Game-based Learning

I do digital or electronic games have a role in learning in this presentation I share my thoughts on this topic I think digital games are one more tool for learning of teaching by that I mean that for Lana who is very comfortable with traditional means like books and finds learning through books efficient for sachin anna digital games may not be much of a value ID but for some learners who are not comfortable with traditional means of learning games can play a very important role for game based learning we can look at it from two perspectives the first is learning effectiveness or do the games provide a meaningful learning activity or is it that the learning is it that the game is just a fun activity and doesn't really lead to any learning and the second aspect is engagement or do the games enhance learning motivation and the elements of engagement from a perspective of game-based learning would be is the game does the game provide a fun learning experience is it interesting or is it a very tedious and boring learning experience does it add to learn a concentration does it get learners full attention Ellen Langer author of the book mindful learning says that play holds our attention because the stimulus is constantly changing so for example she suggests that even while reading a book if the learner engages with the book more for example by looking at the book from the perspective of various characters in the book or playing with different endings of the book the more the learner engages with the stimulus the better the learning experience compare this to how boring a monologue lecture where the stimulus is absolutely static can become finally the another element on the engagement dimension is learning by doing or learning by getting your hands dirty which is that games can provide an experience where the learner has to intensely engage in various activities so to recap the engagement aspect of game-based learning includes elements like fun interest concentration full attention and learning by doing on the learner effectiveness access or how do games provide a more meaningful learning experience we can look at it from from the perspective of what other what are typically the learning outcomes expected for example typical learning outcomes include memorization knowledge acquisition understanding synthesis and creativity for all these various learning outcomes games can provide an enriched learning experience for example memorization which is a recall of facts which traditionally would be learned in a very rote learning experience games can make it a better learning experience for example a game to learn table math tables can provide a dimension of competitiveness by by challenging the learner to do more sums in lesser amount of time or bettering their score or a game to learn Spelling's can add contextualization to to me wrote for example a game targeted at learners who are soon going to apply for jobs could add a context of writing a covering letter for a resume and developing vocabulary and spellings within that context which may which the learner will will better identify with then on a knowledge acquisition learning outcome also games can play a important role typically by adding a multimedia dimension to the narrative and thus making it more interesting although one could argue that this is more of storytelling than gaming but from in comparison to a traditional learning experience a multimedia narrative certainly can for some learners provide a much better or a more enriched learning experience then understanding or what we could call resolution of a cognitive conflict is another learning outcome on which games can play a portent role from the perspective of deeper understanding games can for example provide active exploration or a discovery experience where the learners have to figure out things for themselves and find things for themselves games can provide feedback to the learners for improvement hints in the game or examples of providing a scaffolded learning experience and in general games are very good for providing a constructivist learning experience then synthesis or where the learner makes connections between two discrete concepts or ideas and is able to understand the underlying patterns and relationship between varied knowledge nuggets is another learning outcome which can be enriched by by using a game based learning experience for example a game like Sims brings requires knowledge across domains business economics etc to play the game also it may help in improving varied skills like planning and decision-making and problem-solving then creativity which we can think of as a application of knowledge in innovative ways or or in normal context is another learning outcome on games player can play an important role solo learning experiences typically provide more learning while competitive and collaborative learning experiences typically provide a better trigger for learn about motivation and I say typical because it depends on the game design but in general this may be the case and hence in selecting games for game based learning it is important to strike a balance between the two games which provide opportunities for solo learning or solo reflection whereas also providing opportunities for competition and collaboration which enhance learning motivation multiplayer games or gaming communities are excellent ways of providing experiences where there is co-construction of meaning collaborative working and consensus based decision making in such learning come in such gaming communities several learning theories are at play for example why God's keys zone zone of proximal development or more knowledgeable others or leave and Wenger's legitimate peripheral participation where which shows how a novice moves to expertise through observations reflection and mentoring so to recap on different learning outcomes better provided by games than traditional ways of learning at least for some students these learning outcomes could be memorization knowledge acquisition understanding synthesis of creation so far we have looked at the two dimensions of game-based learning engagement and learning effectiveness novelty of the devices on which a game is played can also add to the engagement aspect of the game for example consider playing a game on a computer or a laptop and playing the same game on a console like a V or Xbox or a mobile phone or smartphone or on a tablet like ipad the coolness of the form factor can certainly add to making a game more engaging there are several advantages of game-based learning for example game games can provide a learning experience which is more situated contextualize and personalized and I say can because it depends on how well a game has been designed or how well existing game has been used for achieving a particular learning outcome games can also be used for learning content or you know more knowledge acquisition of a particular discipline or topic or they can be used for acquisition of skills including 21st century skills like innovative problem-solving in collaboration or games can be used for practicing and honing existing skills one major advantage that game based learning has is that it has the potential to add import emotional impact to learning and positive emotions are very helpful in enhancing learning Daniel Goldman in his book social intelligence describes inspired moments of learning as moments where learners full attention enthusiastic interest and positive emotional intensity is brought out and games are very good at doing this that is in in creating such inspired moments of learning where the game is able to get learners full attention enthusiastic interest and provide a more positive emotional intensity games also have a unique advantage that the assessment can be embedded in a game as against a traditional setting where there is discrete aspect of acquisition of knowledge and then a discrete test of recall or application but in a in a game if it is well designed the demarcation between learning and assessment can be can become gray and hence the learner thinks it's all a game and and doesn't know that at this moment the learner is being tested for for a certain learning outcome another aspect of game-based learning is that games deal better with frustration and failure than in say a typical classroom setting and frustration and failure both can provide a great learning opportunity if you have the resources to design and develop own games then you should consider first establishing the learning mechanics or what is it that you want the learners to learn beat a cognitive skill or or or a particular knowledge or practicing these skills that we learner already has and then establish the assessment mechanics for example is it embedded is a test of recall is a test of application etc and then after you establish the learner mechanics and the assessment mechanics you should establish the game mechanics that is the engagement and the fun aspect of the game of will it be a solo endeavor a competitive or a collaborative endeavor etc if however you do not have the resources to design and develop your own games then you have to rely on existing games existing games may not be the most efficient way of delivering the particular learning outcome you have in mind for example you can use a game like Angry Birds to teach at what angle does maximum displacement take place but then because so many other factors are at play in that game that to teach this one element it may not be angry birds may not be the most efficient game to do that so existing games may have other extraneous elements which add to the cognitive load and hence make the achievement of a particular learning outcome less efficient however if you do not have the resources then you have to rely on games which are already out there and what you have to do then is that look at the game mechanics of games that are already there and then see how well they dovetail into the particular learning and assessment mechanics that you have established for example World of Warcraft uses a concept of guilds where learners come together and undertake a challenge and hence they learn or not about collaboration and hence a game like World of Warcraft can be used to learn collaboration principles so to sum up for learners who are not very comfortable with traditional means of learning games can indeed be a very effective alternative games can provide a variety of learning outcomes like memorization knowledge acquisition deeper understanding synthesis and creativity in ways that at least some learners who are not very comfortable with traditional means of learning these learning outcomes will find highly engaging and fun so i say let the digital learning games begin

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