Predisposition of In-Service Teachers to Use Game-Based Pedagogy

Sonia Palha, Ljerka Jukić Matić

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Digital game-based learning (DGBL) can be regarded as a promising teaching pedagogy to prepare students for challenges of the 21st century. However, the incorporation of digital games into K-12 curricula remains limited. Research suggests that a comprehensive understanding of barriers and motivational factors that teachers face when implementing DGBL is needed to ensure that teachers can receive the support required. To delineate suggestions for tailored curricula on game-based pedagogy in teacher education programs, we conducted a study to gain insight into in-service teachers’ perception of DGBL in relation to their previous experience in teaching with DGBL. To achieve our goal, we examined the factors that impede and promote the implementation of DGBL among in-service teachers who are presently pursuing master's level education programs, having in mind that this group of teachers is different from pre-service teachers. Data was collected using an online survey with open- and closed-ended questions. The sample consisted of in-service teachers (n=37) who were enrolled in a master’s course in math education. The data analysis conducted was of a qualitative nature. One significant finding derived from this study is that the level of pedagogical experience in utilizing games as a teaching tool appears to be a crucial factor in understanding the inclination of in-service teachers towards game-based pedagogy. Pedagogical factors were mentioned by teachers at all stages of experience with DGBL, and differences were observed between teachers at different stages. For instance, in-service teachers with experience with DGBL (intermediate and advanced stages) were concerned about being able to maintain focus on the math concepts, the need to adapt the game lesson to students, and the ways to evaluate student learning less experienced teachers were essentially concerned about ways to control the classroom during DGBL and whether the pupils would receive adequate practice in this learning mode. Differences were also noted for other factors between teachers at different stages. Advanced stage teachers did have concerns about game appropriateness for the intended learning; teachers with less experience were concerned about the lack of games (technical factors). Dealing with an existing curriculum and high workload were common aspects for teachers with no or some experience but only teachers with some experience mentioned obstacles related to school organization (structural factors). Teachers with few and some experience referred to the lack of knowledge and competence (personal factors) and that pupils would not take the lessons with games seriously (social factors). This research supports DGBL- practice (i) by adding new knowledge on the factors that can support or constrain the integration of DGBL and its implications for the development of curricula on game-based pedagogy; (ii) by providing suggestions to design and implement meaningful curricula on digital game-based pedagogy for teaching education and training programs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)286-298
JournalThe Electronic Journal of e-Learning
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 18 Sept 2023


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