Video Games and Good Learning: May Video Games be Beneficial for Supporting Pupil Motivation, Literacy Development and Narrative Comprehension?
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Video games have become increasingly popular as a recreational activity for young people and learners. This study seeks to investigate if and how specifically commercial video games may function as effective learning tools and promote good learning. This is achieved by exploring the potential effect video games may have on players in three specific areas: facilitation of motivation in players, development of their literacy skills, and contribution to further narrative comprehension. Discussion of these areas and their relation to the medium of video games will use the Norwegian curriculum (Læreplan og kunnskapsløftet) as a framework and contextualize it to an educational setting. Pupil motivation, literacy competence and narrative comprehension are important factors of our educational system. Motivation is important for enabling pupils to be engaged with their schoolwork and to fuel their desire for further learning. Preparing pupils to become valuable participants in contemporary society is one of the primary objectives of the educational system, and to achieve this they need knowledge and competence, and possibilities to develop their skills. Furthermore, narrative is a prominent feature of the English subject curriculum in Norwegian education, and this thesis will explore how video games can expand player’s understanding of how narrative may function. The discussion of these three areas viewed in relation to video games is managed by analysing texts with a qualitative approach. The purpose of this thesis is to make visible the educational properties of video games; that they may be considered didactic, and not merely entertaining.