An analysis of undergraduate heavy-video-gaming students : developing technology–enhanced learning-support areas based on gaming and study practices
Video-gaming has become a popular extracurricular option for students in higher education. More than 70 percent of undergraduate students reported they played video-games at some level, with heavy-video-gaming students reporting they invest over 14 hours a week on games. When extracurricular activities take 14 or more hours of commitment, students' academic performance is at risk of falling. However, not much is known about the heavy-video-gaming students, their gaming and study practices, and whether new technology-enhanced academic learning supports may meet their needs. A conceptual framework using study habits and attitudes, academic performance, and activity theory provided a lens to view the research. This exploratory study applied a qualitative virtual ethnography methodology and interviews to investigate the gaming and study practices of 93 heavy-video-gaming students. Results indicate five study organizational approaches the video-gaming participants use in their study practices. In addition, five types of heavy-video-gaming students have been explored. More specifically, the findings unveil the contrast between undergraduate video-gaming students' study and gaming practices. For example, the results indicate that playing games offer the video gaming students a mental break they feel they need to take from their university studies, and students play games as a reward for their study efforts. Additionally, video-gaming students desire that their studies provide them with some ongoing reward system, similar to rewarding systems in games. Finally, learning supports for gaming students have been developed. This new knowledge about the study practices of video-gaming students can be used by educational professionals as a basis for developing and implementing technology-enhanced academic learning supports to align with video-gamer student needs.