Tradition holds the mission of higher education to be three-fold: teaching, research, and service, with overarching emphasis on learning (O’Banion, 2010). Increasingly, institutions of higher education are searching for ways to improve the delivery of knowledge to students and, as a delivery mechanism, learning games are currently in vogue (Sabin, 2012; Ulicsak & Wright, 2010). Because half of college students are adult learners (NCES, 2018), higher education institutions must acknowledge this fact and seek ways to support and encourage adult students. The confluence in higher education of learning games with adult learners was the context for the study. Give that most learning game studies have examined learning outcomes (Sitzmann, 2011; Weigel, 2013), this study focused on adult game-based learning by exploring if relationships existed between and among learning styles and demographics, and experiential aspects of and satisfaction with a game.
This mixed-methods, sequential, explanatory, dominantly quantitative study assessed adults’ learning styles and perceptions of experiential aspects of a game, based on Kolb’s theory (1984, 2015), and the characteristics and satisfaction of adults who participated in a learning game. The sample was drawn from adult learners at a U.S. military graduate education institution. Data were collected from game-playing adults who completed a learning style inventory (N = 48), an experiential aspects and satisfaction questionnaire (N = 41), and interviews with volunteers (N = 11). Data analyses used appropriate statistical and theme-identifying methods, and the results were converged supporting comparison and contrast.
The study found alignment among learning styles, experiential aspects, and satisfaction, with Abstract Conceptualization and Active Experimentation (Kolb, 2015) emerging as the preferred learning styles. For demographic characteristics, only age was significantly related to learning styles. Utility of the game surfaced as the most important component of satisfaction, whereas immersion was a key requirement for satisfaction regarding the game experience.
The findings resulted in recommendations that are potentially useful to higher education leaders responsible for curriculum policy-making and practice, to designers of learning games for adults, and to institutional leaders concerned with the attraction and retention of adult students.
|Advisor:||Warner, Jack, Ward, Cynthia V. L.|
|Commitee:||Billups, Felice D., Gable, Robert K.|
|School:||Johnson & Wales University|
|School Location:||United States -- Rhode Island|
|Source:||DAI-A 81/4(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Adult education, Educational tests & measurements, Educational psychology|
|Keywords:||Adult education, Assessment, Educational games, Games, Learning games, Learning satisfaction|
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