A learning effectiveness analysis of game-based teaching in economics

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This article examines the effectiveness of game-based teaching on student achievement in a principles of microeconomics course. A total of twentytwo classes (nearly 1,500 students) participated in the study - fourteen of which (the treatment group consisting of 996 students) made use of two classroom games throughout the first half of the semester while the remaining eight classes (the control group consisting of 488 students) used the lecture-oriented approach. On the same range of topics covering markets, welfare, and public-sector policies, all classes jointly implemented one pretest and two post-tests. We find that students in the treatment group exhibited a more positive attitude toward economics, achieved a significantly greater short-term improvement in their understanding of advanced topics, but differed little in hours of study. Furthermore, the use of classroom games increased the mid-term retention of economic knowledge significantly and comprehensively, including a positive spillover effect on concepts not covered in the games.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)573-610
Number of pages38
JournalTaiwan Economic Review
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2020


  • Difference-in-differences approach
  • Game-based teaching
  • Item response theory
  • Learning effect


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