Defense Date


Graduation Date

Summer 8-13-2022


Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name



Instructional Technology (EdDIT)


School of Education

Committee Chair

Jeffrey Miller

Committee Member

John A. Pollock

Committee Member

Karen Levitt


game-based learning, educational gaming, digital educational games, gaming effectiveness, knowledge acquisition, knowledge retention, genetics instruction


Digital educational games have been a part of the educational landscape since the early 1970s. Since then, there has been a proliferation in the quantity, format, type, and quality of digital educational games available to classroom teachers. Despite this, the body of literature surrounding the effectiveness of these digital educational games remains highly fragmented and lacks unifying themes. While some literature exists to support the use of digital educational games in immediate knowledge acquisition, little research has been done on how digital educational games impact the retention of knowledge in the long term. As such, this study examines how the use of a digital educational game impacts both immediate knowledge acquisition and the retention of that knowledge long-term. Outcomes of a digital educational game are compared to outcomes of hands-on instruction in the context of genetics content delivered in a high school biology course. Secondary analysis of an existing data set serves to determine if a digital educational game provides increased knowledge acquisition immediately after instruction when compared to hands-on instructional activities. Additionally, the investigation determines if a digital educational game provides increased knowledge retention thirty days post instruction when compared to hands-on instructional activities. The examination and analysis of the data, which includes pre-test, immediate post-test, and long-term post-test assessment scores was be conducted. The findings from this study help to advance the understanding of the value of digital educational games and their appropriate implementation in science classrooms.