A Proof-of-Concept Study of Can’t Wait to Learn: A Digital Game-Based Learning Program for Out-of-School Children in Lebanon
Evaluations of education technology (ed tech) interventions in humanitarian settings are scarce. We present a proof-of-concept study of Can’t Wait to Learn, a digital game-based learning program that combines an experiential, active learning design with meaningful, competency-appropriate, and contextually relevant content. We assessed the feasibility of using this program to address the current education gap in Lebanon by implementing its mathematics component in basic literacy and numeracy classes (n=30) with out-of-school children (n=390) ages 10-14. We estimated changes in numeracy competency and psychosocial wellbeing and conducted focus group discussions (n=16) and key informant interviews (n=19) with children, facilitators, parents, and partner staff members to understand the lived experience, perceived impact, and implementation challenges of the program. Our findings support the feasibility of using ed tech programs to meet the needs of out-of-school children, as we saw significant improvements in numeracy, psychological symptoms, and self-esteem; positive reported experiences with the program; increased motivation among the children; and overall ease of implementation. Our suggested improvements to the game design and implementation model will support ongoing program adaptation and implementation, with the goal of increasing access to quality education for children living in humanitarian settings. Our findings will inform future studies that seek to conclusively determine the program’s effectiveness.