Learning through video games

Video games are powerful market and social forces. They can make learning fun, interactive, and stimulating. ‘Lemonade Stand’ was a 1970s computer game that engaged children in pricing, advertising, buying, and selling lemonade. From this promising beginning an industry has grown that includes serious games, gamification and game-infused learning. The focus can be on games designed for education, the use of game elements in workplace training, simulations such as flight trainers, or on social benefit. Players can try out unfamiliar roles and contexts and make consequential decisions, for example in simulated financial trading. However, it is difficult to balance learning with fun. A solution may lie in collaboration between professional game designers, software engineers, and learning experts. Together, these groups could develop game engines based on effective pedagogy, employing learning analytics to adapt game experiences to players’ educational goals and actions.

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3 Responses to Learning through video games

  1. Robert Clegg says:

    Until school purchasing philosophy changes, games won’t be as effective as they could be. Purchases are made on the principle that the product should be used and useful for everyone. That includes boys and girls alike.

    If you look at the video game market, you will see that the market is segmented in many ways across numerous demo and psychographics. One size does not fit all.

    Result: Game companies must dilute their product in response to reactions from purchasing agents that want the games to work for everyone.

    Soon you will see data from analytic companies showing the log in history of students versus usage time and performance. The data will show only a small fraction of students actually played the game long enogh to see any effect.

  2. Robert Clegg says:

    Learner analytics will not work here. Player demographics might. But games are an art not a science. In games, the content is the king; it drives the interest and the motivation. The mechanics or game progression is an art. How hard should a level be? How easy should this or that part of the game be?

    For every decision you make to make the game easier for larger numbers of players that aren’t that motivated, you dilute the experience for others, for those that would get much more out of it.

  3. Robert Clegg says:

    I don’t see a discussion of actual innovation in pedagogy on how to use these games. What innovations in game design change how the implementation occurs in the classroom?

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