Cognitive outcomes refer “to the knowledge structures relevant to perceiving games as artefacts for linking knowledge-oriented activities with cognitive outcomes” (Lameras et al., 2016, p. 10). Tasks framed as games and simulations are deployed to develop a various range of cognitive skills, like deep learning (Vos & Brennan, 2010; Young et al., 2012; Erhel & Jamet, 2013; Crocco et al., 2016), critical thinking and scientific reasoning (Beckem & Watkins, 2012; Halpern et al., 2012; Ahmad, 2013), action-directed learning (Lu et al., 2014), transformative learning (Kleinheskel, 2014), decision-making (Tiwari, 2014), knowledge acquisition and content understanding (Terzidou, 2012; Elias, 2014; Fu et al., 2016), spatial abilities (Adams et al., 2016), and problem solving (Liu, 2011; Lancaster, 2014).
The effect of games and simulations on learning remains a controversial issue amongst researchers within the field, because it are going to be further confirmed during this article. Some reviewed studies indicate improved learning, while others show no positive effect on knowledge and skill acquisition compared to traditional learning methods. the worth of simulations are often examined from the attitude of content change as discussed in Kovalic and Kuo’s study (2012). Simulations are directly linked to the course content and students are given the chance to use and better understand theoretical concepts. Additionally, simulations provide an environment during which students can experiment with different strategies, adopt different roles, and take hold of their own decisions by assuming responsibility. The latter issue is discussed at length by Liu et al. (2011), who find that, when solving problems, students are more likely to find out via playing a game than via a standard learning experience.
Serious gaming, especially given the context of enthusiastic students, has proved to be an efficient training method in domains like medical education, for instance , in clinical decision-making and patient interaction (de Wit-Zuurendonk & Oei, 2011). Similarly, Kleinheskel (2014) illustrates the importance of designing self-reflective simulating activities for nursing students, and aligning such design with cognitive outcomes. When students self-reflect on simulated clinical experiences, they increase their existing knowledge, and apply new knowledge to transformative learning. Poikela et al. (2015), during a simulated nursing procedure, compare a computer-based simulation with a lecture to look at the meaningful learning students may achieve via the 2 teaching methods. They conclude that students who participate within the simulation are more likely to report meaningful learning outcomes than those taking the lecture, thanks to the strong presence of reflection-based activities and metacognitive themes. Similar results are present in Chen, (2015), survey during which both solitary players and collaborative groups achieve equally positive learning outcomes during a game. Students significantly improve judging by their pre- and post-test assessments, which indicates that the gaming experience affects their overall performance, and, presumably , promotes conceptual understanding. Moreover, collaborative GBL allows students to re-construct and co-construct knowledge, thus encouraging problem-solving through peer discussion.