Exploring the potential of computer and video games for health and physical education: A literature review
This study aims at critically reviewing recently published scientific literature on the use of computer and video games in Health Education (HE) and Physical Education (PE) with a view: (a) to identifying the potential contribution of the incorporation of electronic games as educational tools into HE and PE programs, (b) to present a synthesis of the available empirical evidence on the educational effectiveness of electronic games in HE and PE, and (c) to define future research perspectives concerning the educational use of electronic games in HE and PE. After systematically searching online bibliographic databases, 34 relevant articles were located and included in the study. Following the categorization scheme proposed by [Dempsey, J., Rasmussen, K., & Lucassen, B. (1996). The instructional gaming literature: Implications and 99 sources. University of South Alabama, College of Education, Technical Report No. 96-1], those articles were grouped into the following four categories: (a) research, (b) development, (c) discussion and (d) theory. The overviewed articles suggest that electronic games present many potential benefits as educational tools for HE and PE, and that those games may improve young people's knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviours in relation to health and physical exercise. Furthermore, the newly emerged physically interactive electronic games can potentially enhance young people's physical fitness, motor skills and motivation for physical exercise. The empirical evidence to support the educational effectiveness of electronic games in HE and PE is still rather limited, but the findings present a positive picture overall. The outcomes of the literature review are discussed in terms of their implications for future research, and can provide useful guidance to educators, practitioners and researchers in the areas of HE and PE, and to electronic game designers. (C) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.