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Introduction to Game-Based Learning

Game-based learning has the ability to motivate the students and provide a practical learning experience to enhance effective learning.

Transform Dry Learning to Game-Based Learning

Game based learning helps in the transformation of a dry learning into an engaging environment. Whenever teaching is boring, we don’t learn. When we are motivated, we become excited and learn better. The elements of video games such as scoring points motivates players to carry on and improve on their skills so as to unlock new rewards.

Games also inspire learning outside the classroom. They instill a hunger for knowledge in students not experienced in conventional learning. Games provide a safe and contextual environment to help students learn different skills, such as hand-to-eye coordination. It oculd also aid in more complex skills such as problem-solving as well as strategic thinking.

Experimental learning is also made easier with the aid of video games. Sometimes, they replicate real world scenario will allow the kind of learning that would be easily transferred to actual practice.

For instance we might consider driving or flight simulators which help to prepare learners before handling the wheel. In some cases, video games set up users to work in teams which could improve team coordination and leadership skills.

What is game-based learning?

Game based learning is an approach through which games can be used for teaching students new kind of skills to achieve a particular learning outcome. Game based learning typically makes use of gaming software developed as a learning tool. The learning is achieved by immersing oneself in the game, rather than engaging with traditional gamification practices. In many cases, game-based learning and gamification are seen as two separate topics.

Why it works

Motivation is the main element behind the success of game-based learning. Points and leader boards are usually used in games because they motivate players so as to accumulate points and also achieve high ranking positions. Thus players are driven by the desire to achieve high points and rank as a way to gain recognition of success. The levels within the games likewise help to stimulate people to keep playing the game. The levels are like mini-goals to be achieved towards reaching the final objective. In order to achieve the main goals, it is essential for you to master the main goals before moving to higher levels.

In summary, game based learning would help the players to establish basic knowledge before developing more complex knowledge. So as to complete the high level goal, it is essential to draw on all the knowledge and experience gained up to that point. Clear goals are set for players, which they have to achieve so as to complete the game.

Real Life Adoption and Practice

If that is translated to the business world, we can say that employees who have clear goals as well as directions will be much more likely to benefit their organization than those who have unclear objectives. Games are designed so as to mimic the real-world scenarios.

A game mimicking flight simulation greatly enhances a new pilot’s flight skills. A game that explores the human body provides useful knowledge of biology. In these examples, the skills acquired during game learning can be applied to real practice. These "learn by doing" approaches has great impact on the student in terms of making learning stick. This is because it is far more memorable than traditional learning that comes from reading a book which could be forgotten easily.

As well as providing real-time learning, tasks within games are often repetitive. The repetition of practice helps strengthen memory and deepen understanding of topics. The biggest benefit is the removal of risk of the student bringing harm to himself or another person. Simulations provide a safety net that allows a person to forget about failure, to inspire self-awareness as well as confidence.

Personalised Learning in Game-Based Learning

Furthermore, game-based learning is tailored to each learner’s ability to absorb relevant information. Everyone learns at a different rate. Some pick up new topics faster and some others pick them up slower. In traditional classroom-learning methods, everyone in the classroom learns together but students moves forward at a different pace. These cause an absorption gap in learning.

In such scenario, students that learn faster would become bored easily while those that are slower in picking up concepts struggle to catch up. What game-based learning does is that it would allow each individual to learn at their own pace.

For instance, in a mathematics games, players cannot advance to more complex questions until they complete the mastery of basic mathematical questions like those involving the addition and subtraction problems. It is only when basics are mastered appropriately then the player can move on to more complex problems to solve.

Because of this, the students won’t feel bored with the pace or complexity of whatever is being taught when compared with traditional education learning. These however are useful when the learning is done out of classroom. If the game-based learning is done within the class-room, the peer-pressure from others could cause other unexpected outcomes like cheating or stress.

Grading in Game-Based Learning

One key-benefit of game-based learning is instant feedback. Together with suggestions on what could be improved, this is way better then traditional classroom tests, where today students often wait for some time before receiving some feedback.

Dependent on how the tests are setup in the game-based learning, they are often progressive, contextual and integrated well. If part of a wider and longer-term simulation towards a bigger goal, feedback could be structured more effectively then one-off classroom tests.

Designing Game-Based Learning

Designing Game-Based Learning programs that are effective, longer-term however requires significant amount of planning, coordination and design. Described in this article, some points to consider are the use of behavioral economics and design canvas to derive learning objectives and sticking points.

Bottom-Line: Game-based Learning provides advantages over traditional-classroom learning, especially where learning could be dry, difficult to follow up and personalize.

What do you think of Game-Based Learning, and do you use any of it in your life?

Introduction to Game-Based Learning
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