Games, Gizmos and Gadgets: The Value of Games

On Wednesday, April 25, 2007, I will be presenting with Greg Walsh and Steve Sugar on the topic The Power of Play: Effective Training Through Games and Simulations

The neat thing is that Greg and I are the techie guys and Steve Sugar is a game guy who has been doing learning games for years without incorporating technology just games and learning. So the discussion will be interesting to see how the prinicples discussed by Steve Sugar will translate into online games.

Steve is owner of The Game Group and is author/co-author of five books that focus on the design and use of classroom games, including: Games That Teach, Games That Teach Teams, Primary Games, Games That Boost Performance, and Training Games.

Steve agreed to share with me (and allow me to post)his top ten reasons to use learning games…without even considering technology. I think you will find his insights interesting and help you to build the case of why you should be using games within your classroom.

Ten Reasons to Use a Learning Game

1. Games are Fun…with a Purpose. Games “celebrate” your topic and reward individual and group achievement. Games bring fun and energy into a buoyant learning zone, but with the focus on learning.

2. Games Provide Feedback to the Learner. Learners want and need feedback on their performance. Games give them immediate feedback on the quality of their input—their successes and their errors. With the appropriate feedback, this can become an invaluable learning opportunity.

3. Games provide Feedback to the Trainer. Games provide a practice field where learners interact with the topic, demonstrating their knowledge and ability to apply the information. By observing this real-time demonstration, the trainer can adjust the subsequent level of lecture, readings and interventions, as required.

4. Games are Experiential. Today’s learner needs to do and try things on her own. Games provide an environment that transforms the passive student into an active part of the learning process, connecting her own dots and experiencing her own ideas. Games remind both player and trainer that energy in the classroom is a good thing.

5. Games Motivate Learners. Games engage players and then motivate them to interact with the topic. This interaction drives players to demonstrate their understanding of the topic in a friendly contest where successes are memorable moments of shared triumph, and mistakes mean only that the learner is being stretched to his own limits.

6. Games Improve Team Work. Games are real-time activities that bring players into teams, demonstrate the rules and roles of working together as a team, and underscore the value of team collaboration. Games give your learners a chance to know their peers as they share the same real-time experiences, allowing for strong networking and bonding.

7. Games Provide a Less Threatening Learning Environment. Because the game format is playful, the challenge of the material—even new or difficult material—is less threatening. During game play seemingly difficult questions and scenarios are “just part of the game.”

8. Games Bring Real-World Relevance. Games allow you to present real-world information in the form of questions, scenarios, role-plays, and so forth, allowing players learn not only the “what,” but the “why,” of the topic from a real-world perspective. Players also observe their own behavior and that of others during game play.

9. Games Accelerate Learning. Games allow you to compress your topic and demonstrated learning into shorter periods of time, accelerating the speed of learning. The visual presentation, oral interactions, and active participation of game play appeals to all of the learning styles (visual, auditory and kinesthetic), involving both the rational and experiential mind so that players remember more of what they have learned.

10. Games Give You Choices for Your Classroom. Games allow you to add variety and flexibility to your teaching menus. Games allow you to vary the level of learner involvement, introduce new topics, mix theoretical and practical, and vary the level of skill and knowledge.

List taken from Primary Games, 2002


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1 Comment

  1. Greg Walsh March 7, 2007

    I like to think of myself more as a designer than a techie.

    But, that’s just me.


Karl Kapp
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