How Game-Based Learning Can Impact Child’s Development

It's essential to the growing digital economy that proper learning techniques are used to help future generations adapt and have adequate skills to help youth become ready for the digital workforce. Game-based learning applications can help children learn in a unique and fun way, all while developing new skills that will help them be leaders in the ever-evolving digital economy.

Key takeaways:

Recent studies have shown the benefits of using game-based learning in childhood development. Some studies indicate that children who have used game-based learning activities have shown increased knowledge, leadership skills, and creativity. These skills are necessary in a digital world and can promote appropriate learning and skills for children.

The concept of a game-based learning education is to incorporate elements of motivation and promote learning by implementing methods such as:

  • Points;
  • Badges;
  • Levels;
  • Leaderboards.

Although game-based learning is fun, it's important to know there is a difference between gaming for fun and game-based learning. Game-based learning is not considered entertainment, but a way to achieve concrete educational goals though games.

Benefits of game-based learning

  1. Enhanced engagement. Engagement is a “heightened, simultaneous experience of concentration, interest, and enjoyment in the task at hand.” Gaming and game-based learning are known to have a cognitive effect and help children be more engaged in the activity. Games are inherently more engaging than traditional learning methods, such as direct instruction or purposeful practice. Game-based learning apps leverage this engagement to improve student motivation and attention to the subject they are being taught.
  2. Improved learning outcomes. Research has shown that game-based learning leads to improved learning outcomes. This is due to the interactive nature of games, which require players to participate in the learning process and be actively involved in their learning.
  3. Increased motivation to learn. Game-based learning apps often use repetitive play, reinforcement, and goal-based learning to help encourage children to stay motivated to learn. The interactive nature of games allows students to remember information longer than if taught through traditional methods, which helps them feel more confident about their learning and new skills.
  4. Skill development. Many game-based learning apps are designed to develop specific skills, such as problem-solving, critical thinking, and decision-making. These skills are essential in both academic and real-world settings, which can help children develop better personal skills for future work.
  5. Accessibility. Game-based learning apps can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection, making education more accessible for students who may not have access to traditional learning resources. This is useful to many families, especially those in limited-access areas or for families who travel throughout the year.
  6. Personalized learning. Game-based learning apps often use algorithms to adapt to each student's unique needs and abilities. These adaptive learning techniques provide a personalized learning experience for each child and can help foster confidence in learning.
  7. Fun. The most obvious benefit of game-based learning apps is that they are fun. When students enjoy themselves, they are more likely to be engaged and motivated to learn in and out of the classroom setting. Studies show children who are interested in tasks and having fun are more likely to succeed.

Drawbacks of game-based learning

There can be drawbacks for some students when using game-based learning, which can have an impact on the learning technique's overall effectiveness.

  • Time-consuming. Children spend more than the recommended time on devices to complete assigned game levels. This can be frustrating for parents and caregivers and cause tiredness for students.
  • Hard to predict. Children can feel frustration and irritation at the game or gaming system when new levels or badges are not achieved. This may interfere with overall learning outcomes. In particular, the algorithms set to students may have children completing the same game level repeatedly until they complete it successfully, which can be demotivating and hard on the student.
  • Can cause tension between students. Due to the competition and level of success, some students who are not advancing in levels or earning badges at the same rate as others may find this uncomfortable, and it causes them to be frustrated or feel left out.

Game-based learning affects children’s future careers

The economy needs those willing to be leaders and project managers in a digital world that, generations before us, didn’t exist. Game-based learning promotes these leadership skills through motivation techniques and instills feelings of accomplishment through badges, levels, and points systems. Online game-based learning teaches children various skills, including problem-solving and critical thinking skills. These skills help children develop better interpersonal skills they will need later in life and in their professional careers.

Although game-based learning has some mild drawbacks, the overall perception from teachers and researchers shows a positive outlook on what’s ahead for children in this digital age society, starting with game-based learning.

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