Integrating skill sets in order to complete collaborative tasks is the basis of many online multi-player games. James Paul Gee suggests that this cross functional team approach is a key element for the jobs that our students will be entering into. Therefore, shouldn’t we be promoting these skills with our students?
You may be asking, what evidence is there that game based learning promotes student learning? Based on Tom Chatfield’s online presentation (LINK) about game based learning, I have listed some of the benefits of game based learning for students. Please note, these are my opinions, based on the research of others and I am not indicating that these are, or are not, scientifically proven. I have not personally conducted any research into this field.
Gamed Based Learning Educational Benefits:
(1) Game based learning is based on rewards, therefore heightens individual, collective and emotional stimulation. There are two processes involved, one being the wanting (ambition/drive) and the other the liking (engagement).
(2) Game based learning promotes the ability to measure data which leads to the reward schedule (comparing the self to others in order to maintain or improve performance).
(3) Game based learning provides multiple short term and long term aims. Therefore, game based learning is task orientated.
(4) Game based learning provides rapid and clear feedback. As educators, we know that is very hard for students to learn if they can not associate/link consequences to actions. Game based learning provides this clearly for students, removing the ambiguity and time lapse between completing the task and receiving feedback.
(5) Game based learning promotes collaboration.
I would like to suggest that as educators, we integrate game based learning within our current curriculum programs and ultimately strive towards introducing game based learning design. So where can you start? I believe that you start with your students. Ask your students what games they like to play and or what games they would like to make? You do not need to know the computer programs/games yourself, you can learn with your students. Let them discover how to use the software/games and you can guide them towards your desired goal. This requires open minded thinking, thinking outside the square. Previously, I blogged a video created by Chris Betcher which explains programs and apps to foster game based creation. This may be a good starting point.
Below is a video of James Paul Gee presenting a seminar called ‘Learning with video games’.
Video Source: Jen Deyenberg