Situational Interest and Informational Text Comprehension: A Game-Based Learning Perspective
Lecture Notes in Computer Science
State Standards (Common Core State Standards, 2010) prioritizes reading instruction across the content areas significantly increasing students' exposure to informational texts-texts notorious for low comprehension rates and less than engaging content. Given the substantial literature supporting the positive relationship between situational interest and reading comprehension (Schraw, 1997) , this study addressed whether game-based learning environments generate situational interest and, more
... rtantly, whether the produced situational interest increases students' reading comprehension for informational texts within this context. Using an explanatory sequential mixed methods design eighth-grade students' situational interest and comprehension of texts embedded within a science game-based learning environment were compared to levels of situational interest and comprehension for students in a paper-pencil, classroom-based version of the gaming environment as well as to students learning from a PowerPoint. Findings from this study revealed the game-based learning environment, CRYSTAL ISLAND: LOST INVESTIGATION, to be significantly superior for triggering and sustaining levels of situational interest as compared to the other conditions. Furthermore, situational interest generated by the experimental manipulations was found to be a significant predictor of application-level reading comprehension above and beyond prior knowledge, reading ability, and personal interest, a finding consistent with previous research. Lastly, components of the learning environments identified by the student as a source of interest were found to be analogous with that of the situational interest literature. This finding indicates game-based learning environments to be a potential platform for additional situational interest investigations. Implications for this research include the design of gamebased learning environments, the significant overlap between game-based learning and situational interest research, and the utility of using situational interest as a metric for the evaluation for game-based learning environments.