Seven Ways a Game-Based Education Can Help Students Learn Quicker
When I was in college, I took a whole class on the psychology of play, and how playful activities can help your brain function at a higher level. Which made me realize that an education system based around games could help students. Here are seven ways a game-based education could help students learn quicker:
Students Will Be More Engaged in Lessons
Unfortunately, the human brain can rarely engage in an exercise as passive as a lesson. Other than learning information, the brain has nothing to process or complete. Students will sit there and be bored because there is nothing stimulating about the act of a lecture. By introducing gaming into the curriculum, students will now be prompted with a learning activity that engages them on multiple levels. They will be more willing to participate in class because there is an objective for them to complete. Along the way, they will be more willing to have short bursts of lecturing, because it is a means to an end for them to play the game they are engaged in.
Practicing Concepts Learned in Class Will Ingrain Them in Students’ Memories
By choosing a game that serves as a practicing mechanism, you will be forcing your students to do homework, essentially. Homework is all about repetition and engaging with the material in order to learn concepts. That is all that games are as well. Each student will be playing something that forces them to learn over and over again. They will be conned into thinking they are just having fun, while in reality they are practicing and re-learning material they have already learned in class.
It Will Provide Tangible Goals for Each Student
Video games operate on an objective system, whereby you will be given a task in order to continue on with the game. Only be completing that task will the game continue to chug along. You cannot fail; you must complete this task. This gives players the motivation (brought about by a goal) to learn the mechanics of the game to find a solution to the problem in front of them. This system should be applied to academics, as a tangible goal would give students more of a reason to invest in their studies.
Games are Built Around Trial and Error
Game mechanics can be quite tricky. There are very few games you will just pick up a controller and master immediately. It takes a lot of practice to get good at a game, but this practice is not isolated. It happens as you are playing through the game. As you learn the mechanics, you are inevitably going to fail to complete a task on the first try. The same could be said of the process of learning information in school. One will not master the Pythagorean theorem immediately. You need to try (and fail) to complete problems involving the Pythagorean theorem in order to figure out how to.
Game Systems Expand Memory
Most games have very complex game systems and mechanics that you must learn as you go along. You need to learn how to walk, jump, interact with the world, and initiate combat if it is an action game. You have to keep track of multiple mechanics at once in order to play the game. This requires focus and for you to expand the faculties of your brain. In academics, there is a major focus on worrying about one thing at a time, but this may serve to restrict the memory more than enhance it. By using games, students will be increasing their memory by learning multiple pieces of information at a time to progress.
Games Provide Instant Gratification
There is nothing better than being rewarded for accomplishing something immediately after the task is completed. This is the theory of instant gratification. Good or bad, a reward or reaction will occur right after you do something. In games, this is getting experience points or an item for completing a task. This can easily be applied to academics, as students being rewarded for learning a piece of information should be rewarded or lauded. By knowing they were right immediately, students may be more driven to get that great feeling again, prompting more engaged learning.
The Enjoyment of the Game Adds Motivation to Learning
The fact of the matter is that humans are never going to be engaged in something that they don’t find entertaining in some way. So, games can be employed as an effective learning tool, because students will have a good time playing them. As their enjoyment of the game ratchets so will their willingness to engage with the informational and educational aspects that come along with it.