04th Jun2020

Digital Game-Based Learning: Making Learning Fun

by James Smith

Humans play games from an early age as a way of social, emotional, cultural, and cognitive development. For instance, a simple game such as hide and seek demands and hones different skills in children depending on whether they are hiding or seeking their peers. For the former, they need to discern, through visual and spatial input from the environment, the best places to hide. Their counterparts must scan the area and think about where their friends might be, by looking for pointers that can guide them in developing a strategy for finding them.

Evidence-based research has shown that actively participating in something significantly increases your ability to gain the skills necessary to perform the tasks aptly. Games provide players with an opportunity to internalize concepts and their relationships within a specific framework. As such, digital game-based learning has gained popularity as a method of instructing trainees and students engagingly. This article covers two areas that it contributes in terms of enhancing education.

Boosting the Problem-Solving Skills of Students

One of the core goals of education is honing the problem-solving skills of learners. These techniques are more relevant today than they were back in the 20th century. The industrial revolution demanded that workers and professionals should have the ability to follow instructions. However, the digital age requires a smarter workforce that is capable of interrogating situations to discover the causes of problems, come up with solutions, and strategies for avoiding further issues in the future. Hence, the education system reflects this need by creating a curriculum that attempts to develop flexible and effective problem solvers.

Digital game-based learning supports education in the following ways:

  • They create a suitable environment—free from the typical pressures of a classroom—for gaining and practicing new skills.
  • Students are immersed in scenarios where they need to internalize information and investigate the effectiveness of different strategies.
  • Players need to figure out how different concepts are related to each other in terms of their causes and effects.

With the skills mentioned above, learners can approach a myriad of scenarios with a refined problem-solving mindset. Gamification of typical lessons such as essay writing can help students in learning essential researching techniques and alternative ways of approaching such assignments. This can significantly reduce the reliance of learners on their teachers to hold their hands through completing these tasks. Using these tools can develop an independent generation of workers that can take on new issues and come up with creative solutions.

Games as a Tool for Motivating Students towards Academics

In the information age, gaining and maintaining the attention of people is quite challenging. We are constantly bombarded by data in the form of text, images, and videos whenever we go through our smart devices. Plus, there is always something newer and more exciting each day. The meme culture encourages a society with a short attention span. The education sector is currently experiencing difficulties in motivating students to pay attention in class. Inspiring students towards learning involves addressing three vital elements.

  • Boosting a student’s belief in their own problem-solving abilities.
  • Providing learners with a sound reason for why they need to take on their schoolwork. These could either be internal or external factors that push the student to complete an assignment or study.
  • Giving the task at hand an emotional aspect that learners can tap into when they attempt to find solutions.

Ideally, games are fundamental to the learning process as we engage in them from an early age. These activities easily gain our interest and attention. Additionally, digital game-based learning opportunities can address the three motivational aspects mentioned above. For starters, they are competitive in nature, and this provides the emotional part of wanting to come out on top. Secondly, merely advancing from one level to the next increases the self-confidence of the student in their abilities. Lastly, since games typically award players with points, a student would acquire the need to earn a high score.

We are innately motivated to play games. Thus, we should strive to incorporate them into the education industry to improve the willingness of learners to pursue their academics. Nevertheless, there is a need to customize the current curriculum to transform the teaching school concepts into games that students can play instead of listening to a lecture. Of course, there are challenges in trying to breakdown learning procedures into a systematic game. The goal of these exercises should be to ensure engagement from students while increasing the effectiveness of the lesson.

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