Four Game-based Learning Trends You Can’t Ignore

Posted by Zack Blois on May 9, 2013 2:47:00 PM
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The Digital Gamification and Game-based Learning movement has gained some major steam in the past few years, and with good means. Tapping into digital natives’ love of video games as a driver for increased engagement has great value in relation to developing social skills, including problem solving, sharing, and collaboration.

game-based learning gamificationSadly, the “game” portion of Game-based Learning seems to earn the movement a negative stigma or push back from teachers (see infographic here) when faced with ever-tightening time constraints, limited technology resources, and stronger focuses on state/national learning standards. The gaming aspect is often trivialized when compared to the brevity of of high-stakes tests and school objectives/goals. 

The ‘Gaming in Schools’ Tide is Shifting... for the Better

However, the wary view of gaming within schools is beginning to shift. EdTech providers, developers, and educational institutions are starting to realize the value of gamification and are applying these tactics to proven standards-based learning strategies; offering students a truly engaging and fun classroom experience!

Below are four Game-based Learning trends that are adding real instructional and engagement value to today’s “educational video games.”

Four Positive Game-based Learning Trends

1) Added intrinsic value = Greater student motivation

Many teachers have entertained the idea of Game-based learning because of the foretold student engagement increases. The self-driven learning aspects of these educational games are often promoted by offering the students incentives (medals, digital monetary values, virtual achievements, etc) that provide an intrinsic value to learning. Intrinsic value within the games goes a long way towards instilling a personalized effort to learn and achieve, i.e. heightened engagement!

game based learning math2) Drives home mastery by allowing mistakes 

Another great thing about gamifying instruction is that students are encouraged to make and learn from mistakes in order to achieve “goals”, both within the game and within their own learning. Because of the intrinsic value associated with Game-based learning, students are more likely to strive for (and utilize) higher-order thinking skills such as analysis, problem solving, and discussion to reach their “goal.” This creates a more direct path to concept mastery, which is pretty cool if you ask me.

3) Learning Standards-aligned Games are for real

Engagement and mastery are certainly important, but these goals can’t be effectively defined if the learning has no validity to your state/school’s learning standards. Innovative developers and educators across the country are realizing this fact, and have begun to spin up fantastic story-based learning games that also incorporate much of the standards and deeper dives required by the new Common Core State Standards (CCSS). The intrinsic value provided by Game-based learning tools will go along way in bridging the CCSS implementation gap.

gamification elementary grades4) New focus on Age Appropriateness and Curriculum Customization

Much has been made of Minecraft as an early purveyor of gamification. However, like Minecraft, much of the first wave of Game-based learning resources were geared towards the older student demographics (Grades 6-12). Lucky for the younger pups, that’s beginning to change as well. Games are starting to take account of all ages and learner types, offering customizable curriculums and creating a truly self-driven, personalized learning experience for each and every student.

More Resources to Get You Up to Speed with Game-based Learning 

Obviously, these four trends are not exhaustive. I encourage you to reach out and read more about all of the awesome things that are happening in the Game-based Learning realm.

Here are four great Game-based Learning links to read deeper into the subject:

•’s Game-based Learning (GBL) Community

• Edutopia’s Game-based Learning Blogs

• KEQD/Mindshift’s Game-based Learning Resources

• “Virtual Courses Feature Gaming to Raise Interactivity” - edWeek Blog

Want to learn more about implementing game-based learning as part of aBlended Learning model?

Download a copy of our "Finding the Blended Learning model that's Right for Your School" eBooklet.

More Blended Learning Articles:

The Ultimate Guide to Blended Learning Models

Four Awesome Game-based Learning Websites and Blogs

Balancing the Offline and Online Aspects of Blended Learning

A Blended Learning Success Story - Wowzers All-Stars

Topics: Blended Learning

Wowzers is a comprehensive online math program covering all Common Core State Standards for grades K-8. The research-based program adapts to each learner and allows for an individualized path through the curriculum. Content is presented in multiple ways, and appeals to tactile, auditory, and visual learners. Assessments mirror those found on high-stakes achievement tests and provide teachers and administrators with the information that they need to personalize learning for each student.

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