A Comparison of the Online Learning Activities and Learning Style Preferences of Young Adult Video Game Players and Nonplayers

  •  Soonhwa Seok    
  •  Boaventura DaCosta    


A study is presented that compared the online learning activities and learning style preferences of video game players and nonplayers. A total of 1,258 students across seven postsecondary institutions near Seoul, South Korea, rated their experiences with video game play alongside their online learning activities and preferences toward learning styles that share characteristics with many of today’s games. Utilizing a causal-comparative approach, descriptive and inferential statistical analyses were used to quantitatively examine the groups. At first glance, the findings revealed that the players were more involved in online learning activities than the nonplayers. Namely, the players (a) took more online courses and/or training per year; (b) shared ideas, documents, information, and/or knowledge online; (c) read and/or contributed to blogs; (d) used the Internet to complete school assignments; and (e) used email, instant message, chat (or other means) to communicate with instructors and peers. However, further examination revealed that the nonplayers held a stronger preference than the players for most of the learning styles examined. That is, the nonplayers preferred online courses and/or training that (a) presented graphics before text; (b) provided opportunities to multitask; (c) offered the ability to selectively access different parts of courseware, rather than linearly stepping through; and (d) were play- rather than work-centric. Although exceptions were found, on the whole, these findings suggest that arguments about today’s youth and their different learning preferences, as a result of exposure to and experience with technology, to include video games, may be premature and much more in-depth empirically supported research is needed before definitive conclusions can be safely drawn.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.