This study used a large-scale cluster randomized longitudinal experiment (N = 719; 35 schools) to investigate the effects of online mathematics mini-games on primary school students’ multiplicative reasoning ability. The experiment included four conditions: playing at school, integrated in a lesson (Eschool), playing at home without attention at school (Ehome), playing at home with debriefing at school (Ehome-school) and, in the control group, playing at school mini-games on other mathematics topics (C). The mini-games were played in Grade 2 and Grade 3 (32 mini-games in total). Using tests at the end of each grade, effects on three aspects of multiplicative reasoning ability were measured: knowledge of multiplicative number facts, skills in multiplicative operations, and insight in multiplicative number relations and properties of multiplicative operations. Through path analyses it was found that the mini-games were most effective in the Ehome-school condition, where both students’ skills and their insight were positively affected as compared to the control group (significant ds ranging from 0.22 to 0.29). In the Eschool condition, an effect was only found for insight in Grade 2 (d = 0.35), while in the Ehome condition no significant effects were found. Students’ gameplay behavior (time and effort put in the games) was in some cases, but not always, related to their learning outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
JournalContemporary Educational Psychology
Pages (from-to)55-71
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 2015
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    Research areas

  • Research in teaching and learning - Educational computer games, Mathematics education, Multiplicative reasoning, Primary school

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