Cite this

The Instructional Power of Game-Based Learning and Simulation in Education Essay (Article)


Abstract

Psychologists have often emphasised the need to incorporate games in school curriculum as a way of giving learners opportunity to develop in all aspects of the curriculum.

According to them, these games offer learners an avenue to release their mental tension resulting from rigorous academic engagement. Previous studies have also indicated that the learning process can be made more enjoyable to learners when games are incorporated in the learning process.

This dissertation examined the instructional power of game-based learning and simulation in education and sought to provide insight as to whether game-based learning would be an emphatic method that could be used for teaching and learning.

Many scholars have argued that game-based learning stirs up a sense of motivation on the side of learners regarding their learning process. Therefore, this study explored the distinct features of game-based learning which learners consider to be interesting / absorbing.

The findings of this study showed that the use of game-based learning as an instruction method is very effective in the teaching / learning process. It has the ability to relieve learners of their boredom since it is engaging and provokes learners’ interests.

Besides, its experimental nature allows learners to participate fully in the class work. This means that teachers need to design teaching content that incorporates games since the latter provide a practical learning approach which helps learners to memorise most of the content learnt.

The study also recommends that educators tasked with the design of the curriculum should give great emphasis on instructional methods that allow teachers to incorporate games into the teaching content.

Introduction

With the increasing use of technology in the classroom, many educators are exploring the use of instructional methods that would enhance their teaching and students’ learning.

Educators acknowledge the fact that pedagogical practices need to embrace the learning opportunities available in the modern learning environment where learning tools such as computers, the internet, graphics, fantasy tools, and so on are available.

They also acknowledge that learners’ learning behavior has changed and therefore more learning materials have to be used in the learning process so as to boost their learning motivations and learning experiences.

Consequently, many educators have embraced game-based learning with the aim of motivating learners in their learning process. A number of games have been incorporated in a range of instructional approaches for educational purposes.

Psychologists argue that there is a positive relation between students’ learning and having fun (Glasser 1998). Fun is regarded as a fundamental determinant of human behaviour.

According to Glasser (1998), students are delighted in what their educators ask them to do since it allows them to have fun during the learning process. Game-based learning enables students to learn by practice; hence, they get engaged in the entire learning process.

Similarly, games reinforce learner motivation. The main reason why games are considered to be motivating is the fact that participants in the game are obliged to source for the relevant information that can enable them meet the challenges presented by the game (Chiong 2010).

In addition, some brain researchers have noted that the inclusion of fun in the learning process boosts the memory ability of the students as the contents that they are taught stick for long in their memory (Strauss 2010).

Games are seen to complement the role of the teacher in the classroom; making learning fun and enjoyable. For example, video and computer games allow students to simulate situations such as experiments, scientific, and historical events for themselves.

Similarly, they motivate students, who otherwise are weak in some subject areas by allowing them to encounter ‘real problem’ and devising ways of how to solve it. Besides, the increased use of games in classrooms has contributed to students’ development in other aspects of their personal life.

Hence, skills such as patience, discipline, critical thinking skills, problem solving among others, are learned with the use of games.

The study therefore sought to determine the effectiveness of game-based learning in schools, its influence on students’ motivation, and other factors of motivation associated with game-based learning.

Methodology

In order to achieve the objective of the study, the researcher adopted a mixed methodology by incorporating both qualitative and quantitative research methodology.

Quantitative methodology is relevant for categorising the observations or variables, examining the variables and generating statistical representations to analyze the observations. Qualitative approach on the other hand helps generate information that applies to the designated case study.

The researcher therefore sampled 450 students and teachers and sent them questionnaires to gather quantitative data.

The questionnaire items comprised two major categories including the demographic part and the Likert-scale items and closed-ended items seeking to gather views of the respondents on the study topic.

The Likert-scale questionnaire contained 10 items and the other part also contained 5 closed ended items.

237 respondents (52.6%) of the expected 450 respondents completed the questionnaires. Female respondents were 142 and male respondents were 95. Many respondents were from the age group 40-49 years (43%, n=101).

This was followed by respondents in the age group 30-39 years (24%, n=57). The third largest age group was 50-59 years which had 55 respondents (23%).

The age group under 30 years had the lowest number of respondents (10%, n=24). These results were analysed using SPSS and correlation analysis.

At the same time, the researcher sampled 20 students who were engaged in 13 weeks of game-based learning. Each game-based lesson lasted 30 minutes. At the end of the intervention period, the researcher engaged the participants in an interview.

The interview questions sought to answer the questions ‘why?’, ‘how?’, and ‘what?’ as regards the subject of the research.

Results

Survey results

Respondents were issued with questionnaires in order to give their responses regarding the instructional power of game-based learning and simulations in education.

The results showed that the mean for the effectiveness of game-based learning was 113.20, with a standard deviation of 14.30. From this computation, it can be deduced that many students and teachers believed that game-based learning is incredibly effective.

This is indicated by the high value of the standard deviation. The mean and standard deviation for the other relationships:

  • the influence of game-based learning on motivation;
  • the impacts of game-based learning on students’ learning;
  • other motivating factors connected to game-based learning and instructional power, are also shown in table 3.1 below.

Table 3.1 Summary of descriptive statistics

Study question Mean Standard deviation
Effectiveness of game-based learning 113.20 14.30
Influence of game-based learning on
motivation
102.12 11.30
Impacts of game-based learning on students’ learning 103.10 10.80
Other motivating factors connected to game-
based learning and instructional power
127.20 15.30

Inferential statistics were also calculated and the results showed

  • strong correlations between the influence of game-based learning on motivation and instructional power (r = 0.598, p < 0.01),
  • other motivating factors connected to game-based learning and instructional power (r = 0.585, p < 0.01),
  • effectiveness of game-based learning and its instructional power (r = 0.386, p < 0.01),
  • between impacts of game-based learning and instructional power (r = 0.268, p < 0.05).

Table 3.2 Summary of the inferential statistics

Study question Pearson Correlation Sig (2-tailed)
Effectiveness of game-based learning 0.273 0.044*
Influence of game-based learning on
motivation
0.598 0.000**
Impacts of game-based learning on students’ learning 0.268 0.042*
Other motivating factors connected to game-
based learning and instructional power
0.585 0.000**

Note:

*= p<0.05, **= p < 0.01

Interview Results

The results of the interview also provided some valuable insights.

First, a large majority (n=16) of the students who were interviewed responded that they really enjoyed their learning when it was game-based.

The students liked the idea of sourcing information on their own as well as corresponding to their peers as they engaged in problem solving situations.

However, the remaining four students responded that their learning motivation did not change even with the introduction of game-based learning. They were mainly motivated by the need to attain excellent grades.

Two, it was noted that game-based learning was quite engaging especially with respects to aspects of team work, competition between teams, and the feedback received from the instructor.

Game-based learning provided an enjoyable ambience to them as it promoted strong social connection among the students.

Three, the use of game-based learning helped the students to gain interest in their learning as it enabled them to search for information by themselves instead of relying mainly on the notes provided by the teachers in the classroom.

Besides, it allowed them to actively participate during the learning process. Fourth, factors such as the aims, desires, and goals of the students were found to be the other motivating factors for the students to work hard in their class work.

Discussion

Psychologists emphasise the integration of games in the school curriculum as a way of helping students develop in all their faculties. Besides, games provide students with an avenue to release their mental tension resulting from rigorous academic engagement.

The research has shown that the learning process can be made more enjoyable by using games as part of the learning activities. They also add value to learning as they encourages conceptualising imagined phenomenon to real life experiences.

In addition, when effectively used, games can facilitate learning because they enable students to learn important life skills such as problem solving skills, patience, critical thinking skills and discipline among others.

As opposed to traditional learning methods which mainly involve lecture, game-based learning reinforces learning motivation.

The main reason why games are considered to be motivating is the fact that the participants in the game get the opportunity to source for relevant information that can enable them to meet the challenges presented by the game.

Traditional learning method is very much different from game-based learning due to the fact that students do not have to think or be creative as they are given the necessary figures or facts to comprehend the essential ones.

In the future, researchers should look into the various aspects of game-based learning that offer motivation to the students. In addition, the researchers need to come up with the various measures of learning gains as well as the degrees of learning.

Reference List

Chiong, R 2010, Programming with games: special issue on game-based learning. Learning Technology Publication of IEEE Computer Society, 12(1). Web.

Glasser, W 1998, Choice theory: a new psychology of personal freedom, Harper Collins Publishers, New York.

Strauss, V 2010, ‘TV, games, iPods vs. school’, Washington Post, 21 January, p. 10.

This Article on The Instructional Power of Game-Based Learning and Simulation in Education was written and submitted by user Bryant T. to help you with your own studies. You are free to use it for research and reference purposes in order to write your own paper; however, you must cite it accordingly.

Cite This paper

Select a referencing style:

Reference

T., B. (2019, July 15). The Instructional Power of Game-Based Learning and Simulation in Education [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-instructional-power-of-game-based-learning-and-simulation-in-education/

Work Cited

T., Bryant. "The Instructional Power of Game-Based Learning and Simulation in Education." IvyPanda, 15 July 2019, ivypanda.com/essays/the-instructional-power-of-game-based-learning-and-simulation-in-education/.

1. Bryant T. "The Instructional Power of Game-Based Learning and Simulation in Education." IvyPanda (blog), July 15, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-instructional-power-of-game-based-learning-and-simulation-in-education/.


Bibliography


T., Bryant. "The Instructional Power of Game-Based Learning and Simulation in Education." IvyPanda (blog), July 15, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-instructional-power-of-game-based-learning-and-simulation-in-education/.

References

T., Bryant. 2019. "The Instructional Power of Game-Based Learning and Simulation in Education." IvyPanda (blog), July 15, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-instructional-power-of-game-based-learning-and-simulation-in-education/.

References

T., B. (2019) 'The Instructional Power of Game-Based Learning and Simulation in Education'. IvyPanda, 15 July.

More Pedagogy Paper Examples