Background: To determine the optimal speed of computer-paced serious games, the interplay of cognitive load variables and game engagement variables can serve as combined criteria.
Intervention: In order to test the effects of higher or lower game speeds on different types of cognitive load and engagement, the FRESH FOOD RUNNER game was developed, which teaches the harvest seasons of different fruits and vegetables.
Method: In this study, N=58 6th grade primary school students are randomly assigned to play the serious game FRESH FOOD RUNNER at different speeds. Pre-and post-tests are used to assess learning gains, in combination with rating scales for different types of cognitive load and game engagement.
Results: Results show that highest learning gains and lowest levels of extraneous cognitive load are prevalent at medium speed settings, which are neither too fast nor too slow. A similar pattern is apparent for student ratings of game engagement.
Discussion and Conclusion: In consequence, learning gains, cognitive load and engagement variables can be regarded as suitable criteria to determine the optimal speed of serious games.