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Screenshot from EF Suite

Executive Functions Training Games

EF Suite is a fully developed set of executive function (EF) training games built by CREATE lab to improve EF skills for middle school, high school, and college students. As EF predicts success in many academic disciplines, the game is also intended to consequently improve potential learning in reading, math, and science. Each of the three games were designed to train one of the key components of EF: All You Can ET training shifting, for the capacity to shift between mental tasks; Gwakkamole training inhibition, for the capacity to suppress one’s own dominant responses; and CrushStations training updating, for the capacity to monitor and manipulate elements in working memory. 

Empirical studies conducted in a collaboration between NYU, CUNY, and UCSB  have demonstrated the effectiveness of All You Can ET and Gwakkamole in increasing EF skills for students of middle school, high school, and college. Studies have also been conducted to demonstrate how the effectiveness of such EF-training games can be enhanced through the use of visual design to elicit player emotions during gameplay, various methods of adapting task difficulty during gameplay, and level design based on developmental neurophysiological changes associated with adolescent development. The creation of these games and the associated research work was funded by an IES grant. Future research work includes demonstrating the effectiveness of CrushStations, enhancing Gwakkamole through the use of motivational design, and clarifying the way in which visual emotional design enhances All You Can ET.


The goal of this project is to develop and pilot test game-based interventions for students in middle school through early college that are intended to improve the executive function (EF) skills that are needed to enter rigorous academic disciplines. EF predicts success in many academic disciplines, including science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM); however, explicit instruction in EF is rarely part of formal or informal education. The specific project goals are: (1) to design and develop a suite of three games that target three key components of EF (i.e., shifting, inhibition, and updating); (2) to collect evidence on the feasibility of implementing the games in education settings; and (3) to assess the potential benefit of the EF games for students' academic outcomes. The three games developed are All You Can ET, which trains the EF subskill of shifting, Gwakkamole, which trains the EF subskill of inhibition, and CrushStations, which trains the EF subskill of updating. 


Funder Info

PIs: Richard E. Mayer, Jan L. Plass, Bruce D. Homer

RA: Andrew MacNamara, Corinne Brunner, Shashank Pawar, Maya Rose, Teresa Ober

Funder: Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education