How Game-Based Learning Can Make Your Child Smarter

Games have been proven to improve engagement and people do learn from games, however, to successfully incorporate it into the educational framework, effective design processes will need to be established that ensure imparting of specific knowledge & skills that the game is expected to effectively teach.

The education technology or ed-tech industry has seen expansive growth in recent years and similar growth is being seen for online learning, which could be the next big thing in education. In 2020, technological integration with learning is redefining education, which has now moved from blackboards in classrooms to mobile devices that can be accessed anywhere, at any time. 

Digital technology can play a crucial role in improving access to education. The advances in the education sector will be aligned with the advances in the emerging technologies sector. The advent of Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality and the Internet of Things will change the way industries work and it will also impact education. Apart from interactive experiences, the integration of these technologies will allow learners to explore more seamlessly while allowing for better record-keeping at an administrative level. This will help in making data-driven decisions through analysis of consumptions patterns. Technology in education will also enable methods of learning for those with learning difficulties. All in all, the use of technology in education is redefining the traditional learning system.

With over 168 million children currently out of school, market players have responded rapidly with solutions. The global ed-tech market size was valued at USD 89.49 billion and is expected to witness a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 19.9 per cent for the next 8 years, according to a Grand View Research (GVR) report. At the same time, according to RSBA Advisors, in India, the market size is likely to be USD 30 billion in the next ten years; it is currently between USD 700 & 800 million.

Benefits of game-based learning

Game-based learning (GBL) banks on the “learning by doing” mechanism that has worked well in the past. One of the largest studies involving game-based learning reviewed 48 papers on a popular game-based learning platform. It was found that there was a definite improvement in learning outcomes for those who used the platform over those who did not. The benefits included but were not limited to, better self-confidence, improved conceptual knowledge, enhanced memory & better analytical skills. Game-based learning is especially beneficial in improving memory and retention in kids with this approach by 90%. Children also experience a 20 per cent increase in self-confidence and an 11 per cent improvement in their conceptual knowledge. 

GBL is also a great way to motivate students to learn better as it makes them work towards a goal, allowing them to learn through actions & practising behaviours with an inbuilt reward mechanism. As game-based learning is rooted in creating applications that have real-world applications, the thought processes and behaviours can be transferred to real life with ease. The best way to understand GBL is playing a game where winning could mean improved learning and better cognitive development. Games are known to engage and entertain children and integration of learning outcomes would not only aid learning but also provide much-needed reprieve and interaction during the isolation brought about by lockdown measures. 

The way forward

The pandemic has presented a unique challenge, which in turn, has presented an exceptional opportunity to make large scale changes to the education system to cope with the new normal. GBL can not only help children cope, but also thrive as it combines entertainment with education and critical thinking with creativity. 

While there are thousands of serious games or GBL solutions in the world right now, teachers and parents haven’t completely accepted gaming as a viable learning solution. These perceptions need to change if we are to keep up with the changing times. The workforce of tomorrow needs to be skilled in the technologies of tomorrow and this can seldom be achieved by using pedagogical methods of the past. 

Tools and technologies need to be developed for marrying the engaging and motivating aspects with good instructional design. Games have been proven to improve engagement and people do learn from games, however, to successfully incorporate it into the educational framework, effective design processes will need to be established that ensure imparting of specific knowledge & skills that the game is expected to effectively teach. The evolving technology and access to it at a young age is already ensuring a smarter young generation, however, to avoid learning fatigue and to enhance motivation, GBL certainly looks like the way forward. 

Interestingly, the engagement with content continues to be a protracted problem for educationists and innovators alike. Game-based learning (GBL) is leading the race for the most widely accepted solution for an engagement at this time. So much so that game science is currently one of the most studied teaching methods in the world. Game-based learning is the use of gaming with educational outcomes to improve learning and cognitive development. While games have been a part of the educational system for a long time now, improved online access has paved the way for game-based learning. Such a system not only promotes learning in an engaging and entertaining medium but also ensures the practical and analytical application of the mind. What we need now more than ever before is to build bridges between industry, academia and the government to ensure an institutionalised mechanism of constant and consistent collaboration for specific learning outcomes and real-world problem-solving. What’s at stake is the future of our children who don’t just need to be smart, or be able to process new knowledge, they should be able to build and form new connections, derive new meaning, create collaborative thinking, and develop critical faculties with the ability to reason and assimilate new facts and work in an increasingly interconnected world. Gamification of learning and training, therefore, is the way to go and we shouldn’t hesitate to push play as a nation.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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