Associating spatial knowledge with concept maps to facilitate learning in digital gaming contexts

Gwo Jen Hwang, Yu Chun Lin, Hui Chen Lin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In conventional digital game-based learning, geographic maps are generally used to provide students with the whole picture of the gaming contexts, while the concepts to be learned are separately presented as individual gaming objects. Scholars have indicated the problems of such a gaming content design, in which students could encounter difficulties making effective connections between spatial and conceptual knowledge during the learning process, which may influence their learning effectiveness. As a result, it is a crucial and challenging issue to assist students in organizing spatial and conceptual knowledge in contextual learning environments, such as digital games. To solve this problem, an integrated concept map and geographic map-based digital gaming (CM-GMDG) approach is proposed to demonstrate how spatial and conceptual knowledge can be connected in the development of digital games. To investigate the effectiveness of the approach, a quasi-experiment was conducted in a social science course. Two classes of seventh graders in a high school participated in this study. The experimental group (N = 39) adopted the CM-GMDG approach while the control group (N = 23) adopted the conventional geographic map-based digital gaming (GMDG) approach. The results showed that the students using the CM-GMDG approach significantly outperformed those using the GMDG approach on learning achievement. Moreover, the learning behavioral pattern analysis results showed that compared with the control group, students in the experimental group more frequently engaged in knowledge-acquiring behaviors, such as reading learning materials and completing learning tasks. On the other hand, the control group gave up on the learning tasks more frequently by switching the gaming scenes and stopping answering questions. This indicated that the CM-GMDG approach was more helpful for guiding students to focus on their learning tasks than the GMDG approach.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2221-2241
Number of pages21
JournalEducational Technology Research and Development
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023


  • Concept mapping
  • Concept maps
  • Digital game-based learning
  • Social science

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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