivation did not act as a mediator for performance improvements in any of the groups considered. The second study (Study B) aimed to explore whether improvements, after the use of gamified Applications, differ among children with neurotypical development, children with SLD, children with unspecified Neurodevelopmental Disorders, and bilingual children. Assessments upon training completion indicated greater improvements, even if not in a significant way, in reading and writing correctness in children with SLD, suggesting that an individualised and personalised training, designed on specific difficulties, can lead to major results. Also, participants in Study B reported to have highest degree fun during the activities, but motivation did not act as a mediator for improvements in performance either. Gameful experience of the participants in both studies was also investigated through a questionnaire, the responses of which were related to improvements in learning performance. Results were not significant, but interestingly the aspects that were positively associated with learning outcomes were those related to competition and social experience dimensions, although they were the least present within the Applications used. Overall findings highlighted promising effects of the training programs on children’s linguistic skills and grade of engagement, emphasising the importance of integrated training and opening to future studies investigating the effects of gamified Applications on other skills and motivational aspects.
XXXIV
2020-2021
Psicologia e scienze cognitive (29/10/12-)
Psychological Sciences and Education
Venuti, Paola
no
Inglese
Settore M-PSI/04 - Psicologia dello Sviluppo e Psicologia dell'Educazione
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11572/348499
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