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Media Effects, Communication, and Complexity Science Insights on Games for Learning

JOHN L. SHERRY

Introduction

A survey of the research literature on games for learning reveals that most contributions come from game designers, education researchers, and various health researchers. To a lesser extent, the field has been informed by the work of researchers who are primarily associated with communication science. Communication researchers contribute to the larger media effects research, but they approach questions of media effects from a different perspective than social or developmental psychologists do. In fact, literature from these three primary media effects disciplines has long been separate with little cross-citation. As the subfield of games for learning enters into its formal stage, it’s helpful to inquire what communication researchers have to offer. Do they have unique perspectives that may enhance our understanding of games for learning? That’s the purpose of this chapter: to consider how a communication perspective can contribute to research on games for learning.

 
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