Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Committee Chair

Dr. Holly Foster

Committee Chair School


Committee Member 2

Dr. Kyna Shelley

Committee Member 2 School


Committee Member 3

Dr. Masha Krsmanovic

Committee Member 3 School


Committee Member 4

Dr. James Thomas

Committee Member 4 School



This dissertation addresses the use of Game Based Learning (GBL) and Game Based Pedagogy (GBP) implemented in higher education and considers what effects may be measured on retention and learning.

Using the allegory of Socrates Cave, a story which challenges how learners’ perspectives differ according to each individual’s unique understanding, this study considered how participants reacted in similar scenarios during ‘serious games’ implemented in college level classes to reinforce and review material before testing. This study used a pre- and post-test model to assess the difference games used as an intervention had on short-term retention. The final credential scores of this year’s two intervention groups and the control group were compared to the outcomes of classes from the last ten years.

Data showed that specifically tailored ‘serious games’ purposefully implemented in higher education have a positive effect on both retention and learning for the majority of participants evaluated. The significance of this study is that it offers insight into the effects of GBL in higher education, on two different communities of participants, by reporting both quantitative and qualitative evaluation of participation in the intervention.

Available for download on Saturday, May 09, 2026