Much to the dismay of most teachers and parents, most children spend a considerable amount of time playing video games.
According to CNET, 91 percent of children can be classified as gamers.
Statista reports that children belonging to the age group 12-15 years in the UK played games for an average of 11.6 hours every week in 2019. Center on Media and Child Health further reiterates this through its research, which mentions that 80 percent of tweens tend to have gaming consoles.
However, it turns out that you can mold this interest of children to an educational activity aimed at their betterment. In fact, game-based learning is now being actively implemented in school curriculums to boost student engagement and attention.
Here is why it works.
Bringing concepts to life
One of the biggest drawbacks of conventional classrooms is that it is heavily based on theory. For instance, most children learn about human anatomy.
However, many have problems with visualizing and memorizing it all. After all, there are just too many organs and functions to remember!
Game-based learning includes video games that help children see what they are learning. For example, in the case of biology, Turtle Diary offers games like Five Senses and Human Body Parts that make a game out of the exercise of identifying different senses and body parts.
When exposed to this gamification version, students are more likely to remember what they learn.
Assessments don’t feel like tests
If you include assessments in the game-based learning environment, they seem less daunting. Now that there is an emphasis is placed on ensuring the mental health of individuals, one can understand why assessment can end up causing anxiety. In fact, psychologists have coined a term for it – Testing Anxiety.
And this is the opposite of fun and enjoyable.
But, if you include the same assessments in educational games, children perform better. This is because they don’t have the same associations with games as they do with tests. This makes the learning environment much healthier.
The fact that such tests are less stressful is why many companies now include game-based testing for recruitment as well.
Encouraging healthy competition
One thing that helps boost the performance of students is competition. This is because it helps fight complacency. According to research published in Springer Link, a competitive learning environment is linked to motivation.
And video games are all about competition. The good thing about game-based learning is that each student’s performance can be quantified in real-time. The urge to have a high score helps ensure attention and focus in class.
When there is a reward involved, any activity becomes more enjoyable, even if it is academic in nature. In the case of video games, the reward is attaining the first position.
Inculcating problem-solving skills
One of the critical soft skills that help in thriving in later life is problem-solving. However, this is the most challenging skill to develop. Most video games help build this skill, much better than any theoretical lecture would.
Unlimited Gamez Mo, an online platform featuring a variety of games, possesses various strategy games that can be implemented in a classroom setting. For example, Moles in Holes help children in improving their visualization and problem-solving skill.
In this game, players must connect the different moles to their food without overlapping any of the paths. Therefore, players must think ahead about the consequence of each of their moves.
Games like these help in developing skills that are otherwise hard to ensure.
Providing multiple ways to do the same thing
There is something rigid about the conventional educational system. Getting the right answer is often not enough. Instead, you must use the right process to get to the answer. This causes frustration among students who like to think outside the box.
Even video games previously developed used to be the same.
However, now both board games and video games are flexible in nature. They don’t care about the means. This gives students the chance to be more flexible in their approach.
For instance, Minecraft is a popular educational sandbox game that gives players the liberty to choose any path they want to. For instance, to protect your created town from the monsters, you can decide what defense to use. This flexibility and openness are highly appreciated by students.
All in all, games, when chosen correctly, can help in improving the curriculum. They can help children visualize the concept, which helps improve their attention span, memory, creativity, and problem-solving skill. They make evaluations seem less stressful and studying more rewarding.
If you are an instructor, make sure to include game-based learning in your syllabus and watch as student engagement in your class automatically improves.
Video games don’t always have to be the villain. Not when you know how to mold them for your own motives!
Audrey Throne has an ongoing affair with the words that capture readers’ attention. Her passion for writing dates back to her pre-blogging days. She loves to share her thoughts related to business, technology, health and fashion.