Instructors Observe Engagement and Motivation After Students Played Variant: Limits

By Amber Muenzenberger

The long-anticipated wait for the results of a year-long game-based learning validation study is finally over, and the findings reveal that calculus game Variant: Limits™ had a positive impact on student engagement, motivation and knowledge acquisition. Teachers from Norway, Poland, Portugal, Italy and Greece recently shared their feedback and observations during a webinar, hosted by European Schoolnet. Here is the webinar replay:

Teachers involved in the pilot study were charged with implementing Triseum’s Variant: Limits into their classrooms, challenging both themselves and their students to experiment with this alternative educational model. Triseum provided professional development, tools and support for the study.

Outcomes proved the game’s ability to engage and motivate students in ways teachers hadn’t seen before. During the webinar, instructors were asked the following questions and provided some insightful take-aways:

How did you connect Variant: Limits to goals of your lesson plans?

  • Students could explore the calculus concepts in pairs, which fostered collaboration.
  • Students created their own presentations after experiencing the game, which formalized their understanding of the content and furthered their learning by teaching others.

How did you use Variant: Limits to engage students?

  • The game has the ability to draw students in through its attention-holding graphic design. Students self-organized into study groups and initiated a dialog about calculus without being asked to do so.
  • Students socialized in new ways (especially quieter students) and built self-confidence.

Were students were more involved in mathematics following the implementation of the game?

  • Yes! Students developed an investigative spirit, critical thinking skills and more enthusiasm for calculus.
  • Students found that Variant: Limits made practice more fun.

What lessons did you learn from using Variant: Limits in your classrooms?

  • The biggest impact was on students whose attention tends to wander and students who don’t typically earn top scores.
  • The student vs. game mentality created a positive challenge and students’ skills evolved into long-term mathematical knowledge.

How has your class changed after Variant: Limits?

  • Students became more active researchers, learned how to exercise their imaginations, and gained more independence and ownership in the learning experience.
  • They now have a solid understanding of how to construct models, test ideas and evaluate results.

Both the executive summary and the complete report, which also followed teachers and students using Triseum’s art history game, ARTé: Mecenas™, are available here. The study was conducted in partnership with Triseum and European Schoolnet and the results were evaluated by the University of Würzberg.