A lot has been said about gamification in learning. People write numerous papers on this topic and then hire guys from scoobydomyessay.com to polish them (that’s how we know that this topic is so popular). Numerous studies are conducted every year to prove the value of games in teaching and learning, and some already boast of using them successfully for both purposes.
Yet with all that has been said, it seems that there hasn’t been said enough. The very concept of educational games seems vague and hard to understand. People tend to think that these are some special games that are designed for learning and still see regular computer or console games as an undoubted evil. Just go online and you will easily find yet another story of a teen that played himself to exhaustion.
That’s hardly the right way to see things. Gamification of learning doesn’t mean creating some special games, but rather incorporating educational material into regular computer games. Come to think of it, the very nature and key attributes of a game make it a perfect tool for learning. Here is why.
It is engaging
Imagine the world where children and adults are drawn into learning and can’t get enough of it, where they choose a couple of extra hours consuming educational material instead of checking their Facebook profiles or watching yet another silly movie. The engagement power of computer games has been illustrated and proved numerous times. And while in most cases the stories are used to condemn this hobby, it can, in fact, be used for the purposes of learning. This is the right approach – using the strong point of a complex issue to achieve benefit in some other area.
It is immersive
It has been often said that immersion is the best way to learn languages but guess what – it is the best way to learn everything. When you are surrounded, if only virtually, by the right environment, you absorb information much easier and faster. Remember how you stopped feeling the passage of time playing your favorite game? That’s what immersion feels like. Now imagine applying that to processing new material.
It develops your abilities to react
Almost every game requires you to react fast, some more than the others. And while a regular shooter game teaches you to shoot fast, this very ability can be used to react to other things in the education-related areas, too.
It is (obviously) entertaining
Every learning process should ideally be entertaining. It’s the ultimate way of increasing its effectiveness. Games are entertaining by nature. That’s why children play games and that’s why adults do it, too. So why not use this natural inclination for educational purposes?
The problem is, as always, in the application. While we try to invent new games to enhance learning, we should take a completely different approach and use old ones with slight modifications. There are games that people of all ages love to play – this is where the gaming educational revolution should start.