Researchers from Vanderbilt University conducted a study on more than 1000 students to investigate teaching methods. Teachers reported that they observed a significant improvement in the performance and engagement of kids when game-based learning was introduced.
Moreover, 92 percent of teachers wish to use educational games in the future as a mode of teaching.
Before we move on to understand the underlying reasons why educational games are getting all this attention, let’s begin with the basics.
What exactly are educational games?
These are the kind of games that serve more than just a means of entertainment. Educational games are designed with the intent of educating players through game-based learning.
Even though any game could be used to teach a skill or two, educational games specifically aim to bolster cognitive skills, develop knowledge about certain subjects, and aid in personality grooming.
So, an educational game could effectively be utilized if you want your kid to learn about some historical facts, do math practice, or indulge in solving puzzles.
How do educational games work?
Educational games put learning into effect like the way any other game does. Game-based learning is pivoted on failure, repetitions, and rewards.
A game helps you set your foot in by starting easy. When players ace the initial levels, the ego boost kicks in, dopamine comes into play, and the players feel good about themselves. Consequently, they feel tempted to continue even in the face of occasional failures.
Educational games have goals. Players recognize these goals and then think of the series of steps to achieve that goal. As they do so, they do some learning along the way.
A potential replacement of traditional teaching methods?
When MIT professionals monitored the brain activity of a 19-year-old for a week in 2010, it appeared that the brain had stopped getting stimulated by the classroom environment.
The research proved that the one-size-fits-all approach to teaching is not an effective one as all students do not benefit from it.
Educational games, on the other hand, provide a one-on-one experience. On top of it, if any particular game doesn’t work, the player could choose from a range of thousands of games that hold the same educational targets.
Besides, Virtual Reality (VR) has been a paradigm shift in the context of game-based learning. When educational games employ virtual reality, students not only get a closer look at the realistic scenarios, but they learn in the most innovative and enjoyable ways.
But that is just the tip of the iceberg. Here are four key advantages of educational games that establish them as a great learning tool.
1. Feedback and Rewards
Why have those strike-outs, ticks, crosses, and some shallow remarks in red, when feedbacks could be made much more meaningful?
Game-based environments don’t just provide feedback on the outcomes, but they track your progress from start to finish. After that, they provide comprehensive feedback on the areas that need improvement.
The good thing is that the feedback is not provided in the form of tedious text. Instead, infographics are put into use—in the form of charts, graphs, and animations— to make sure audiences sit through the feedbacks and make good use of it.
Moreover, positive feedbacks and point-scores build up a reward system, and that reward system translates into in-game self-motivation. On the contrary, the instant reward is generally not found in conventional modes of teaching.
2. Superior Engagement
Children love games, and there is no doubt about that. Modern developers leverage that fact and transform it into something educational.
Educational games skip on bland and boring classroom quizzes and make use of unique methods of teaching.
For example, Wheels on the Bus, a cool game by airG MiniMe 500c, helps kids memorize rhymes along an adventurous bus journey with adorable cartoon animals. The good thing about educational games like these is that they teach new concepts to kids with the help of fascinating storylines and fun characters.
Apart from driving the creativity, curiosity, and imagination of the kids, educational games make the children remember critical sequences and take notice of certain in-game elements. Therefore, the memory levels of the children are improved as well.
Aesthetics is another factor that keeps the kids hooked in. The kids feel enticed and enchanted, seeing beautiful colors spilling across the screens and animated figures trying to get their attention.
3. Redefined Competition
According to psychologists, competition acts as a catalyst for growth. When children compete against one another, they bring out the best in themselves.
But here’s the truth: conventional competitions could set the bar low or unrealistically high. Let’s understand how.
Children compete against the most solid contender. If the most solid of them turns out to be not that good, it could put a mental barrier on the children to surpass that level. In contrast, if a child prodigy happens to exist in a classroom, the rest of the students could be afflicted with self-pity.
Educational games are designed with realistic difficulty levels. Each level makes sure that the students feel good about themselves, all the while meeting the educational targets.
Moreover, educational games foster a culture of self-competition. Students compete against the existing versions of themselves and look for ways to surpass them.
4. Hand-Eye Coordination
In another experiment conducted on young adults, a dot was moved across the screen. The participants were asked to keep the dots in the centre using the joystick. It was found that kids who played action video games did better than those who did not.
The study suggested that kids who play games have better hand-eye coordination. When children play educational games on a computer, they use a mouse, keyboard, and a screen. On the other hand, a touch screen comes into play in the case of a mobile device.
These physical interactions with the devices and visual interpretation improve hand-eye coordination in the kids.
What’s more, when children explore the digital environment through game-based learning, they develop computer literacy. They learn about computers and simulation at a very young age.
Is that it?
Well, the benefits of educational games don’t end here. Some additional benefits of these type of games include:
- Content analytics to improve user experience
- Ability to be played over and over again
- Flexibility in terms of access
- Support for children with attention disorders
In the light of everything that has been discussed so far, we can agree that educational games should surely be counted on when modern modes of kid’s learning are brought up for discussion.
Before we sign off, let’s just be reminded that we love to hear out your comments. So, don’t forget to leave a comment on how you think educational games are helping kids to learn in a more fun way.