Research Links Gameplay to Higher Scores and Stronger Learning Outcomes at Texas A&M University
College Station, TX – May 2, 2019 – A calculus game developed by game-based learning company Triseum and Texas A&M is moving the needle on student achievement. Earlier this year, a study released by the university showed that students who played Variant: Limits® scored higher on their exams than students who did not play the calculus game. Newly released data concludes that the percentage of A’s as final grades among those students who played the calculus game was 10.8 percent higher compared to students who did not play the game. Additionally, the DFQW rate (those students who received a D, F or withdrew) for those students who played the calculus game was 3.1 percent lower than those who did not play.
“Game-based learning increases motivation and engagement, and if students are more motivated and engaged, they are more likely to stick with it and perform better,” said André Thomas, CEO of Triseum and director of the LIVE Lab at Texas A&M. “We know students have fun playing Variant: Limits and we know they connect more deeply with the content, but now we have empirical evidence that directly ties gameplay to stronger learning outcomes.”
Calculus is foundational to STEM degrees. As STEM graduates continue to be in high demand, and as shortages are predicted, higher education needs to put proven practices in place to help students succeed with this notoriously challenging subject. According to the Mathematical Association of America, only about 65 percent of students succeed in calculus, yet the math department at Texas A&M has been working hard to implement innovative tactics that have helped bring its student success rate to well above 90 percent.
Triseum worked closely with Texas A&M’s math department on the game’s proof of concept. “The math department gets it. They were instrumental in helping create the vision for what Variant: Limits could achieve and they are committed to making sure students have the tools and technologies necessary to help them succeed,” said Thomas.
In a recent on-air interview, Thomas talked about the importance of calculus in STEM curriculum and the need for more STEM graduates to fulfill millions of well paying jobs. “Limits are foundational for calculus, and understanding limits contributes to deeper learning that students can carry with them in other calculus and STEM courses,” said Thomas.
Game-based learning is gaining traction, and for good reason. Where more traditional learning resources like tutoring centers leave very little to the imagination, they also have high fees and are difficult to scale across multiple campuses and programs. Games are the opposite. Triseum’s academic games excite, leveraging sophisticated entertainment design principles that engage students, so much so that students often forget they are learning. Students can visualize the challenges and apply their knowledge, not to mention the company’s games offer an affordable and scalable solution for big and small student populations alike.
Texas A&M’s “Variant: Limits” study involved more than 2,000 students in Fall 2018. Those in the experimental group played the game on their own outside of class and scored higher on their first exams than students in the control group who did not play the game. Data did not take into account student motivation between the experimental group and the control group.