The Impact of an Online Game on Students’ Knowledge and Attitudes

This study examined the impact of an online educational game on knowledge and attitudes related to asthma. 

Asthma is one of the more prevalent chronic diseases in Canada, affecting more than 10% of the population. The consequences of this disease are numerous and the human and socio-economic costs that result from this are enormous. It is in this context that we conducted a study to assess the impact of an online educational game we developed entitled  ‘Asthma: 123...Breath!’ on the knowledge acquisition, change in attitudes and behavioural intentions of senior secondary school students.

Principal Investigator: Dr. David Kaufman
Additional Team Members: Dr. Louise Sauvé, Téléuniversité, UQAM
Dr. Lise Renaud, UQAM

How This Project is Carried Out

‘Asthma: 1, 2, 3…Breath!’ is an educational game developed by our team of family doctors, asthma specialists, expert game developers, and researchers. Our study measured the learning enhanced by an online educational game. We measured whether the game enhanced learning by comparing prior knowledge and attitudes before the game with those modified after playing the game. 

We selected a large sample of 160 students limited to several classes at the grade 10 and 11 levels. The results showed significant improvements in knowledge acquisition and attitudes after students had played the game on laptops in their classrooms for 40-60 minutes. No differences were found between males and females. These results are encouraging for teachers who wish to use these types of educational games in their classrooms to improve their students’ learning and attitudes.

Why This Project Matters

Two large-scale pan-Canadian studies involving thousands of asthmatic people have shown that less than 50% achieve an adequate control of asthma, contrary to their own belief and that of health professionals that treat them that their asthma is under control. The insufficient management of asthma is responsible for a high rate of emergency room visits or doctor appointments, hospitalizations and specialist consultations. These data show the importance of intervening with the Canadian population by proposing health education programs adapted to the needs of the population, and focused as much on prevention as on therapy.

Some studies have shown that with a better understanding of asthma and its optimal treatment, those suffering from this disease as well as their significant others can greatly improve their mastery and control over asthma.

Numerous studies have shown that digital games can have a positive impact on changing knowledge, attitudes and behaviours of players. Researchers have described the affective learning developed through games: confidence, self-efficacy, attitudes, preferences and dispositions. Therefore, integrating of learning material within a game can also have an impact on changing attitudes or behaviours. Numerous studies have shown positive effects on health behaviours and outcomes from participation in appropriate games.

Where to Learn More

  • Renaud, L., Sauvé, L., & Kaufman, D. (2012, in press). Asthme : 1,2,3... Respirez ! Efficacité du jeu éducatif sur les attitudes à l’égard de l’asthme [Asthma: 1,2,3…Breathe! Effectiveness of an educational game on attitudes toward asthma]. Revue de communication sociale et publique, 29 p.
  • Kaufman, D., Sauve, L., & Renaud, L. (2011). Enhancing learning through an online secondary school educational game. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 44(4), 409-428.
  • Sauvé, L., Kaufman, D., &  Renaud, L. (2011). Construire un jeu éducatif en ligne Asthme : 1, 2, 3 … Respirez! pour sensibiliser les jeunes du secondaire aux problèmes de l'asthme [Building an online educational game: Asthma 1, 2, 3…Breathe! for teaching secondary school youth about the problems of asthma]. La Revue Canadienne de l’apprentissage et de la technologie / Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology, 37(2), 16 p.