Videogame Play and Higher Education

Elvira Topete and Dr. Barbara Thayer


In the study conducted by Barr (2017), the researcher investigated video games as a vehicle for graduate skills in higher education, where the findings suggest that playing commercialized video games may positively affect adaptability, resourcefulness, and communication abilities. These attributes are essential in graduate school success. Furthermore, prior research does not account for extracurricular activities or employment for those participants in the college setting. In addition, the participants’ intent to pursue graduate education is unclear. The positive aspects of video gameplay and its influence on academic motivation are central to this study. We investigated the correlation between video gameplay and academic motivation and other factors, such as GPA, academic major, time spent playing (during the week, weekend, school breaks), and extracurricular activities, including family and employment. This study hypothesizes that students who plan to attend graduate school will demonstrate strong motivation for playing video games. We also expect to find a negative correlation between time playing video games and GPA. Method: The participants in this study were 57 adult undergraduate students aged 18-42 years (M = 22.50) enrolled in diverse majors from California State University Channel Islands. All participants completed a self-report survey composed of six scales: The Big 5 inventory, Achievement Motivation, Academic Motivation, Gaming Attitudes, Gaming Motives, and Scale of Attitudes. The participants indicated whether they aspire to attend graduate school. Other demographic questions included hours spent working and studying and parents’ and siblings’ level of education. Findings: Preliminary analyses show that students with aspirations to pursue graduate school and motivation for playing videogames for recreation are moderately positively correlated, r(55) = .41, p < .01.