We often think of games as things we use to reinforce learning, to provide practice opportunities for learners, and to add context to content. But, what if the mere existence of a game within a learning asset changes the way a learner approaches that content entirely? In video games, it is perfectly normal for early segments of gameplay to be designed to teach the player how to play that game. Tutorials and narrative related gameplay allow players to demonstrate their proficiency in the buttonology, navigation and other mechanism inherent to that game. Some games, present aspects of narrative, goals, or use building/scaffolded objectives and information to guide the player through a longer experience. One thing that not many players would argue is that if you learn something in a game, you’re going to use it. Games very rarely present players with unnecessary information or skills. So, the question is, if a learner knows that they are going to be required to play a game at the end of a course or module…will they pay more attention to the content? Will they learn it differently? Will they spend more time with it? Me says yes.
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