7 key ingredients of game-based learning

7 key ingredients of game-based learning

Game-based learning is gaining more and more ground both in the educational sector and in organizations.

The secret of its success lies in determining characteristics, such as the following:

  • Eye-catching and attractive learning scenarios for the user
  • Making progress in the game as different quizzes are solved
  • Rewarding and positive learning experience

The key ingredients of this learning method contribute to this set of properties. These are listed below with examples to illustrate them:

1. The story

As in any video game, the story is essential to set the action of the player; therefore, it is also vital in game-based learning. For example, in Pacific, a serious game that deals with leadership, the player is set on a scenario after an airplane crash and the forced landing of passengers on a desert island. These people will have to work as a team to organize themselves and get away from the island. In this context, we have the characters and their conflicts, so… we now have a story!

2. The simulation

This is what makes it possible to create real situations in which users practice what they have learned about any kind of skill.

Our City, a game that tries to encourage civic behavior in young people, allows them to experience what it is to be the mayor of a city and build it from scratch, while they must ensure the well-being of citizens. The game is set in Jordan, so it reflects potential real-life challenges in the cities of this country, such as the development of basic public services or the improvement of transport systems.

Another example of simulations are those that appear in Food Force, which promotes social awareness and the fight against hunger. In this game, players act as UN collaborators and must face the challenges that are presented throughout the game.

3. Scores

Scores are aimed at ensuring that the player makes an effort to have as many lives, money, levels or any other essential component of the chosen scoring system as possible. The goal: to end up in first place and keep on playing for as long as possible.

DragonBox is a video game that is aimed at teaching mathematics to children. A new level is unlocked when these young players learn a new lesson. The satisfaction of receiving more and more points will motivate them to reach the end of the game.

4. The reward

The player’s reward is one of the most important factors of game-based learning, since it is what the player receives for making an effort. All in all, the player continues to make progress in the game to receive a reward.

In Scribblenauts, players have to use their imagination to solve the problems posed. Players receive a reward when they solve a problem. Who would ever want to stop playing like this?

5. Instant feedback

Players receive a reward or penalty each time they do something. In some cases, they also receive additional information to understand the reason for the response received better.

In Treehouse, a virtual training academy that teaches programming, this element is vital. The quizzes and programming challenges that are part of its methodology are proof of this. Therefore, students selecting a learning path also receive on-going feedback as they complete the suggested course library. In addition, students feel guided at all times.

6. Competitiveness

This factor appears when challenges require the player to improve on the activity of other players. Typically, it is reflected in the form of rankings. This is the case in Triskelion, where the player is not only asked to efficiently manage the daily task agenda but also competes with other players to obtain the highest accumulated score thanks to proper time management and the suitable productivity that leads to professional, social and personal well-being.

7. Learning

It is the definitive element of game-based learning, that is, the sole purpose: to help users learn. Kerbal Space Program is one of many games that capture this final goal. Throughout the game, which is aimed at building function al spacecraft, the player ends up learning, almost without noticing, concepts related to the laws of aerodynamics and orbital physics.

Each one of those elements of game-based learning helps motivate players learn throughout the game, making this model an irresistible tool to acquire or expand on knowledge with the highest possible involvement of the user, in academic or organizational areas.

Even so, do you miss any ingredient? Which one?

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Gamelearn is the world leader in the development of video games for corporate training. With more than 10 years of experience, it has become the benchmark for game-based learning and the foremost trend within the L&D sector.

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