Game-Based Learning - Why is it so darn effective?
Learning itself is addictive.
But school has killed it! How on earth did the education system kill something supposedly addictive?
Game-based learning is using fun game mechanics which are designed around teaching players specific lessons, or topics. It's learning through games, which makes information retention easier, and helps students see the links to the real world. Game-based learning is both fun and effective, and here are 3 reasons why it's so darn effective!
1. Adventure motivates players
In game-based learning, their first touch with knowledge is usually where the students don’t initially recognize its value or significance. Children want to solve puzzles by all means necessary if it means a new area to explore with new adventures to be had! And they enjoy it, solving puzzles was something to be proud of; they're worthy to advance deeper to discover forgotten secrets, they're heroes contributing to a greater cause! Children start associating learning with exciting new experiences, and curious young minds not only learn well, they'll want to learn.
The JumpStart Series is an example which applies just that. This mini-game is The Jumbo Electro Generator Room from JumpStart 3rd Grade Adventuers: Mystery Mountain, created by Knowledge Adventure.Targeted at 7-9 year old kids, players had to use arithmetic to power up the other games in the Mountain, placing math as the foundation of a grander-scale adventure!
That’s what we do with tracing and crafting in ChemCaper as well. Players have to trace the outlines of apparatus used for potion crafting to help them win fights and progress in-game. It may be simple, but players are introduced to lab apparatus in a way which both shows their purpose, and is linked to potion bonuses helping players do better on their adventure immediately. Through tracing, we’re also able to engage kids' visual and kinaesthetic senses, helping them remember more for longer.
2. Implicit learning reduces resistance
Ever sighed about how to get your kids excited about the boring, technical parts of science and math? We sure have.
Implicit learning is another subtle, yet effective way of familiarizing players with a concept. It works by putting lessons to experiences, instead of say, textbooks. Take the The Learning Company's 6th Grade instalment: The Empire of the Plant People from The Cluefinders series, set in a world where anthromorphic plants fight for survival against pollution. Players solve puzzles in the pollution-morphed world and come to a culminating mini-game where players gain an appreciation of pollution’s effects and how tough it is to clean. Kids are naturally curious, and when you introduce them to terms like "acidic" and "alkaline" during a game, they'll look it up.
3. Immersive learning sticks longer
Children are drawn to the promise of stories set in the lands of their wild imaginations. They remember these stories and places to an amazing extent because adventure evokes emotions. And emotion creates attachment.
Think of your happiest or saddest memory. Who do you recall being with? What was around you? Where were you? Emotions are powerful memory anchors! Your kids can tell you clearly the stuff they've learnt from their favourite books and tv shows, can't they?
ChemCaper teaches kids by immersing them in a full-blown fantasy world. Players come to know the elemental groups of the Periodic Table through the characteristics the races of ChemCaper display, and even their homelands. For instance, Drogens ~pop~ when they get excited; and Moon Beings fizz upon contact with water.
Our students have reported that they remember 90% of the Chemistry concepts they learned 6 whole months after playing ChemCaper! When the education paradigm shifts to kids being introduced to subjects on their terms - through fun and technology, they'll learn faster and better.
Imagine reaching out to kids regardless of age, and connecting them with Chemistry before they begin fearing it (especially the girls). And then they come to school as masters in their element ready to take on challenges thrown at them!
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