Effects of gender differences and spatial abilities within a digital pentominoes game

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Spatial ability is a critical skill in geometric learning. Several studies investigate how to use digital games to improve spatial abilities. However, not every learner favors this kind of support. To this end, there is a need to examine how human factors affect learners' reactions to the use of a digital game to support geometric learning. In this vein, this paper addresses this issue by developing a digital pentominoes game and examining the effects of two essential human factors, especially gender differences and spatial abilities, on students' performance. The results demonstrate that students' spatial abilities were significantly improved after they took the digital pentominoes game. The results also demonstrate that the digital game can reasonably reduce the differences between boys and girls. Moreover, the major gender differences lie within mental rotation among the three types of spatial ability and also mainly exist in the low spatial ability group. Finally, the findings are applied to develop a framework that can be used to enhance the understanding of gender differences and spatial abilities within the digital pentominoes game.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1220-1233
Number of pages14
JournalComputers and Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 2010


  • Digital game-based learning
  • Gender differences
  • Geometric learning
  • Human factors
  • Pentominoes
  • Spatial ability


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