The only thing I remember about my computer lessons at school was creating a game. Our first tryst with computer happened when they taught us inane programs like BASIC and LOTUS at class 8 levels. I never used either. But I do remember creating a Haunted Castle game in BASIC with simple commands.
Retention of learning is one of the many challenges that online computing environments face today. In the digital age, attention span is really short. To keep the young or adult learner engaged for a longer period of time, you need to create a completely immersive virtual environment – found in video based games. Video games for the pc or game box are rich in multimedia with tremendous visual and sound appeal. Most games engage the user completely. All your five senses and possibly the sixth one is also engaged, making them what we term as immersive.
Games can be
· Single player
Game based learning develops many skills such as
· Competition and cooperation, esp. in social gaming where teams are formed to play online.
· Problem solving
· Critical thinking
· Decision making
Key management skills can be effectively taught through gaming and will not be limited to an age group. The next Bill Gates is going to come from the crop of the fourteen year olds who are sitting at home or cyber café on weekends and spending at least two or three hours gaming.
Some elements of a good game are
· Engrossing plot – Most plots are set in a space, ancient fantastic worlds or future imaginary spaces.
· Interesting characters – Imaginary characters which users can customize, integrate role play into the game
· Evaluation – Constant decision making which calls for making choices leads to the user thinking critically and adds an element of assessment or evaluation into the game.
· Rewards – These are immediate. The idea of perform to succeed and earning points or bonus on the first right choice is the key to keeping users motivated.
Key military training is now impossible without game based learning. Military games vary from strategy making to actual war games.
Game based learning is experience based learning. The user can experience the virtual environment by deciding character actions. The user can be influenced by reactions and emotions projected on to the character during game play.
Game design and using gaming for education is now being formally taught in most universities.