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Explore the Various Facets of Fun Through Game-Based Learning

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Explore the Various Facets of Fun Through Game-Based Learning

Fun is not just cracking a couple of jokes with your colleague about the boring online course you have been assigned, yet again.

Games and gamified learning is emerging as one of the most effective learning strategies. But people often tend to be skeptical about the approach as games are inherently associated with an element of fun.

According to Raph Koster, in his seminal work, A Theory of Fun:

“A game is a system in which players engage in an abstract challenge, defined by rules, interactivity, and feedback, that results in a quantifiable outcome often eliciting an emotional reaction.”

In this post, I will talk about the transformation of fun bought about by game-based learning to make learning effective, not a frivolous activity.

Here is the transformation of fun bought about by game-based learning.

Fun can be:

  • Problem Solving: Generally, most people love to solve problems; for example, in a crossword puzzle, we try to solve the clues by forming words. Problem-solving helps players build things, achieve, collect, succeed, etc.
  • Imagining: Doing or experiencing something other than the routine is another way of learning. Role-playing could be a better example of it. Imagining can be a safe option when trying to adopt new behaviors.
  • Exploring and Learning: Everybody loves to explore and learn which makes things exciting and enjoyable. Many players enjoy online games wherein they explore new levels and try to gain knowledge from them.
  • Collaborating: Many times, you might have played games as a team. Think of the enjoyment or fun you felt while doing so as a team, thereby achieving the game goal. Games are a very effective way to foster collaboration.

We have seen what fun can be, here are the learning elements that help learning happen.

  • Motivation
  • Feedback
  • Practice Exercises
  • Reinforcement

Mapping learning elements to the game elements that meet learning needs:

Learning Elements Game Elements That Meet Learning Needs
Motivation
  1. Goals: Every game must have a well-defined goal to be successful. A goal adds a purpose, focus, and measurable outcomes for a game. Game goals must be specific and unambiguous; well-structured and sequenced in order to motivate the learner while playing.
  2. Rewards: Badges, Points, leaderboards, etc. are used to motivate learner and these reward structures play an integral role in games. These are used to ensure players are hooked and want to continue playing.
  3. Levels: Games have different levels, which help motivate the learner to move forward, by achieving or accomplishing a set of goals in each level. Levels engage learners and motivate them to keep playing.
  4. Fun in collaborating and problem-solving: Learners gets motivated by these.
Feedback Feedback in games is almost constant and immediate. The learner will have real-time feedback on his progress towards the goal, the amount of life left, time remaining, etc., to know his status and what is to be done to move further i.e., to next level. If he takes a wrong move, he will have a warning prompt. Feedback helps the learner or player adjust and reinforce his performance to advance.
Practice A game specifies that you need to “try-try-try”, to solve or achieve the game goal; in simple terms, “PRACTICE”. When we compare the same with traditional training, it something like “watch-watch-watch” before you get to “do”. Problem-solving could be a fun factor here as it also links to providing relevant practice. For example, in simulations we create a virtual imagery of the real world to help the learner visualize it and consequently get involved and try to achieve his goal.
Reinforcement Repetition strengthens the learner memory, and in games, we often try to repeat the consequences or the steps as we progress. In games, we can replicate the real world risk in the context, which helps learners retain the information for a longer time.

Hope this post has convinced you that game-based learning is not just fun but effective learning through the various learning elements.

Have other interesting ideas? Please share with us in the comments section below.

Happy Reading!!

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