Game-based learning: A step forward to 21st century education
The word ‘game’ is always associated with joy and engagement. Be it young learners or adults – everyone loves games. Have you ever wondered why everyone has a strong inclination towards games? Game-based learning is interesting, stimulating and promotes group participation. Therefore, it is an old belief that games have myriad deeper and meaningful aspects. This kind of learning often becomes the avenue for children to enhance their higher-order thinking skills.
As per a study by the Bloomsburg University, the use of game-based learning engages people, motivates action, promotes learning and solves problems. Game elements include more practical ways of learning like story narratives, characters and rewards to boost motivation and engagement, none of which rote learning will be able to achieve. These elements, when used in learning environments, bring positive changes in a student’s behaviour and attitude towards learning.
Let’s explore how integrating games with learning fosters a more effective learning environment.
Learning powered by game-based techniques
Integrating game-based techniques in the learning process, popularly known as gamification of learning can be defined as the stimulus of the learning process using the gaming components. This can be thought of crossing various difficulty levels of subsequent tasks and climbing up the ladder to complete the challenges in the next level. Additionally, score points, competition and feedback are integrated into the teaching-learning process to maximise learner engagement and enjoyment.
Following are the advantages of integrating game-based learning into the curriculum:
- Increases learner engagement
- Ensures better learning outcomes
- Facilitates collaborative group learning
- Makes learning fun and interactive
- Enhances the learning experience
How can gaming techniques be implemented in the curriculum?
The following are some of the ways in which game-based learning techniques can be integrated into the K–12 education.
- Badges and 5 stars score cards increase motivation and engagement among today’s learners. For example, extra points can be awarded to students who perform exceptionally well. Special rewards can be given to the leaders in a group activity.
- Games and activities should be based on the learning objectives. An example of a learning game that has successfully achieved this is the Meerkat Maths HD for Mental Maths, a race-based maths game, which helps improve participants’ speed of mental calculations.
- To make the most of the game-based learning, games and activities have to be systematically planned as per the curriculum. This will also help in bridging conceptual gaps through audiovisual modules. It also helps develop 21st-century skills in a fun and child-friendly manner.
For example, Robotics Lab by Next Education focuses on the gamification of learning. The lab curriculum is smoothly knitted with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education that makes learning fun and joyful.
Another interesting way is to gamify assessments and tests. They capture students’ attention and prepare them for the future by handling real-life scenarios. Questionnaires can be based on crossword-puzzles, games like Tic-Tac-Toe and Find-Your-Way so that students enjoy the process of assessments.
Earlier education was perceived as being devoid of enjoyment and entertainment, but with the introduction of game-based learning, this has changed. It makes the teaching-learning process more effective, engaging and stimulating. Making game-based learning a part of regular classroom activity can truly transform education into a fun-filled domain. Thereby, learners would look forward to learning not just for better academic performance but for happiness and excitement.