Cogent Education publishes CEITR research team article

Cogent Education publishes CEITR research team article

Cogent Education publishes CEITR research team article

A team of five researchers from the Center for Educational and Instructional Technology (CEITR) will publish in Cogent Education in February, 2018. The authors are Patrick Turner, Elizabeth Johnston, Mansureh Kebritchi, Sally Evans, and David Heflich. The open access article will be published online in February and will be available at the DOI below at that time. The article has significance for both professional practice and scholarship.

Team lead, Patrick Turner is the Director of Student Support Center-Helena College at the University of Montana whose research focus is student retention and persistence. Elizabeth Johnston currently serves as Senior Research Fellow for the Center for Educational and Instructional Technology Research (CEITR) and leads the Teaching and Learning with the Arts Special Interest Group (TLAR) with Rita Hartman. Mansureh Kebritchi is the CEITR Chair in the School of Advanced Studies. David Heflich mentors doctoral students for UOP and for Nova Southeastern University. Sally Evans is a researcher in education who serves as a Doctoral Chair and on candidate committees.  All members have an active research agenda in the field of education and scholarship and have presented at both national and international conferences.          


Technological advances have provided educational institutions the capability to explore various online teaching strategies such as digital games in the classroom. Though games can be used to engage various learning styles and behaviors, the platform is mainly practiced at the secondary educational grade level with traditional-aged students. Little research literature exists that explores the influence of digital game-based learning on the academic achievement of nontraditional undergraduate students. An extensive literature review of 77 articles was conducted using the procedure developed in Cooper’s Taxonomy (1998) for analyzing and synthesizing literature. Cooper’s system involved (a) formulating the problem, (b) collecting data, (c) evaluating data appropriateness, (d) analyzing and interpreting relevant data, and (e) organizing and presenting the results. This scoping literature review explores how digital games can be used in the educational environment to support the learning of nontraditional students.

Practice based significance

Many U.S. college and university leaders need to construct ways to engage and retain non-traditional students who make up 75% of student enrollment.  During the Obama administration, the U.S was tied for 12th position with 39% of adults having a minimum of an associate degree. Digital game based learning, when aligned with the learning objectives of a course or curriculum has been shown to provide a hands-on, interactive, and real-life application learning experience. Learners are engaged through the cognitive, psychomotor and affective domains which increase the opportunity for retention, persistence, and graduation.  If the United States is to once again lead worldwide in college degree attainment, the percent rate of successful college graduates needs to raise to 56% by the year 2020. Finding ways to engage the largest but most vulnerable population of learners on campus is vital to the U.S global position and workforce development.

Keywords. nontraditional students; computer games; achievement; motivation; retention; higher education; part-time students; postsecondary education; gamification; digital game-based learning; adult-learners


Turner, P., Johnston, E., Kebrtichi, M., Evans, S., & Heflich, D. (2018) Influence of online computer games on the academic achievement of nontraditional undergraduate students. Cogent Education. Taylor and Francis Publishing.

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