Ganking the Ranking: The self-reported Learning Potential from a Selection of game Genres to Develop self-directed Learning


  • Byron Bunt North-West University
  • Lance Bunt North-West University



game-based learning, game genres, self-directed learning, video games, history education


Game-based learning (GBL) is said to have encouraging potential for varying educational contexts and scenarios, but how do practitioners select suitable edifying gaming content for their own unique environments? Moreover, what are the correct strategies, recommendations, procedures and/or parameters for choosing appropriate gaming media for learning? There are countless options to choose from, varying in genre, play style, medium, difficulty, aim(s), etc. This paper presents the results of an interpretive study seeking to discern a set of requirements and qualities of informed GBL selection. Online surveys completed by history-for-education students at a South African Higher Education institution hope to bring us closer to guidelines for more effective GBL selection and application in tertiary education contexts across the globe. The following paper begins with remarks on the significance of self-direction in contemporary Higher Education and the potential for GBL to not only spur this tendency on, but to frame and support it. The conceptual framework used in the project is then unpacked as it relates to self-directed learning, game-based learning, video games and supplementary theoretical structures. The proceeding section is divided into three sections related to central study concepts, including: meta-behaviour, metacognition, and meta-emotion, with trial and error, observation and modelling, as well as reinforcement learning as subcategories of meta-behaviour that follow. Additional subcategories surrounding metacognition are then explored, namely: connected learning, reflect and improvise, logical and analytical reasoning, inquiry-based learning, and synthesis. The methodology then describes the hybrid video/survey techniques utilised to gather data relating to participant impression(s), motivational factors, challenge and educational value of GBL selection for Higher Education contexts. Results obtained provide a suitable starting point to construct a viable applied framework for such an environment.