4 Essential Elements That Create Effective Learning Games
I still remember how we all used to fight over the controller for playing Super Mario Bros. back in the 90s. If you ask me one thing I learned from this game that would be – make sure Mario doesn’t miss his balance and topples over.
The graphics and music of this game often ring in mind when I look at a controller.
And this is what a well-designed game does to your brain. It leaves its mark forever. Researchers these days are using this argument to propose that a video game can be a useful learning tool. One reason to promote games is to encourage students to learn outside the class.
Judy Willis, a neurologist, and teacher confirms ‘brain research tells us that when the fun stops, learning often stops too.’ It is one of the main factors for the growth of educational games. There is something about the play that awakens persistence and tenacity in the gamer. He/she tries to achieve mastery by taking risks and using tactics impossible in real life.
Source – Numerous experiences in educational gaming is expanding, and researchers are using a variety of tools to develop new learning environments.
Do you know what categorizes as a well-designed educational game?
For starters, it is anything but boring. It offers a constant learning process, improving skills with mechanics, and introducing new tactics along the way. It makes learning easy.
However, designing such a game is not as simple. Figuring out the balance between fun and learning will eventually help you develop a compelling learning tool. We have rounded up four essential elements an educational game must have:
- Learning Objectives
Learning objectives are the foundation of effective learning content. Be it traditional methods, tech tools, or video games. Each has a core motive. These objectives shape the game, determine its format, execution, and overall content strategy.
A good learning objective, in its purest form, has three components:
- Performance – things the learner should do or perform
- Condition – environment of performance or play
- Criteria – evaluation of the performance
When designing a learning game, each part of this objective must stay central to the design. Analyze if the structure of the game is appropriate for instructional purposes. Keep in mind that students and educators need to see the point of the game. Let them know in clear words what you intend to teach through the game. Clarify if it is a game meant to teach children how to code or make them learn complex mathematical functions.
This attracts only genuine users and ensures you can maintain a good reputation in the industry.
- Highly Interactive
Allow your players to take the lead. They must be the flag-bearers of the game, and everything else has to be secondary. A strategy to keep the gamers involved is by reducing the passive activities and increasing the interactive windows.
The education-based game should be highly empirical, enabling students to witness the results of their activity in real-time. In the next round, they get a chance to rectify their strategies and improve their scores. Indeed, interactive games are potent grounds of learning. You can work on integrating chatbots and verbal cues to buck up the players. They can also voice out their complaints about the game, making the process of upgrades a whole lot easier.
Lepper and Cordova, 1992 discovered that rewriting a lesson with a story context integrated with a challenge for the students (turning it into a game) substantially improves the learning performance of children. The question you need to address when designing trials for your game is, how to make it intriguing and less annoying?
It should be such that students keep playing it throughout the day. At the same time, it should help them learn new skills when they play it. You have to be very careful when incorporating the challenges. It should not be complicated and also not very easy. It should be motivating and not force them to exit.
To maintain the conflict within a game, it should allow to:
- Take the challenge
- Improve scores
- Update content
- Experiment with discoveries
For further knowledge on this aspect, you can check out the games available at Unlimited Gamez Mo Offering a broad spectrum of games for various age groups, it has an entire section devoted to educational games for kids. An insight into the games here will enable you to put your finger on what makes an efficient learning game.
- Simple Environment
The environment of a learning game must be relevant. The player should be able to recognize the environment as soon as he/she logs into it. You must remove the elements not related to learning objectives.
Adaptation of a learning game has to be at a high level. The game must adjust itself to the player. The design of such game is flexible. It decides what features of the game are configurable depending upon the profile of the player. It includes:
- Method of interaction
- Their educational status
- Assessment techniques
The user interface of the game should be simple. It will be awesome if you design a flexible interface. One move would be to remove all the non-essential things. Make sure there is less clutter on the screen. Also, the background music and verbal cues in the game should not be annoying for the players. Provide them easy access to opt for a mute and change of levels.
Verdict – the more, the merrier!
Apart from all the elements discussed above, you will find many more when you go down into further research on educational games. The more you work on making it better, the more rewards you will achieve.
Yet, there is one thing you must put at the front. And those are your customers. A customer-centric approach in the learning game will help you go alive and kicking in no time. Ask for their periodic feedback. Update accordingly, and you can establish yourself well in the market.
Do you agree? Or do you know any other secret ingredient of making an efficient learning game? Feel free to share it with us!
About Michelle Joe: Michelle Joe is a blogger by choice. She loves to discover the world around her. She likes to share her discoveries, experiences, and express herself through her blogs. You can find her on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook