One emerging trend in education is digital game-based learning. As with any topic, there are supporters and antagonists. After conducting some research of my own this week, I have come to the conclusion that there are several factors that have a greater impact on the effectiveness of game based learning than others. When these factors are considered, and implemented deliberately, game-based learning has a place in education.
In 2013, a meta-analysis of gaming was commissioned by the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation and conducted by the SRI research group. The preliminary results identified many benefits of using games in learning but also highlighted areas of concern that need to be addressed in order for gaming to have a positive impact. “According to the report, students who used games as part of learning always did better than those who did not but how much better depended a lot on the design of the game and how effectively the learning goals were incorporated into the game itself.” (2013, Oct. 1) As an educator and not a game developer, I can take this information into consideration and focus my time and energy on finding quality gaming resources.
Once well designed games are located, the advantages are abundant. Games can be used to teach problem solving skills, give students the opportunity to deal with real world problems and give them an idea of how school subjects are applied to life, provide meaningful learning, give students more exposure to problems and encourage students to experiment with and dig deeper into concepts.
No explanation of the benefits would be complete without mention of 21st Century skill development. Game based learning helps students develop creativity, innovation and teamwork. “As the authors of Assessment in Game-Based Learning describe, "proponents of game-based learning argue that we should prepare students to meet the demands of the twenty-first century by teaching them to be innovative, creative, and adaptable so that they can deal with the demands of learning in domains that are complex and ill-structured."
Analysts of the SRI research exert that because game playing is so common among so many youth today, there is, “an untapped potential for increased learning if games can be successfully designed.” (2013, Oct. 1) My take away this week is this: spend time finding a well designed game and then enjoy the benefits of game based learning.
Jamie Martines - Sep 15, 2016. (n.d.). Community College Pilot Project Finds Game-based Learning a Winner in Remedial Math. Retrieved March 3, 2017, from http://www.gamesandlearning.org/2016/09/15/community-college-pilot-project-finds-game-based-learning-a-winner-in-remedial-math/
Lee Banville - Oct 1, 2013. (n.d.). Research Shows Games Have Significant Impact on Student Performance. Retrieved March 10, 2017, from http://www.gamesandlearning.org/2013/10/01/research-shows-games-have-significant-impact-on-student-performance/