Why Serious Games? 6 Key Benefits

We’ve heard A LOT about game-based learning lately. Here we bring you an extract from our recent whitepaper, including a run-down of 6 benefits of games in learning, and some clarification around the difference between ‘games’, ‘serious games’ and ‘gamification’.

Benefit 1: Engagement

Image showing a flow diagram to illustrate the benefits of games for learning
With active engagement, serious games lead to discovery, observation, trial and error and problem solving, important aspects of learning (Dickey, 2005).

Benefit 2: Flow
Video games promote ‘flow’, when there is a perceived balance between the challenge and skills required – the player knows what to do (has goals) and how successful they are via immediate feedback (Csikszentmihalyi, 1991).

Difference between different gaming termsBenefit 3: Sharing
Games typically allow users to share their score with others and see it displayed on leaderboards, making it competitive, which is a natural driver of human behaviour (Squire and Jenkins, (2003). This can support groups of learners, even when geographically distributed, and develop team-based skills, leadership, coordination and communications skills (de Freitas, 2006).

Benefit 4: Learning by doing
Games provide a learning environment where players discover new rules by interacting and exploring the game, rather than memorising them, leading to knowledge acquisition (Squire, 2011), and self-motivation, thus becoming more active in their own learning (Michael and Chen, 2006).

Benefit 5: Monitoring progress
The effects of corporate training applications must be measurable; the distinction must be made between ‘performance’ and ‘learning outcomes’. Game play often focuses on performance, measuring skills that have already been mastered while discouraging trial and error, but may not measure depth of knowledge gained. Assessment can be quantitative and qualitative and should allow learners to get feedback on the consequences of their actions.

Benefit 6: Risk free
Simulation allows learners to experience something too costly, risky, or ethically unacceptable in real-life (Corti, 2006). But this approach assumes players can see the similarities/context and may need support transferring the knowledge (Crookall, 2010). Many papers have emphasised how games should be used to enhance training, not replace it (Science Daily, 2010).

Another diagram showing how effective game based learning is

Want the full low-down on serious games? Check out our whitepaper here.

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