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A Framework for Adopting Educational Computer Games in the Undergraduate Courses in Thai Universities for Learning and Teaching

Rapeepisarn, K. (2012) A Framework for Adopting Educational Computer Games in the Undergraduate Courses in Thai Universities for Learning and Teaching. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

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Computer and video games have been developed into effective tools for educational programmes. However, the question which follows is “Can computer games really become an effective educational tool in the classroom?” Debates and discussions regarding the best methodology for classroom education have gone on for decades. Researchers in many countries are slowly gaining acceptance to the use of educational games for educational purposes in schools and colleges. However the use of Educational Computer Games (ECG) is still not popular in schools and universities in Thailand. Thus, the research on the use of ECG for educational purposes in Thailand is scarce. This may be due to the negative impression of computer games from the community. Nevertheless, according to the Thailand Reform Education Act 1999, Thai universities should adopt student-centred learning as the main focus in teaching. It is therefore important to examine the possibilities of using ECG to support this type of learning environment. It is the purpose of this thesis to investigate the feasibility of adopting ECG in undergraduate courses in Thailand. The objectives of this thesis are: 1) to investigate the factors affecting the use of ECG in the classrooms by Thai lecturers and students, 2) to examine the learning and teaching styles that benefit the use of ECG, and 3) to determine the genre of computer games which are appropriate and effective as educational computer games. In order to study the adoption of ECG for teaching and learning in Thai undergraduate courses, three main theoretical frameworks have been investigated. There are technology acceptance theories, ECG concepts and pedagogical theories.

The research strategy for this study is survey research. Questionnaires and interviews are instruments used for data collections. The thesis combined both qualitative and quantitative research. A sample size of 400 students and 40 lecturers were selected from four Thai universities. As for the interview survey, there were 18 interviewees participated voluntarily. The results from the literature review on the theoretical frameworks have the effect in formulating the five research propositions of the study and the 20 hypotheses.

The major findings from this study are as follows: 1) every ECG acceptance factor namely Perceived Usefulness (PU), Perceived Ease of Use (PEOU), Attitude towards Use (AU), Subjective Norms (SN), Perceived Entertainment (PE) and University Environment Support Factors (UESF) have positive influence on the behavioural intent to use ECG in teaching and learning; 2) nearly half of the Thai students have a Pragmatist Style of learning (43.5%) and a reasonable share of Thai lecturers have a Facilitators Style of teaching (41.4%); 3) when the learning style is used as a predictor of ECG adoption, every style of learning has a positive influence on the behavioural intent to use. After Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) testing, it was found that there is no statistical significant difference between each learning style. However, when using regression analysis with “enter” method to each learning style; it can be found that the Activist Style has the most positive influence on the behavioural intent to use ECG. In contrast, with ANOVA testing, different teaching styles have different intent to use ECG. By a comparison of teaching styles using Fisher’s Least Significant Difference (LSD) method, it shows that there were two pairs of teaching styles that have a statistical significant difference at .011 and .013. The first pair is Facilitator and Personal, and the second pair is Facilitator and Delegator; 4) when the respondents were asked “What is Your Opinion If the University Has a Policy of Employing ECG into the Curriculum as a Learning Tool in the classrooms?”, most respondents have positive comments on accepting this type of education technology. 82.4% of students and 65.4% of lecturers agreed with this policy; 5) there are a variety of comments from the interviewees on the game genres they think could be appropriate for an education environment. Most of them think that all game genres can be applied to ECG (52.6%). 26.3% think that it depends on the content and subject areas. The rest recommended some other game genres such as adventure, puzzle, role-playing, simulation, and sport games. However, in order to support the research finding, further studies have been carried out based on previous research papers relating with game genre and learning theories. The papers have been reviewed, analyzed, matched, used to bridge the gap, synthesised and, subsequently the three new conceptual frameworks are proposed: 1) conceptual model of relationships between learning styles, learning activities and possible game genres; 2) conceptual model of relationships between game genre and three learning theories; and 3) three stages of adopting digital game platforms for learning in the classroom. This study provides some useful insights into the ECG adoption in the Thai undergraduate classroom

Publication Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Information Technology
Supervisor: Wong, Kevin and Fung, Lance
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