Over recent decades, game-based learning has grown as a form of TEL. It encapsulates many principles of active learning, such as engagement in an authentic context, learning by mistake-making and reflection, experiential learning, collaborative learning and learning by problem-solving. As such, it is worth considering the techniques that games use to engage learners and what can be learned from them.
Play one of the following games for 15 minutes (longer if you like):
So, I tried out Lost in the City. I failed to get past the first mission and had to start again. The second time I managed to succeed in the mission quite quickly and I had learned from my mistakes and come up with a winning strategy. I was feeling quite pleased with myself as I moved to the second mission and I managed to do the first part of this just before my time ran out. I felt I was starting to understand how the game was set up and the logic it used. Unfortunately, I failed to find the code to get into the attic (maths and any form of numbers has never been my strong point and tends to make me freeze). I didn’t try again.
I did find the scenario quite engaging and the graphics weren’t bad – I haven’t played computer games since my now grown-up boys were kids and so I am very out of touch. However, having said that, this game doesn’t seem to be any more sophisticated or “technology enhanced” than the games they were playing almost 10 years ago.
I didn’t go far enough to really see what could be learned from the game as the scenario develops and, I imagine, the missions become more complicated and build up on the knowledge learned as you go through. It will definitely teach observational skills, deduction and logic. Learning by mistakes and patience. I found it quite stressful to be multi-tasking (observing, reading, problem-solving, thinking ahead) against the clock in an unknown environment, but I think it could be a useful learning outcome.
I am quite tempted to go back and see if I can go any further any faster and find out just what April is playing at 😉 However, I think with the online version at least I would have to begin again at the beginning (I didn’t save my game) and that is definitely a factor of demotivation for me. Had I been able to pick up where I had left, then I think I might have gone back to it later on.