The ideal of interactive, highly-engaging training and education is ancient. A Chinese proverb says: "Tell me, and I'll forget. Show me, and I may remember. Involve me, and I'll understand." However, the gap continues to grow between antiquated, passive training methods and a workforce that lives an ever more interactive, multimedia, user-controlled lifestyle. With game-based learning tools to bridge that gap comes the promise of vastly more productive and engaged students and workers—ones who embrace learning.
There are two approaches to games and learning, namely, Game-Based Learning (GBL) and gamification. GBL, also referred to as 'Serious Games', which are computer or video games designed for a primary purpose (education or solving a problem) other than entertainment. This involves the use of simulations to support teaching and learning. Gaming simulation is an interactive-learning environment that makes it possible to cope with authentic situations that closely mimic reality. According to Kip Kelly (2013) “serious games can allow players to apply what they have learned in an L&D [Learning and Development] experience and apply it in a safe, simulated environment. For example, health care professionals can practice a new medical procedure using a serious simulation game before introducing it in the workplace”.
There have been several studies conducted on learning and serious games, for example, a recent study by the Office of Naval Research found that video game players performed ten to twenty percent better in perceptual and cognitive ability than non-game players, and that video games helped adults process information faster(Steinberg,2012). Another study by the Federation of American Scientists found that students re...
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...the motivation and attentiveness of the students and specifically, games can become a facilitator for self-directed study and research; when students enjoy a specific area in a game, they become more inclined to search it online, read a book about it, or watch a documentary on it (Rapini, Sarina 2012).
Research has shown that gaming, in the right context, can be just as, if not more, effective than traditional e-learning. It improves problem-solving, creativity, risk assessment, and risk taking. Gaming also supports B.F. Skinner’s Behavioral Theory: that behavior is a function of its consequences. As in real life, when most people have a negative consequence to something they do, they don’t do it again. In gaming it’s the same concept: You go through that particular door and fall down an elevator shaft and lose the game…are you going to do that again? Probably not.
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