We will write a custom Assessment on Video Games and Learning specifically for you
301 certified writers online
The aim of this paper is to discuss the potential of video games for the creation of effective learning environments that can be used for knowledge transfer and skill development. The paper will also analyze the features of good educational video games and the types of skills that can be developed by the new approach to learning.
Learning Environment of Video Games
Despite the fact that the digital revolution has introduced many avenues for changing the way people learn, educational environments have not been changed to a substantial degree by new technologies. However, many educators are willing to utilize technology to provide children with tools that are capable of enhancing their learning experience (Turkay & Hoffman, 2014). The standard learning process and video games are diverse phenomena that can, nonetheless, be connected on many levels, thereby facilitating collaborative educational practices.
A good learning environment is the one that allows learners to feel safe in both physical and emotional terms. Furthermore, the intellectual and social growth of students is enabled by the environment in which they are challenged to achieve at a level that exceeds their current mastery. Another characteristic of a good learning environment is multiple opportunities to experience success.
It can be argued that the use of video games in classrooms can create educational environments that reinforce students’ learning and provide them with authentic and meaningful educational experiences. Many researchers point to the fact that the relationship between the cognitive architecture of students and the design of educational materials can be explored to enhance the quality of instruction (Turkay & Hoffman, 2014). From a cognitive perspective, it is clear that educational video games can be tailored to students’ cognitive needs.
There is ample evidence suggesting that video games can be beneficial for the development of a wide range of cognitive skills (Prensky, 2012). A study on attentional control shows that gamers have “faster and more accurate attention allocation, higher spatial resolution in visual processing, and enhanced mental rotation abilities” (Green & Bavelier, 2012, p. 197). Another study suggests that spatial skills trained with the help of video games are comparable to those received at specialized university-level courses (Uttal et al., 2013). The development of special skills is especially important because they are associated with achievement in STEM areas of expertise.
Problem-solving skills are also best trained with the help of video games. It has to do with the fact that almost all modern video games introduce their players to puzzles of varying complexity that allow them to explore different possible solutions. Being constantly exposed to open-ended problems, gamers learn through trial and error, thereby gaining experience in experimentation. Enhanced creativity is another benefit of immersion into the virtual environment of a video game. Also, gamers often interact socially, which has an enormous impact on their emotional wellbeing and helps them to develop social skills in a safe environment (Granic, Lobel, & Engels, 2014).
Threat of Substitutes
Despite the fact that video games can inform and guide educational practices, they will not replace traditional training methods. Many educators express their concerns over video games becoming a substitute for teacher-led education (Marklund, 2014). However, even though immersive virtual environments created with the help of modern technologies seem like a viable alternative to traditional educational settings, it is hard to disagree with Don Field who believes that video games are not capable of challenging classic learning principles.
It can be argued that video games should be thought of as a tool, not a substitute. According to Linderoth (2012), despite the fact that video games have some properties of a positive learning environment, they can lead to cognitive overload that diminishes the ability of players to develop new skills. Therefore, it is best to strive for making traditional learning environments more playful instead of trying to completely change the contemporary approach to education. Also, there is no substitute for social interaction that comes with a face-to-face learning event. It is hard to imagine computer software that would be as inspirational and influential as a great educator. Furthermore, faceless computer screens cannot create an atmosphere of trust and compassion that is essential for learning.
In order to create immersive gaming experiences that can facilitate learning, it is necessary to consider a number of important criteria that video games should have. The most important feature of educational video games that have to be considered by developers is a game’s influence on the cognitive area of a learner’s experience. Virtual learning environments should provide students with a system of rules, tools, and tasks that can guide them during the mastery process.
An effective video game impacts students on an emotional level. Therefore, it is important to have a virtual learning environment that is based on “a reward system that could create positive emotions on task completion, thus motivating students to complete more tasks” (Dominguez, et al., 2013, p. 383). There are many different forms of rewards that can generate positive emotions in students but, the most important ones are experience points, achievements, feedback messages, and the game content itself.
Social area features of video games are also essential for education. Successful systems for learning have to be cooperative and social; therefore, developers of video games have to ensure that students do not study in isolation. Also, educational video games should have competitive mechanisms and score systems helping to motivate learners.
Video games can be used for transferring knowledge in almost every field of human endeavor. The military has been using video games for training pilots, soldiers, and commanders among others since the 1980s (Case Study, n.d.). Corporate entities also utilize the new approach to learning in order to enhance the transfer of training and help their staff to develop invaluable management skills. Therefore, there is no surprise that the market for corporate training games has been steadily growing for many years. (Case Study, n.d.).
Many corporate entities recognize the usefulness of video games for training their employees. Such a method of training is more cost-effective than a traditional one, and it also allows new employees to develop essential skills at home. Video games can be highly effective in training technicians and health care practitioners. According to a supervisor of repairmen at Canon, “workers who played the game showed a 5 percent to 8 percent improvement in their training scores compared with older training techniques” (Case Study, n.d., p. 2). Some companies use video game-based training programs to enhance the empathy levels of their employees as well as to teach them the art of persuasion, which is essential in sales (Case Study, n.d).
The paper shows that video games can become an invaluable supplement to traditional classroom instruction by creating effective learning environments that can be used for knowledge transfer and skill development.
Get your first paper with 15% OFF
Case Study. (n.d.).
Dominguez, A., Navarrete, J., Marcos, L., Fernandez-Sanz, L., Pages, C., & Marinez-Herraiz, J. (2013). Gamifying learning experiences: Practical implications and outcomes. Computers & Education 63(1), 380-392.
Granic, I., Lobel, A., & Engels, R. (2014). The benefits of playing video games. American Psychologist, 69(1), 66-78.
Green, C. S., & Bavelier, D. (2012). Learning, attentional control, and action video games. Current Biology, 22(1), 197–206.
Linderoth, J. (2012). Why gamers don’t learn more: An ecological approach to games as learning environments. Journal of Gaming and Virtual Worlds, 4(1), 45-62.
Prensky, M. (2012). From digital natives to digital wisdom: Hopeful essays for 21st century learning. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.
Turkay, S., & Hoffman, D. (2014). Toward understanding the potential of games for learning: Learning theory, game design characteristics, and situating video games in classrooms. Computers in the Schools, 31(1), 2-22.
Uttal, D. H., Meadow, N. G., Tipton, E., Hand, L. L., Alden, A. R., Warren, C.,…Newcombe, N. S. (2013). The malleability of spatial skills: A meta-analysis of training studies. Psychological Bulletin, 139(1), 352– 402.