Is game-based learning key to reengaging 'bored' students?
- David Seelow, founding director of Excelsior College's Center for Game and Simulation-based Learning, writes for University Business that colleges and universities failing to embrace approaches like alternate reality and simulations do so at the expense of producing disengaged, bored and unprepared students.
- Many Silicon Valley companies have utilized game-based learning, he writes, noting the right approach immerses students in "real world" environments, allows the development of skills to solve multidimensional problems and demands additional skills like teamwork, creativity and strategic planning.
- Ultimately, he concludes games require students to engage through action and an enjoyable experience beyond lectures or discussion boards.
A common argument among proponents of game-based learning has been the need to engage students raised with the instant feedback and gratification of modern technology like video games and text messaging. Game-based learning, then, ideally meets that generation where they are. Of course, you can't just throw together a game and call it educational, either. The real challenge comes in striking a balance between learning and fun in the overall experience.
It's worth considering that many commercial games also have learning components that users may not realize are educational while they're playing. The Legend of Zelda franchise, for example, requires players to think critically and creatively to solve puzzles and advance in many situations.
Educational games could be as simple as a digital simulation of a dissection or operation, or as complex as the Excelsior public administration capstone being developed by Muzzy Lane Software, which will require students to team up and manage a city in crisis while making practical use of the skills they've gained. There's likely no one-size-fits-all approach to engaging everyone, as individuals don't all learn the same, but if the approach reengages enough students who wouldn't have otherwise made it, the investment may be worthwhile.
- University Business Games promise active, enjoyable learning
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