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The Promising Future of Game-Based Learning

Posted by Megan Hauptfleisch on 07/09/2016

Were you allowed to play video games when you were a kid? Did you have a parent who would bribe you with game time in exchange for a clean kitchen or folded laundry? Once considered strictly entertainment, videogames have found their place in the classroom.

The benefits of game based learning in education are plenty: when a student wants to play, their motivation increases, making them more participatory and better able to take on challenges. Research has shown that the use of videogames can transform classrooms from a traditional, listen-to-the-teacher model into a dynamic environment focused on students. Teachers, parents and the scientific community are catching on: when games come into play, students are more engaged and focused (Watson, Mong & Harris, 2011).

Let’s face it: lectures haven’t always addressed all of the skills needed for on the job success. Classrooms have been void of the challenges, complexities and excitement found in the real world. Videogames can change that.

Through collaboration, personalisation and feedback, videogames have built-in characteristics that lend to advanced learning (Sakamoto 2008). Students’ decisions and behaviour can be observed and objectively assessed. Immediately, a student knows if their thinking is on target. If a mistake is made, students can play again, learn from their mistakes, and work to improve.

Game based learning and gamification takes the best elements of games, rules, points, competition, and applies it to other areas in life. Marketers have used gamification to lure customers to products. Even designer Jane McGonigal turned her healing process into a game. After a severe concussion, McGonigal found herself bedridden and suicidal. When she turned the experience into a game, she got better, faster.

When you play a game, mundane tasks like sorting data or working through difficult problems become fun. Without really thinking about it, you build autonomy, the belief in your abilities and capabilities to do and get something done. If a teacher tells you to read a chapter on economic theory, how much will you remember? Now imagine playing a game that demonstrates these principles AND rewards you for when you demonstrate understanding.

See how games can make you happier, more focused, and maybe even live longer.


Watch McGonigal's TED talk:

Games aren’t just for kids anymore. This is where it gets exciting.


It isn’t only cognitive skills that get a boost during game time; researchers Isabela Granic, Adam Lobel, and Rutger C. M. E. Engels noticed motivation, emotion, and social skills were also improved (2014). Gamers displayed better attitudes towards those from different countries, showing heightened levels of empathy and understanding (Forde and Kenny, Online Gaming and Youth Cultural Perceptions). Even writing and creativity skills improved after playing games (Lepper & Cordova, 1992).

Some of the skills most desired by employees and valued in the business world are encouraged through videogames. Here’s where WAMco, our immersive learning method comes in.

We want our students to have a competitive edge. That’s why we use an interactive online environment to help students think through real world problems, manage clients and practice skills learned in class. Using roleplay and realistic scenarios, WAMco helps students build confidence and resilience before encountering difficult scenarios in the real world. By taking ownership of performance and education, students and instructors work side-by-side to take an active approach to business management and learning.

Creativity, empathy, collaboration, critical thinking, and an expanded worldview help managers run effective operations. In today’s multi-cultural world, social and business skills are needed to make profits and help companies communicate with clients. Industries are changing, and it’s important to be able to transfer skills and see opportunities from many angles. So, don’t be surprised if you professor encourages you to play a game. It could do your mind - and your career - good.

Click here to learn more about WAMco.


Granic, Isabela ; Lobel, Adam & Rutger C. M. E. Engels (2014). “The Benefits of Playing Video Games”. American Psychologist, Vol. 69, No. 1, 66 –78.

Lepper, M.R. and D.I. Cordova (1992). A desire to be taught: Instructional consequences of intrinsic motivation. Motivation and Emotion v16 no3, p187-208.

McGonigal, Jane (2012). The game that can give you 10 extra years of life. TED talk.

Sakamoto, T. (2008). "Present state of videogames and learning games: Use and effects", The Conference Retrieved Access.

Watson, William R.; Mong, Christopher J. & Constance A. Harris. (2011). A Case Study of the In-Class Use of a Video Game for Teaching High School History. Computers & Education, v56 n2 p466-474.

Topics: Article, MCI Live

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