No matter how long ago you finished formal schooling, all adults are capable of learning new concepts, methods, and skills. In this digital age, properly implementing technology to facilitate learning has proven effective. For some, using games to encourage the development of new skills, from foreign languages to time management, is one of the most productive methods of increasing the knowledge of adults and children alike.
One of the reasons game-based learning (GBL) has been so useful is because games tend to incorporate multiple styles of learning. Where some individuals may be more auditory learners, others could be visual or kinesthetic. Games typically involve at least visual and auditory elements, and with the development of virtual reality and movement-based technology, kinesthetic learners also have an advantage. Incorporating multiple styles of learning into an educational process will promote engagement, completion, and retention.
Rewards & Achievements
Unlike in a traditional educational setting, games allow for a system of rewards to encourage progress. In a standard roleplaying game (RPG), players typically strive to complete quests, earn rewards, and meet objectives. Incorporating these elements into an educational game increases self-confidence and the number of completed tasks; in one study, game-based learning allowed for a 300% increase of objective completion when compared to traditional learning. Providing a source of motivation in this way prompts users to aim higher and reach goals, using the reward-oriented mindset as a tactic to encourage learning.
With the increase of device ownership and usage in the word, the popularity of digital games (from handheld gaming systems to smartphone apps) has increased dramatically. Investigations into the success of these programs have revealed that they utilize a number of pedagogies that have proven effective for both children and adults including task-based and individualized learning. By incorporating these methods into games, users are able to learn methods of critical thinking and pattern-recognition; applying the same methods of game design to a program designed to facilitate education rather than simply engage users would logically provide similar, and arguably more beneficial, results.
The limitations of failure are rendered largely obsolete with game-based learning. In a traditional setting, failure results in something permanent like a lowered grade point average (GPA), a mandate for tutoring, or other forms of punishment. With games, this is not the case. Failure is allowed and often encourage; after all, failing once provides a learning opportunity, and in game systems, users are often able to try as many times as they need until they succeed. Participating in an educational game multiple times promotes retention as well as completion; there is a belief in playing such games that the overall reward outweighs any failure that precedes it.
Anyone is capable of learning. By using advancing technologies to encourage all users to learn new skills, ideas, and even languages, education can be made more engaging and effective. Of course, game-based learning is not meant to replace traditional education but rather to supplement it, and using multiple methods of teaching can help adults reacclimate themselves to a learning attitude and environment.