The benefits of game-based learning

The instruction bridges the gap between virtual and real worlds

Game-based learning offers students engaging, personalized learning experiences that open them up to new ways of thinking, says one higher education expert.

As the student services director at Arizona State University (ASU), Joe Chapman takes great pride in seeing how students benefit from game-based learning. They can make mistakes, review concepts, and develop a deeper understanding of course material. But best of all is that game-based learning is just plain fun.

"As opposed to some traditional education tactics that could feel passive or dull, game-based learning engages and motivates students, allowing them to actively learn, acquire skills and build thought processes," Chapman says.

He explains that virtual environments can help students make connections between their coursework and situations they will encounter in the real world.

"Game-based learning in online courses enables instructors to introduce new concepts to students in an easily understood manner that gives them a 'hands-on' type of experience," Chapman says. "By exploring course concepts firsthand through games, students are forced to think critically and make decisions based on what they've learned."

Developing game-based learning in the classroom

In the ASU Online game "Spent," students must use $1,000 to find jobs, set budgets, pay bills, and make other decisions in real time. Such instruction boosts students' computer skills in addition to teaching them how to work toward goals, provide feedback, and keep records.

Chapman predicts that the offerings for game-based learning will only increase, as the industry is projected to reach $5.5 billion by 2018 (Chapman, U.S. News & World Report, 7/15).


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