Figure 1. source
The relationship between video games and learning has always been a controversial one. Do you remember your parents limiting gaming time and forcing you to study over weekends? Do you remember teachers saying that gaming made us stupid? Things are changing.
The concept of video game teaching is getting more popular by the day. The gamification of learning material contributes towards increased attention span among students. Teachers at all levels finally accepted the fact that students love video games, so they are finding ways to use them for more productive learning.
We’re seeing top-level schools like University of California - Irvine, University of Utah, Stephens College, and many others offering scholarships for gamers. This passion is now seen as a virtue. We’re happy to see an increasing implementation of video games in schools at different levels.
But how exactly is this trend changing the educational system? Are students more distracted than ever, or do video games help them learn more productively?
How Video Games Transform Learning Processes
- They Create Meaningful Experiences
The myth that video games are a waste of time has been busted. An average person accumulates 10,000 hours of gaming by the time they turn 21. This is the same period of time that they spend in the classroom throughout middle school and high school. It’s a lot, but it doesn’t mean that it’s a waste of time.
Studies show that playing games helps young people develop important skills (collaboration, communication, and improved motor skills). That’s more than what we get from the psychedelic movies that college professors make us watch.
But there’s a limit. Research shows that gaming more than three hours a day is counterproductive, and causes social anxiety and depression.
- They Impose the Need for Better Time Management
Let’s talk about a college student who is a passionate gamer but doesn’t want that interest to stand on their way to early graduation. They will manage their time in a way that allows them to attend all classes, study as much as possible, complete all coursework, and still find space for the game.
Without proper time management skills, the student would have to hire a PhD proposal writing services for advanced academic projects. But the years spent in gaming taught them that with effort and hard work, anything is possible.
- Games Teach the Lesson of Failures
When you play a game, you work towards a goal. But the game’s environment doesn’t make it easy for you. It imposes all kinds of obstacles and you have to strategize in order to overcome them.
No matter how well you play, you fail now and then. But you continue playing. You learned from your mistakes and you won’t make them again. You’ll think of different strategies until you find the right approach to overcome this obstacle.
Does this remind you of anything? It’s a life lesson that schools find hard to teach.
- Video Games Inspire Interests
When teachers are using video games to teach, they inspire students to research and read more. Age of Mythology, for example, triggers a learner’s interest in ancient cultures and religions. Age of Empires inspires them to explore the history of human civilization.
When the teacher uses games to spark interests, the students will be able to understand complex concepts. Instead of seeing the lessons as boring, they will be eager to learn something more.
- Cooperative Games are Great for Collaboration Skills
For someone who loves gaming, collaboration skills are necessary for success. They connect with other players and work together to achieve common goals. This is a skill that gamers can easily translate into real-life situations.
Games Are More Useful Than We Assume
Modern games rely on collaboration, so they teach the importance of teamwork when working towards a common goal. They also teach us to learn from failure and find a more efficient approach to overcome an obstacle. Gamification makes learning more fun and triggers a student’s interest to research. Finally, games also create meaningful experiences and impose the need for effective time management.
Don’t you think that all schools and educators should embrace the passion for gaming? Instead of blaming students for wasting time, they should recommend the right games for them to play. We’re happy to see that shift already happening in the educational system.
BIO: Bobbi Sanchez is a passionate gamer. That doesn’t stop him from having other interests, such as reading, writing, and online learning. Bobbi is a firm believer that video games are useful for personal development.