6 Hidden Benefits of Game-based Learning

Introduction

What would an education system based on games be like? Today’s modern educators have realized that they need to shift their focus from the traditional and, sometimes, dull teaching methods to interactive and dynamic games. These new models of education seem to have a much bigger impact on student engagement and motivation in the learning process. Game-based learning can be applied in many segments, not just in schools, but also in consumers, educational institutions, corporations, and companies. And, it seems that video games and stimulators can enhance the learning process of many educational skills including algebra, biology, computer programming, and even complex skills such as flight training. Moreover, apart from educational purposes, studies suggest that games can also help students improve their self-esteem, social skills, and leadership and team-work skills. So, can game-based education lead to a learning process that stimulates students to learn how to apply the skills and knowledge they have to solve real-life problems in the office? Here are the 6 hidden benefits of game-based learning:

1. It improves focus and attention

Computer games are often criticized because they are believed to have negative impacts on players leading to addiction, lack of physical exercise, and violent behaviors. However, despite the criticism towards the effects of computer games, a study from the University of Arkansas shows that playing video games actually has a multitude of benefits including increasing the capability of the brain to select relevant visual information from less relevant information. Simply put, the study proves that increasing performance on visual selective activities leads to a more efficient brain use by teaching learners how to narrow their focus and block out distractions. Playing games also has an impact on improving alert attention in learners. Since video games are moving quickly, learners need to pay more attention to details which helps them improve their skills to pay attention to details.

2. It improves learners’ motivation and engagement

Compared with traditional teaching methods, game-based learning has the power to engage and motivate learners in a number of ways. Today’s learners are individuals from the Millennial or Z generation. And, both these generations have grown up with technology being a huge part of their lives from day one. So, it comes as no surprise that computer games are a better way to engage them in the learning process. Moreover, naturally, games run by rules, goals and objectives, and a sense of competition. And, all these factors create an interactive experience that encourages learners to engage with the purpose of winning. Also, learners are often more motivated by hands-on tasks that encourage active learning than they are by traditional teaching methods. Being able to work towards achieving goals engages them to pay more attention to their decisions and the consequences they might lead to. More and more companies are beginning to experiment with game-based learning and incorporate it into their corporate processes, with positive results. Marianne Johnson, an HR specialist at TopWritersReview, explains how this approach can help by improving the training process “When learners like the game, they get hooked to it which makes learning fun making them invested in the content. As a result, they learn faster and also recall information better”.

3. It helps students develop problem-solving skills

Educational games are designed in certain ways that stimulate the brain to make better decisions. Certain games encourage cognitive exercises that can range from simple decisions to the creation of very complex strategies. Players must figure out an answer, navigate a puzzle, or build a strategy to win. So, video games provide a great environment where learners can practice and hone their problem-solving skills. The more learners are encouraged to practice their problem-solving skills, the better they get at critical thinking. By experiencing in a safe environment where decisions won’t lead to real-life consequences, learners are able to build and test new strategies which often leads to improvement. Problem-solving skills are paramount in today’s modern fast workplace. Employees face decision-making processes every day. And, the more prepared they are to think critically, the better decisions they will make.

4. It helps students become more computer-literate

In today’s digital world, technology is fully integrated into our everyday lives. We use technology for almost everything we do, from completing our job tasks to using it for entertainment, shopping or communication. In education, modern technology has become more and more integrated. For example, according to 2015 data from the National Center for Education Statistics, almost 88% of students report that they used the Internet and a computer for their schoolwork. Moreover, a report from Smoothwall shows that a surprising number of 96% of educators claim that technology has a huge potential positive impact on the learning process of students. So, it comes as no surprise that technology is here to stay in the educational system. That being said, in a world where technology plays a major role in education, using it through computer games to teach learners is a great way to prepare them for the modern workplaces in their future career. According to research conducted by the World Economic Forum, around 65% of today’s primary school-age students will join the marketplace in jobs that still don’t even exist today. And, specialists highly believe that most of these jobs will be fully digitalized. So, it is essential that future employees will be accustomed to technology through game-based learning.

5. It improves hand-eye coordination

If you play video games, you certainly know that it takes executing a number of tasks in order to advance inside the game. Playing video games usually takes using a game controller, a keyboard, a mouse to operate the games, while also keeping your eyes on the screen and paying attention to details. Performing all these operations at the same time can have a huge impact on improving hand-eye coordination which can benefit them in many important areas in their lives. In today’s digital world, as technology is highly integrated into all businesses, employees must operate computers even for the smallest job tasks, while they must also pay huge attention to documents and data. So, hand-eye coordination is a great skill to have or to develop in today’s modern workplaces.

6. It provides immediate feedback

What can be more frustrating than waiting to see your results at a test or an assignment you have submitted? Apart from the constant sense of worry that learners experience, it is also a high probability that they will forget what exactly they did at the test by the time they get the results. Whereas, games allow learners to benefit from immediate feedback that happens in the exact moment when they are playing the game. Learners are able to instantly see whether they have made a good or bad decision and how their decision influences the rest of the game. Moreover, playing games also fosters a safe environment for experimenting when making decisions. Compared to the mental stress of taking a test which’s results can have long-term consequences, games provide an environment where they are free to make mistakes without fearing any major consequences. This is a great manner to encourage learners to analyze their decision-making strategy and show them what can be changed in the future in their strategy for better results. Game-based learning is a great way to create an engaging educational environment where learners can develop critical, computer-based, and problem-solving skills, which are all paramount in today’s modern workplace, by attending exciting lessons. In the office, training through gamification can provide employees with the opportunity to learn how to do their jobs better while also improving employee loyalty and retention.
 

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