This is a study of S. Erhel and E. Jamet (2013) from the Experimental Psychology Laboratory, CRPCC of the University of Rennes-II Haute Bretagne.
Although many studies have investigated the effects of digital game-based learning (DGBL) on learning and motivation, its benefits have never been systematically demonstrated. In our first experiment, we sought to identify the conditions under which DGBL is most effective, by analyzing the effects of two different types of instructions (learning instruction vs. entertainment instruction). Results showed that the learning instruction elicited deeper learning than the entertainment one, without impacting negatively on motivation. In our second experiment, we showed that if learners are given regular feedback about their performance, the entertainment instruction results in deep learning. These two experiments demonstrate that a serious game environment can promote learning and motivation, providing it includes features that prompt learners to actively process the educational content.
The study can be found here.