Game-based Learning: Why It Works for Students of All Ages?

Game-Based Learning

Although it is true that we do not love the same video games or that we all acquire knowledge in the same manner. But it is undisputedly true that the learning process is most effective when it occurs subconsciously.

We can acquire knowledge much quicker if we are involved in some sort of game because we are immediately thinking about how that knowledge can be applied in the real world. While we are playing, our minds are constantly active, struggling to acquire a new system of rules and mechanics, regardless of whether it is a tabletop board game or a regular video game.

Game-based learning harnesses this power of clever game design and implements it into the learning process. So, the goal of game-based learning is to make the whole experience more engaging, by inspiring a sense of achievement and ultimately solidifying the brand’s/product’s new input of information. In this post, we will examine why game-based learning works, and why it can be applied to learners of all ages.

The difference between traditional learning and game-based learning

Children Learning
Kids Tablet Learning Education

The differences between traditional and game-based learning are huge:

  • Authenticity – There are some lessons that are really hard to master if you only rely on classrooms. But if you rely on the virtual experience, you get far better results. For example, there are many games that serve as simulators and students can learn some complex mechanics that would otherwise be really hard to master if one would rely on the book solely. The game, on the other hand, allows students to experience simulations of reality that can be replicated later in real world circumstances so, theoretically, by using games, you should be able to elicit the same emotional and learning responses in the brain, as you would be doing  if you did the activity in real life.
  • Engagement – Since game-based learning gives its students a lot more involvement in the whole learning process, also since their actions have either positive or negative consequences, the whole process is a lot more engaging and entertaining for the learners. Thus, more memorable.
  • Creativity – The traditional approach usually incentivizes students to apply a specific part of their knowledge or an instruction that was given during the class, in order to solve the problem. In game-based learning, students are allowed to use everything they have learned so far in order to find solutions when the game requires specific actions. So, it does not seem forced out because the learner knows where that skill is necessary.
  • Cost – The only drawback of game-based learning is its cost. The traditional approach does not require each student to have a computer and it does not require a game to be purchased for each lesson. Also, since it is a piece of tech that is necessary for learning, it needs to undergo regular maintenance and updation.
  • Accessibility – Game-based learning is more accessible than traditional learning, especially if it is done through Cloud-Based LMS Software. Students that have access to the eLearning course or a web browser e-learning game, can then undergo training from their homes. This is incredibly useful if they are unable to attend the class for some reason.
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In other words, the only reason why game-based learning is still not widespread is because of its implementation costs. However, the technology necessary is becoming more easily accessible and affordable, so we can expect that more people will become interested in designing games for learning.

Today, there are already various eLearning software solutions that companies of all sizes rely on to train their employees. In the educational system, the implementation costs for eLearning are high, but in the corporate world, this kind of approach is budget friendly, because it enables mass learning, whereas, corporate training usually has expenses on an individual level.

Why is game-based learning relevant and popular?

Children or Kids Game-Based Learning - Education
Children or Kids Game-Based Learning – Education

There are numerous benefits of game-based learning – for starters, it is more engaging than the traditional approach, it also gives us the opportunity to witness how the acquired knowledge can be utilized. Furthermore, we have a video game that acts as a teacher, so it makes the learning experience more fun and also relies on images, sound, video and text as a means of conveying information, which results in better retention.

Furthermore, you have a virtual environment where you are in touch with your peers, so people can help one another and learn together. These conditions are ideal since, they cater to almost all types of students (those who learn from their peers, from seeing, through experiences, etc.).

Another factor that we must take into consideration is that the young generations grew up playing video games and these students are basically natives of the digital, so this tech-savvy approach does not feel intimidating or complex to them. In other words, you actually allow your students to learn from their comfort-zone and they will welcome this approach better. Additionally, young people love it when their seniors or superiors rely on technology and feel closer to them. So, you gain more authority as a teacher if you choose this approach.

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The competition and the sense of achievement are also crucial components for learning. These elements can motivate students, and even foster healthy learning habits. After all, games benefit from using the so-called Skinner box effect, which in a way gratifies users with a sense of achievement after playing according to the rules and this essentially motivates the players to continue playing.

The same principle can be applied for learning and for applying knowledge in a simulated experience. As long as your students have visible progress and if they are able to see the fruits of their labor, then they will be motivated to keep on learning/playing.

It’s a gamer’s world!

It would be ideal if game-based learning could be incorporated everywhere; since it can drastically be improved the educational system. Students would be more focused, they would learn better, as well as have a better memory of their lessons. Whether believe it or not, but video games have taught us a lot and it would be a shame for us not to utilize them for a smarter future!

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