A systematic literature review to identify empirical evidence on the use of computer games in business education and training

Kun Fu*, Thomas Hainey, Gavin Baxter

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Over the past decade, serious games are being widely used in a range of different contexts, including in business. Serious games can support the development of a number of different skills, enhance motivation, increase interest in subject matter and are reputed to be an effective learning tool. Regarding computer games and their conflicting impact on learners, it is difficult to draw out any conclusions with regards to the achievement of leaning outcomes. The primary concern associated with games-based learning in business is the lack of empirical evidence to support the approaches validity. This paper presents the findings of a systematic literature review performed from 2005 to 2014 to investigate potential positive impacts of computer games in business on users aged 18 years or above, especially with respect to learning outcomes and engagement. A diverse range of studies were identified that examined the variety of learning in computer games including affective/motivational outcomes, behaviour change, knowledge acquisition and content understanding, motor skills, perceptual and cognitive skills, physiological outcomes and soft/social skill outcomes. The search identified eighty-two papers reporting empirical evidence about the positive impacts and learning outcomes of digital games. The most frequently occurring outcomes were knowledge acquisition/content understanding, followed by various learning outcomes and perceptual and cognitive skills. The most popular platform for delivery games was the PC. Simulation was by far the most popular genre, followed by online game and role playing. The majority of studies utilised survey designs followed by quasi-experimental designs. Moreover, the measures used in the studies are discussed to develop a more coherent understanding of learning in computer games, together with analysing the findings and recommendations for using digital games for learning.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication10th European Conference on Games Based Learning (ECGBL 2016)
Subtitle of host publicationPaisley, United Kingdom, 6-7 October 2016
EditorsThomas Connolly, Liz Boyle
Place of PublicationPaisley, Scotland
PublisherAcademic Conferences and Publishing International Limited
Number of pages8
ISBN (Print)9781510830295
Publication statusPublished - 6 Oct 2016

Publication series

NameProceedings of the European conference on games-based learning
PublisherAcademic Conferences and Publishing International
ISSN (Print)2049‐0992
ISSN (Electronic)2049-100X


  • Business Games
  • Learning Outcomes
  • Motivation
  • Systematic Literature Review
  • Empirical Evidence


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