Friday, September 01, 2006

Game-Based Learning

Serious Games challenging us to play a better future

Via: PixeLearning

Game-based learning (GBL), also known as ‘Serious Games’, is rapidly becoming a very hot topic in training and education.If we compare a typical entertainment games technology-based experience with a typical learning technology-based experience the contrast is glaringly obvious. When was the last time you had to drag a learner from their PC at 11 o’clock at night whilst they pleaded; “Please…just another hour…I really want to finish this level”?

Entertainment games are demonstrably ‘engaging’. In comparison when the training industry uses the word ‘engaging’, there is an all too obvious incongruity. The motivational virtues of video games are what initially entice training and development professionals to look to games-based approaches.

Simulations and role playing are two key genres of entertainment-orientated games that many people deem to be particularly appropriate for adoption as training tools. Repeatability is also a key strength of GBL. Learners can play out a particular strategy or adopt a certain approach. If he/she fails or does not quite deliver the desired outcome, then they can try again with a modified approach.

`Learning by doing’ and ‘experiential learning’ are possibly overused terms but in this case it is very pertinent to building a deep understanding of environments and systems.Games engage people psychologically - they can be very emotional experiences - and they also engage people physiologically.

What is going on beyond the peripheries of the TV screen or computer monitor ceases to register to the user. Their heart rate increases, the hair on the back of the neck stands up and they may well end up laughing out loud at (or furiously cursing at) a virtual character who is actually nothing more than a collection of pixels and programming code.If you strip away all the techno-wizardry games are essentially highly experiential software applications which foster deep levels of cognitive activity and higher-level thinking skills.