Examining the benefits of interactive learning as a function of decreased mind wandering

Educational video games or ‘serious games’ represent an emerging trend in technology-assisted learning. Research suggests that interactive media, which responds to user input (e.g. video games), may promote learning by engaging attention better than receptive media (e.g. videos). Mind wandering, including off-task thoughts, is associated with disengagement of attention and is linked to boredom and poor learning outcomes. Thus, reduced mind wandering may serve as an indicator of better engagement and learning associated with serious games. We propose to compare an interactive serious game, designed by Exo Insights, to an educational video in terms of mind wandering and learning outcomes. We anticipate that mind wandering will be lower and learning outcomes higher for the interactive serious game. This study promises to uncover the potential engagement and learning advantages of serious games. Study methods and findings may also inform the development of Exo Insights’ virtual training technology.

Faculty Supervisor:

Daniel Smilek


Derek Albert


Exo Insights Corp




Professional, scientific and technical services


University of Waterloo



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