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5 More Reasons Why We Love Game-based Learning

Yesterday was Valentine’s Day, Filamentarians, and we’re feeling sentimental. Why? Because we love game-based learning. So much so, we couldn’t help ourselves but write five more reasons why game-based learning is the best

via Giphy

We want to know: why do you love game-based learning? Let us know your answer on Facebook or Twitter. If you want to know our answers, read on! Here are five more reasons why we love game-based learning.

It’s versatile.

As we mentioned in our recent Research Roundup on the positive impacts of game-based learning, game-based learning is incredibly versatile. Whether it’s used in the K-12 classroom, in hospitals, in the workplace, or at home, educational games are useful for all ages. For example, medical students can use augmented reality to sharpen their skills. Students participating in distance learning can take field trips around the world. 44 different countries can compete in a robotics competition without ever setting foot on a plane. And that’s just scratching the surface!  

It builds connections.

Whether it’s helping grandparents connect with their grandchildren, improving teamwork between employees, or fostering friendships between K-12 students during after-school esports leagues, game-based learning is a great way to encourage meaningful connections and meaningful learning. When you think of educational games, you might think of subject-specific learning. Games can be great at teaching math, English, history, and other subjects, but they’re also great at imbuing players with social-emotional skills and future-facing skills, like communication and collaboration

It’s intrinsically motivating.

Recent research has debunked the “no pain, no gain” mentality when it comes to exercise. Instead, professionals suggest that individuals can more sustainably increase their movement by doing something they find enjoyable. The science is pretty simple: the more you enjoy something, the more likely you are to do it! 

The same goes for learning. The ideal student shouldn’t be bored or wishing they are somewhere else – the deepest learning happens when one is motivated, immersed, and engaged with the material. That’s exactly what game-based learning does. 

There are already a lot of gamers in the world who are intrinsically motivated to play games (over 3 billion and rising – check out the chart below!). They don’t need to be tricked, cajoled, or promised a reward in order to pick up games – they pick them up because they love them. 

via Exploding Topics 

But even those who don’t consider themselves gamers have a lot to gain from game-based learning. Game mechanics aren’t so different from societal mechanics, and educational games represent (whether through a metaphor or more realistically) real-life situations. Especially if what you’re learning about is high stakes, like CPR or handling dangerous chemicals. Who wouldn’t be more motivated to try out a new skill when there’s a learning environment without consequence if something goes wrong?   

It’s a tried-and-true method. 

Even though our increasingly digital world can seem futuristic and unfamiliar, game-based learning has actually been around for a long while. Learning through play has evolved quite a bit over the years, but people have always benefitted from combining education and play. Even back in the 18th century, German philosopher and playwright Friedrich Schiller wrote that “humans are only fully human when they play.” In fact, we’d argue that playful learning is the kind of learning that comes most naturally to humans! 

Game-based learning has a rich history, from chess to the creation of Kindergarten to nostalgic favorites like The Oregon Trail. Researchers and scholars such as James Paul Gee have embedded theory and evidence into this history, making game-based learning a tried-and-true method that holds up, year after year. 

It’s active instead of passive. 

The fact that games are active experiences amplifies the above qualities of educational games. This is not to say that traditional teaching methods, like textbooks or lectures, should be done away with completely by educational institutions – it is just to say that game-based learning offers students a hands-on way to learn. Instead of absorbing information coming at them, game-based learning allows students the space to learn at their own pace, try and fail, and ultimately, learn by doing. Educational games can be programmed to adapt to each individual’s skill level, resulting in a highly personalized, fun experience that results in meaningful learning.

That was easy! We never run out of reasons why we love game-based learning. What’s your favorite application of game-based learning? Where would you like to see game-based learning in the future? If you imagine yourself in that future, contact us today! We’d love to help you make your idea for an educational game a reality.    

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