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Pros and Cons of Game-Based Learning

Despite the importance of learning, some people, especially children and teens, often don’t choose this conscious approach to education. 

Learners tend to associate studying with something they have to do, not want to. Of course, such an approach often holds them back from performing better.

What Is Game-Based Learning?

This unwillingness to study is explained by lack of engagement. Young minds find lessons and academic activities not interesting and can’t stay focused. This forces teachers to develop more engaging and interactive teaching techniques, such as the use of workstations for media and entertainment, that would keep students interested. Game-based learning is one of them.

In a nutshell, this technique assumes using gameplay for specific learning objectives. The goal is to engage a student, help one obtain knowledge through playing, and ensure the ability to retain and apply newly-obtained skills in the real world.

The core concept is to teach through failures, accomplishments, and repetition. A player starts at the simplest level and, as one’s skills and knowledge strengthen, solves more complicated tasks.

Game-Based Learning vs. Regular Teaching Methods

Game-based teaching techniques are neither new or rare. These methods are widely applied by parents from kid’s early childhood when they play with him and, at the same time, teach words, shapes, and other basic things.

Is such an approach effective? It certainly is. It helps teachers change the students’ perception of the process. Learning through fun and engaging activities feels more natural and, thus, contributes to a better understanding of the program.

It is also worth noting that studying often puts great pressure on learners getting in the way of success. 

Let’s take an example. Teachers show an analytical essay example and ask students to write one. 

As a rule, facing such a problem for the first time, a person will feel stressed and take longer to find a solution. However, if a different approach is chosen – to create an essay through the game – one will feel more relaxed and show better results.

What are the other benefits of game-based learning? Here are some of the key pros:

  • Engagement. It is the key to every student’s success. Therefore increased engagement ensured by gamified experience is the reason to incorporate these techniques at schools;
  • Motivation. Such methods applied in teaching can be a strong motivation for students;
  • Progress tracking. When it comes to digital game-based learning, most software is equipped with smart tracking tools that make it easier for teachers to monitor the performance of students and provide feedback;
  • Teamwork. Often, such method of teaching stimulates teamwork in the classroom;
  • Personalized experience. The times when the same-for-all learning system was effective are gone. Now, most educational facilities try to keep in mind individual needs and paces of students to ensure better outcomes. Technology (which is often used in game-based learning) can help create a personalized experience;
  • Additional skills. Most of such activities educate learners on a specific subject. At the same time, they help develop some additional skills such as creative thinking, risk-taking, etc.

Are there any cons? As it always is, there are two sides to the coin. Same way, this teaching technique also has a few downsides, including:

  • Addiction. Most games are designed to be addictive, and even educational ones are not an exception;
  • Cost. Incorporating digital activities into the curriculum, schools have to spend lots of money on the needed gadgets and equipment;
  • Attention span. Some people believe that such activities can cause a decrease in pupils’ attention span due to the fast pace and instant feedback.

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