Games & Learning

What is most important to keep in mind when gamifying education?

For this quest, I watched a short video about video games and learning. The video began by presenting a big problem when it comes to games and education. Namely, there is a trench between edutainment games and commercial games. This trench really means that edutainment games sacrifice fun and commercial games sacrifice educational and betterment opportunities. If joined together, both sides could learn and benefit from one another: edutainment games could be more fun, and thus engaging for students and commercial games could create opportunities that enrich the gaming experience. From these ideas, I am left with a  few thoughts about what is important to keep in mind when gamifying education.

For example, educators could consider games as a means to enable learning, rather than educate. The video reminds us that people learn better when they are interested in a topic. He criticizes educational games which just try and “jazz up a topic we don’t care about, rather than getting us engaged in a topic, so we care about it in a personal way.” In this way, he argues that it games in education have the potential to expose students to things in a context that they are already engaged in. This type of tangential learning means that gamifying education will allow students to get more interested in topics and thus incite learning. Games could also be used in learning to provide authenticity to a learning experience. If we create a situation that provides context for learning, students are more successfully able to build a schema around information and make sense of it. Once games effectively provide context for a learning experience, it serves a truly revolutionary role in the classroom. These types of games break down our classroom walls and provide endless cultural and experiential learning experiences for students that might otherwise be impossible due to time or money. These types of meaningful learning experiences are often much more intrinsically motivating for students.




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