Wednesday, 27 July 2005

Playing to Learn

Here is another article predicting students are asked to play game as part of their homework assignment.

Whether homework is a necessary part of the formal education is another issue. There is an illusion that we can leverage the engaging power of games, and hope magically there will be transfer of skills learnt from games to real life. Not that it is not possible, but we must be realistic to remind ourselves that games are not designed with learning in mind. Games are designed to engage and kill time. Learning, if any, is only secondary. While educators can select games which have attributes positive towards learning, I would still like to ask if "playing game" is the best use of time of the students. For those who are motivated to learn, playing game may be considered a waste of their time. They can engage in much more direct learning activities which are designed to develop the skills they set out to learn.

The question, to me, is not to use game as a substitute of good design of learning activities. We have a lot to learn from the game designer, how games, some very difficult, engage the players. We should learn from game design. We should not use game as a substitute of good engaging learning activities.

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