How are online games changing the way kids learn and grasp new concepts?

They’re entirely engrossed in the gameplay, nibbling away at their lips, smashing the controller keys, oblivious to everything that is going on around them. And let’s not forget the displays of intense emotions. :)

But besides this, their extreme dedication to task commitment and utmost concentration is admirable. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could get the same response while they are studying?

Tapping into the power of gaming

Many consider gaming to be an interference to the learning process. But others may not agree entirely. Research shows that games can be effectively utilized for developing skills needed to thrive in the modern world.

The role of gaming in education goes way back. From puzzles to brain teasers, games have been inherently present in the educational system. But with the advancements in technology, gaming has now moved online. And even as the medium of gaming has changed over the years, the concepts behind it are still the same.

Gaming is considered the driving force behind a variety of positive effects. In fact, it has shown to impact a student’s achievements directly, such as:

  • An increase in the levels of motivation, concentration, and engagement
  • Ability to retain new information
  • Grasp important concepts easily
  • Enhanced visual skills
  • Devising creative solutions for unique situations
  • Allow students to think outside the box
  • Improved interaction and collaboration skills with peers
  • Learning through both success and failure
  • The ability to apply gaming values in real-world situations
  • Build self-confidence

So yeah, it’s okay to say digital games are potentially powerful learning tools.

Games come in many varieties and genres

No matter what type of game a child plays, several common characteristics facilitate the learning process:

  • Challenge: A problem or scenario is presented that needs to be overcome.
  • Rules: Structures and boundaries that need to be maintained during gameplay.
  • Interactivity: Actions or processes are interlinked so that a decision is taken now influences what happens later on.
  • Feedback: The reaction of the player’s interaction.
  • Consequences- Whether it’s in the form of rewards or mistakes.
  • Conflict: The in-game challenge or opposition between players
  • Goals- The player’s desired result.
  • Outcomes- The actual end result, such as a win, lose, or draw.

Learning doesn’t have to be dull and boring

To help kids with academics, teachers are now turning to online gaming for assistance. They can be used to support and complement traditional teaching methods. But teachers realize that strategies have to be as creative as the children. They need to improve the learning experience while introducing other new skills.

And since there isn’t only one method of delivering instruction to students, exploring new ways of teaching is encouraged. More importantly, online games are changing the way children learn and grasp new concepts. And when utilized constructively, games can be used to freshen up teaching methods.

Here are a few advantages of using games as educational tools:

1. To develop an enthusiastic learner

Mention the words ‘let’s play a game,’ and you’ll get cheers all around. Teachers can take advantage of this positive energy as well as the numerous benefits of gaming listed above and create an atmosphere that facilitates the learning process.

Learning through gameplay is one of the most significant ways to improve a child’s performance consistently. Games have helped children learn, whether that means following rules, solving problems, thinking critically, working as a team, or even showing good sportsmanship.

2. To motivate and engage students

Unlike classroom lessons, video games are great at capturing and holding a child’s attention. So teachers need to align games according to the age of the children. Moreover, the aim is to increase engagement, an aspect that is linked to enjoyment and interest.

The response is a heightened level of motivation and concentration. So the more time students spend playing educational games, the higher the gain in skills and knowledge. For average students, the learning achievement increases by 12% when game-based learning reinforces traditional instruction.

3. Reduces monotonous learning methods

Learning should not be limited to rote memorization or monotonous repetition. Games can help students practice a skill with repeated practice and application. More importantly, games offer a hands-on, experimental, and interactive experience, something that adds a little spice to teaching methods.

A well-designed game carries the player through multiple levels with different tasks. The aim is to teach them to succeed in progressively bigger challenges. Often, students are involved in games that encourage them to achieve high scores before moving on to the next stage. So while the gameplay varies, the objective is the same- continue applying skills until you produce the right results and succeed.

4. To help students focus and remember

Making learning fun helps them pay attention and stay focused on the subject. Moreover, it allows students to develop connections with the content, thereby forming positive memories of learning. This lets them recall skills that they learned more readily.

5. Class cooperation

Games are developed for active participation, but playing them in classrooms increases class cooperation. For students, it’s essential to learn how to work together as a team. More importantly, they learn how to listen to the opinions of others, take turns, play fairly, and respect boundaries.

Platforms where children can access games

Children today have more access to a wide variety of game types on countless platforms. So learning fresh concepts and cultivating new skills has become just as fun and entertaining as playing games.

But regardless of the purpose, finding an educational game is easier than ever. Common places include:

  • Web Browser–Based Games- There are thousands of resources that offer online games.
  • Mobile App Markets- App Store and Google Play are excellent sources of download-and-play games for tablets and smartphones.
  • PC Games- These are still prevalent in classrooms.
  • Gaming Consoles- Can be used as learning tools to provide a highly-interactive virtual learning environment.
  • Subscription-Based Games- Services such as AirG Mini-Me provide kid-friendly games focused on literacy, numeracy, movement, creativity, and social-emotional skill development.

Final thoughts

The mindset of the digital generation revolves around learning while playing. Gaming allows players to develop a variety of skills, such as problem-solving, strategic planning, information processing, communication, perseverance, and much more. While playing games, they take risks, fail without stigma, persevere through challenges, work toward goals, strive to improve a single task by constant repetition, learn through experiences, and learn to apply unconnected facts.

If parents and educators utilize these positive attributes and apply them to learning, education could become an epic journey for all children.

Photograph by JESHOOTS

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