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Is Gaming Essential for Learning in the Future?

by on December 11, 2020
 

Games are indispensable in the education of the future. We’ve analyzed the growing trend for games in learning and tried to explain why games are a great tool to acquire new skills.

Video Games and Education

Parents and teachers are often reluctant to allow children to spend time playing video games and want their kids to spend time playing outside or reading. But many game developers offer exciting modes of popular games such as Minecraft and SimCity in the classroom and reinvent the way video games can support traditional educational tasks.

For decades, psychologists have studied video games as a motivated model of learning. Methods that are used in games – fantasy, control, challenge, curiosity, collaboration, and competition – are now the cornerstones of motivation theory.

Games vs Motivation

These are the things that children care about; they are stimulating, motivating, and perhaps most importantly, fun. Emotions are closely linked to memory. Video games evoke emotions and it increases the chances for a person to remember the material.

Video games can be way more exciting than board games or other classic games. Students tend to react with more energy and passion to the topic if it is introduced with video games involved. Video games are part of progress. In the 21st century, people can learn in many ways, by playing video games, learning physics by observing nature. 

Effectiveness of Games in Learning

People start to treat time as their most valuable resource. You can buy coursework online to save some time and learn the subject in-depth and you can play a game to learn something faster in a more comprehensible way. 

It is an immersion and excitement that determine the effectiveness of video games as a learning tool; when children are absorbed in the learning experience, they have a better chance not only to learn but also to want to continue learning while playing.

Present and Future of Games in EdTech

While there is scientific evidence that games are associated with positive learning outcomes and increased motivation to learn, some teachers still hold on to the “waste of time” stereotype that has long been believed about video games.

However, as new researches are published and more case studies result in success, we are likely to see an increase in the use of game-based learning. At least there are no visible major obstacles for introducing games wider into the education.

Games even begin to replace exams in some places, as teachers realize that successful in-game scores require deeper learning than memorizing by heart. Traditional tests often prove to be ineffective in learning, yet effective in short term memorizing.

Games provide a very rich profile of the student; instead of 20, 30, or 50 test answers, teachers are provided with a large amount of data that can be analyzed in different ways to track a student’s progress.

Behavioral data from games can be used for adaptive learning, ensuring that the student is always getting interesting and challenging questions, but not too hard, not to make them upset and demotivated.

How will gaming change the education of the future?

The game methods make it possible not to use grades in the course of training. The game allows to better estimate not only the knowledge but also skills of the student. Later, it can be used to define the skills of the child that are desirable to develop further.

The system of grades, which is so common in school education, often limits kids to compare their success to others. The system of game-based online education is built on the principle that the student goes from one level to another. 

It eliminates excessive stress and gives more opportunities to students. They compete only with themselves from the past. They are always stimulated to move on to the next level, which enhances a healthy way of competition.

How to choose the right educational game?

According to experts, the best games are those created by students themselves. Children need to study the topic thoroughly to develop an interesting game and play it. Also, it gives an idea of responsibility for creating something. It develops creativity and motivates to finish the task. The teacher should assist and guide children during the whole process. 

History lessons can be interested if a child has a chance to play for a certain historical character, learn their story, watch the battles or turning points in history like he or she is participating in it. It creates an emotional connection and leads to remembering and realizing information better. 

High school students will be best suited for strategic games in real-time. Take a look at an example of a successful strategic educational game of Europa Universalis. It can become a successful platform for learning history and geography relying on historical data. 

As Jeff Majioncalda, CEO of Coursera, said, if learning is in the format of a video game, it motivates people more: they want to develop their skills by receiving extra points; they see their correct answers and mistakes in real-time which is rewarding.

Nowadays, most educational games are made for children. For example, the company Kidaptive makes cartoons with integrated games for the tablet. The child can keep watching the cartoon only when the task is completed. But the tasks are not the same for everyone, the program adapts to each child and his or her abilities. To develop this game, the developers from Kidaptive used machine learning, gathered data, and tested a lot of versions of the scenario, so it has a real individual approach.

The games are already intertwined with education and learning. The trend for learning through gaming is huge and will be more and more widespread. The only obstacle on the way of gaming and introducing it to schools and other educational establishments is the rigidness and lack of flexible approach of the system.

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