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  • Simon Dawe

Game-Based Learning: An Adaptable Platform

Game-Based Learning: An Adaptable Platform

As game-based learning holds major relevance in society, it becomes increasingly important to look at its overall benefits and ability to overcome traditional learning challenges. Educational games contain the potential to transform learning over the next few decades, and the current prospects have set a foundation that proves the possibilities are legitimate and scalable.

Using Failure as a Learning Tool

One of the true benefits of game-based learning is its ability to draw students into the educational aspects of the game. It can help students understand the strategy behind decision making, regardless of if they make the correct decision or not. When they inevitably make a mistake, the game can provide feedback to reinforce that failure is neither a setback nor an outcome but rather an indication that more work is needed to master the skill or knowledge at hand (Educause). In traditional learning, that setback could dictate the future educational path of the student.

In game-based learning, Educause has found that the student can see the interrelationship of tactics and strategy, and therefore use failure as a learning tool. This means that these students begin to value the process and consideration of alternative paths. Furthermore, learners will become more confident in their skills, as they master the ability to use their own pre-defined strategies.

Student Centered

Another key aspect to game-based learning, is being student centered. The engagement of learners is positively influenced when the student is at the centre of the game and its learning environment. The strategic element of game-based learning is also affected by this, as student can develop personalized methods when approaching certain situations, because they are the focal point of the game.

When playing Ignite Learning Technology L.L.C.’s Self Improvement Game (S.I.G), all of these key aspects were recognizable and efficiently implemented into the game. My character felt at the centre of the game the entire time and made me consider my decision-making process to the furthest extent. As I progressed through the game, I began to enjoy the sense of responsibility I felt my character had. The more correct decisions I made, the more I was motivated to continue. That being said, when I did fail, the feedback ensured I was aware of the consistency of my decisions by presenting me with a colour coded report throughout the game along with some brief feedback at the end of each day. The dialogue between characters was descriptive enough for me to construct a strategy that felt consistent with my learning objectives within the game.

S.I.G also challenged my spontaneous decision making through various challenging scenarios. One of which offered me the choice of being a mediator to a disagreement between two other employees. This scenario not only challenged my decision-making skills, but also made me consider the strategy I had thought of earlier. Although I made the correct decision in this scenario, I am sure if I had failed, I would have had an inclination that my skill level was not there just yet. Ultimately, the feedback would have confirmed I needed more time adjusting to these challenges.

The usual workplace temptations of doing a task later or taking a break when you are not supposed to added to the overall feel of the game and gave my decisions more context. With this increased feeling, I struggled with the ability to remain consistent later on in the game, especially since temptations to deviate off course were presented quite often. Nevertheless, the strategy I had cited all along allowed me to trust my decision-making abilities and adjust based on the feedback given.

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