Skip to main content

Efficacy Study of Adventures Aboard the S.S.GRIN: Social, Emotional, and Academic Skills

Elementary school is a time of tremendous growth and development in students’ social skills and peer relations. However, many students with poor social skills don’t receive the help they need. The reach of traditional in-person social-skills training is limited and there are a number of logistical barriers to implementation. Technology-based interventions provide the opportunity to reduce these barriers.

This study focuses on Adventures Aboard S.S.GRIN, a game-based online social-skills training program that is designed to improve social and academic outcomes for elementary school students. The Adventures program offers instructional episodes that are set within an appealing story narrative: the player is a new recruit on a sailing ship who joins the crew and travels around an island, interacting with a host of characters and engaging in social problem solving to address plot conflicts and save friendships on the island.

The key research questions are:

  • Is the Adventures Aboard S.S.GRIN program effective in improving students’ social-emotional skills?
  • Does it increase students’ self-efficacy for social situations?
  • Does it improve academic performance?

The project will conduct a randomized controlled trial. Classrooms will be randomly assigned to one of two conditions — a treatment condition using the Adventures Aboard S.S.GRIN program or a control condition that uses the school’s business-as-usual program. Third grade students in California will participate in this study. Participating students in the treatment condition will play the Adventures program once per week for 30–45 minutes each for nine weeks.

The Adventures Aboard S.S.GRIN  program is intended to increase students’ self-efficacy for social situations and improve social-emotional skills, which will result in improved academic performance, and ultimately reduced dropout rates.

Related Resources

Li, L., & Flynn, K. (2020). Engaging Districts to inform High Quality Implementation of a Game-based Social Skills Training Program. In Engaging Districts to Inform High Quality Implementation of a Game-based Social Skills Training Program. Paper presented at the 2020 AERA Conference, San Francisco, CA. Retrieved from