Put a child anywhere, they’ll instantly find something fun to do. Most of us will agree that kids are a pure source of creativity and inspiration. In fact, their innate desire to play is crucial for childhood development. It’s how they develop confidence, self-esteem, independence, emotional resilience, physical skills, concentration, and creative thinking. So it’s not surprising that fun and games have been incorporated into education.
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Times are changing
Technological advancements have altered life as we know it. What’s more surprising is that children are adapting to change as if it’s as normal as breathing. Generation Z was the first generation born at a time when smartphones, social media, artificial intelligence, and much more already existed. But as Generation Alpha emerges, analysts predict a batch that is more technologically immersed. And as technology continues to impact education dramatically, they will be better educated.
Students nowadays are aware that their childhood is unique when compared to their parents and grandparents. And institutions realize that in order to help children develop the necessary skills for the future, they will need to implement innovative methods of teaching. The evidence can be seen in the significant expansion in the education sector over the past two decades.
One such aspect is game-based learning.
Game-based learning (GBL) uses fun and games to develop hard and soft skills in children. With the aid of mind-opening exercises and activities, these games help stimulate critical thinking, problem-solving techniques, and decision making, among other learning benefits.
We are surrounded by modern technologies that are changing the dynamics of everything around us. And the gaming world is not immune to any of it. In fact, it’s become even more attractive to youngsters. It’s offering more fun and interactive ways of application, repetition, understanding, and remembering new concepts. As a result, game-based learning is increasing motivation and engagement among students. According to psychotactics.com, people retain approximately:
90% of what they learn when they teach someone else or use the skill immediately.
75% of what they learn when they keep practicing what they’ve learned.
50% of what they learn when engaged in a group discussion.
30% of what they learn when they see a demonstration.
20% of what they learn from audio-visual.
How is GBL revolutionizing education today?
Game-based learning is bringing new ideas and concepts into the education sector. It’s proving to be increasingly beneficial in the following areas:
- Topics that too boring or technical
- Thoughts are difficult to grasp or too complex
- The audience is hard to communicate with using traditional methods
- Difficulty in motivating students
Gaming holds an incredible charm to children. Not only does it incorporate the fun into learning, but it also helps them learn faster and retain concepts longer.
And developers know that education can continue well beyond the walls of the classroom. Platforms like AirG MiniMe allows kids to enjoy educational games and videos from anywhere, at any time.
Consider that only the tip of the iceberg. Let’s take a closer look at how GBL is changing education for the better.
1. Overcoming the fear of failure
Children know that gaming revolves around an imaginary world. This presents them with a safe environment to experiment with different ideas without having to worry about failing. Moreover, it gives them the courage and confidence to keep trying, because games aren’t meant to be hard. 😉
2. Learning to think outside the box
Often games push players to find creative ways to the same scenario. Children can then explore new angles, encouraging growth in a positive mindset. More importantly, it prepares them for real-life situations where they will need to make the most out of opportunities around them.
3. Perseverance is the key to success
You’ll rarely hear a child refusing to play a game. Whether it’s solving a puzzle or clearing a level, kids learn to concentrate on the task at hand. While the solution to the situation may not be easy at first, the fact that children are intrigued by the challenge rather than giving up only goes to show that they are more focused on finding a solution than accepting failure.
4. The ability to make more informed decisions
While playing a game, the player is confronted with multiple situations where decisions need to be made instantly. Making the right ones not only builds the player’s confidence and self-esteem but also creates a feeling of empowerment. For kids, the chance to be in charge and make mistakes without criticism is hard to ignore.
5. The opportunity to experience different roles
Education is aimed at preparing the next generation for the future. But it must incorporate the child’s dreams and goals as well. Exposing children to games that depict the roles and responsibilities of various occupations permits them to proceed in fields that align with their interests. So it’s a great way to stimulate the learning process. But more importantly, from an early age, individual talents can be tapped into so that each child can reach their highest potential.
6. Tapping into the hidden potential behind the entertainment value
Because children love fun and games, it’s easier to engage them actively. So when a game is designed to address a specific problem or teach a particular skill, teachers are able to maintain the students’ attention for longer periods. Moreover, when the gameplay revolves around mastering a skill before progressing to the next level, even repetition is not deemed monotonous.
7. Enhancing collaboration
Many multiplayer games attract players to one platform, regardless of their age, gender, or ethnicity. In the virtual world, demographic boundaries are blurred. Anyone with the right capabilities that can help the team ‘win’ is acceptable. Games like these help teach students the importance of collaboration, teamwork, acceptance of ideas suggested by others, clear communication, and much more.
8. Incorporating a versatile learning tool
A single game can often effortlessly combine different approaches and subjects. And when they are integrated with various teaching aids, the results can be exponential. The progress depends upon the method and pace with which instructors guide children through the dedicated program.
Game-based learning has gained a great deal of traction over the past few decades. As technological advancements continue to grow, newer ways of teaching will become available to educational institutions. Sooner than later, a curriculum will need to be developed with GBL capabilities in mind.
Institutions and parents realize that children now require more than just basic reading, writing, maths, and science skills. They need to learn new methods of working progressively, accomplishing goals and objectives, and interacting with others. The latest research shows that much can be achieved through game-based learning. To help students learn better as well as improve the quality of knowledge and skills they gain, we will need to take bold steps to acquire better long-term results for our children, especially if that means embracing the latest technological trends head-on.
Andrea Bell is a blogger by choice. She loves to discover the world around her. She likes to share her discoveries, experiences and express herself through her blogs. You can find her on Twitter:@IM_AndreaBell