How the Social Element in Game-based Learning Can Interfere With Learning Outcomes: An Examination of the Research Literature
Abstract: This paper discusses the discovery of a pattern in the research literature suggesting the possibility of a detrimental effect on learning when social elements are used in educational video games. The chain of causality is as follows: social elements in a game increase cognitive load, cognitive load can heighten flow state, and heightened flow state can interfere with knowledge acquisition. The authors did not expect to discover this relationship and present it here for further consideration and analysis by the game-based learning community. This pattern, if further validated by empirical research, has the potential to disrupt many assumptions under which researchers and practitioners of game-based education operate. Further experimental research in this area is strongly recommended.